Melbourne Victory 3 Wellington Phoenix 0
Melbourne Victory produced the kind of performance the fans had been waiting for all year with a three-nil demolition of Wellington Phoenix, putting the latter’s tilt for a home final in jeopardy.
For its final home game of a disappointing season Melbourne Victory gave a start to Tando Velaphi and Diogo Ferreira with recent signing Julius Davies on the bench.
Ricky Herbert fielded only one change from the team which drew with Melbourne Heart last week. Alec Smith came in for Nicky Ward, who dropped to the bench.
Victory, with the shackles off, began with a series of attacks, with Harry Kewell flicking the ball on to Archie Thompson who was beaten to the ball by quick-thinking Phoenix keeper, Mark Paston.
Jimmy Jeggo set up Marco Rojas but his shot was saved.
A breakthrough seemed imminent and the goal when it came was a beauty.
In the 11th minute, Fabio linked with Archie Thompson who laid the ball off to Carlos Hernandez.
The Costa Rican has scored some spectacular goals from distance and this was up there with the best of them. The shot fizzed into the top corner with Paston unable to get near it.
Four minutes after the goal, Rojas seemed to take a Manny Muscat elbow in the face and had to leave the field after a lengthy delay.
The incident will not have pleased Ricky Herbert, as Rojas is one of his New Zealand Olympic Games’ squad who begin their Oceania qualification shortly.
He was replaced by Isaka Cernak.
Thompson had a couple of very unlucky moments.
He beat two defenders, Vince Lia and Ben Sigmund, then curled the ball round the keeper but it hit the inside of the far post and squirted across the goal line and just wide.
For the other he got behind the keeper but hit the ball with the outside of his foot and it swung away from goal at the last minute.
At the other end Tim Brown had two good opportunities as well.
The first brought out a diving save by Velaphi, the second went wide after good work by Alec Smith.
At half-time the question was would Victory be able to sustain the momentum which had given them the lead and made the openings, and for a while they were pushed back by Phoenix.
Brown and Paul Ifill created openings but could not beat Velaphi.
Then in 58 minutes Jimmy Jeggo sent Thompson on a run which took him to the bye-line and his driven cross was turned in by Cernak at the far post.
Cernak might have a had second goal after Hernandez set him free on the left.
Only a finger-tip save by Paston prevented Cernak’s lob from dropping under the bar.
In the 80th minute skipper Kewell came off to an ovation to allow Julius Davies to make his debut.
The youngster nearly made an instant impact beating Paston with a shot which Ben Sigmund had to clear right on the goal line.
With a minute of normal time left, Thompson passed to Jeggo who lashed the ball into the net for his first senior goal and the icing on the Victory cake.
Jim Magilton said the players had done nothing different and the emphasis was the same on passing the ball, the structure of the team, taking care of the ball.
‘We had hairy scary moments against a really good side with Ifill and Greenacre.’
‘We managed to get young Julius on. When you win three-nil against a good side it is encouraging.’
Friday, 16 March 2012
Melbourne Victory 3 (Carlos Hernandez 11’, Isaka Cernak 58’, James Jeggo 90’) Wellington Phoenix 0
Venue: AAMI Park
Local kick-off: 8:00pm
Referees: Chris Beath
Assistant referees: Luke Brennan & George Lakrindis
Fourth official: Lucien Laverdure
Melbourne Victory squad:
1. Tando Velaphi, 2. Matthew Foschini, 3. Fabio, 5. Mark Milligan, 10. Archie Thompson, 11. Marco Rojas (19. Isaka Cernak 19’), 13. Diogo Ferreira, 16. Carlos Hernandez (4. Petar Franjic 90’), 17.Jimmy Jeggo, 22. Harry Kewell (29. Julius Davies 80’), 24. Ubay Luzardo
Unused substitutes: 21. Ante Covic
Yellow cards: Diogo Ferreira 90 + 2’
Red cards: Nil
Wellington Phoenix squad:
1. Mark Paston, 2. Manny Muscat, 3. Tony Lochhead, 6. Tim Brown, 7. Leo Bertos, 8. Paul Ifill, 9. Chris Greenacre (14. Mirjan Pavlovic 65’), 17. Vince Lia, 18. Ben Sigmund, 21. Dani Sanchez (12. Nicky Ward 71’), 22. Andrew Durante, 24. Alex Smith (7. Leo Bertos 65’)
Unused substitutes: 20, Tony Warner
Yellow cards: Vince Lia 25’, tony Lochhead 41’, Chris Greenacre 63’, Paul Ifill 90 + 3’
Red cards: Nil.