Melbourne Victory was edged 1-0 by Adelaide United in its return to A-League action on Saturday.
In its first competitive outing in three weeks, Victory fell to a narrow defeat at Coopers Stadium.
Mohamed Toure’s 53rd-minute goal proved to be the match-winner in what was an entertaining contest.
Victory goalkeeper Max Crocombe made an excellent early save down low to his left to deny Toure.
And the visitor almost opened the scoring in the eighth minute, Rudy Gestede’s header from a Jake Brimmer set-piece hitting the post.
The high-tempo start continued as Toure fired into the side-netting after Gestede came off injured, while Crocombe saved at his near post to keep out Ryan Strain in the 18th minute.
Victory threatened again six minutes before half-time, Elvis Kamsoba – who replaced Gestede – firing straight at James Delianov from an angle after being played in by Brimmer.
Crocombe was needed to tip over a long-range effort from Ben Halloran to begin the second half before Adelaide opened the scoring through Toure, who picked out the bottom corner after cutting inside from the right.
Marco Rojas was unable to make the most of a one-on-one with Delianov in the 71st minute before Adama Traore saw a powerful drive fly wide as Victory pushed for an equaliser.
Making his return from a knee injury, Robbie Kruse looked lively, but Victory fell short.
Player in focus
What they said – Ryan Shotton
“I think it’s changed our whole perspective. We’ve worked all week to get the ball wide, use our wingers and use Rudy up front and Rudy comes off with an injury so early in the game. We really found it difficult to get service into the box and I think that showed.”
on his debut…
“Bit of a surprise, with the heat and everything going on, but we knew that was the problem. We knew they were going to get the big man and the other lads running so as soon as we managed to stop that I thought we dominated and we had better chances.”
Hyundai A-League 2020/21
Adelaide United 1 (Mohamed Toure 53′)
Melbourne Victory 0
Adelaide United: Delianov (gk); Strain (Lopez 45′), Elsey (c), Jakobsen, Smith; Halloran (Konstandopoulos 85′), Caletti (Niyongabire 85′), D’Arrigo, Kitto (Dukuly 60′); Toure (Yengi 67′), Juric.
Melbourne Victory: Crocombe (gk); Roux, Shotton, Ryan, Traore; Broxham (c), Brimmer; McManaman (Kruse 52′), Butterfield, Rojas (Kirdar 73′); Gestede (Kamsoba 10′).
Yellow cards: Brimmer 34′, Ryan 40′, Traore 47′, Smith 63′, Juric 79′, Broxham 82′, Kruse 83′, D’Arrigo 89′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Victory has a short turnaround with a clash against Perth Glory at AAMI Park on Tuesday, January 26.