Countdown To Kick-Off | Semi-Final Leg One

A Mother’s Day spectacular is on the horizon as Wellington Phoenix make the trip to AAMI Park for Leg One of the Isuzu UTE A-League Semi-Finals.

Finals Fever

Our boys in blue return to the Semi-Finals once again when they take on Wellington Phoenix. The two-legged Semi-Final will kick-off at AAMI Park on Sunday 12 May as Victory will look to take an early advantage at home before the second leg in Wellington a week later.

It was a 3-1 win the last time we faced the Nix in the Finals, with Ola Toivonen and Kosta Barbarouses the goalscorers.

Our record against the Nix so far this season has been mixed, with two draws and a loss the results over the previous three meetings.

Sunday will mark the 11th time Victory will feature in the Semi-Finals, with our boys having made the Grand Final on six occasions.

Match Details
Semi-Final Leg One: Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix
Date: Sun 12 May
Time: 4:00pm (AEST)
Location: AAMI Park

The Great Wall of Izzo

On whether that was the best game he has played…

“I don’t know. It’s all kind of a blur.”

“I think once I sit down, just go through it again, without a doubt.”

“I mean I’ve never scored a penalty.”

On being in the zone…

“Particularly in the shoot-out, once that came along.”

“I had an experience with Adelaide, against Perth, got very excited, and we managed to still lose that.”

“So each time I saved one, I was just like, just stay calm, relax, it’s not done.”

“Just keep it cool until the end and then, once it’s done, enjoy it.”

On being asked to take a penalty…

“We did some work during the week at training and I shanked one out of three.”

“[Tony Popovic] looked at me and he was like “you want number three?”, and I was like “yeah alright”, and he was like “done”.”

“He said for me to step up and I was like I can’t say no.”

On his antics with Jamie Young’s penalty notes…

“A bottle may have got launched into the crowd.”

“I even checked his towel and he had paper in there as well so lucky I found that too.”

“It’s just part of the game.”

On the importance of the fans…

“I couldn’t even hear myself scream, the noise was that loud.”

“They’ve been immense for us all season.”

“Obviously last season was very difficult for them and us. To see them back, showing what they can do and what they can make of the league…it’s a credit to them and we’re so lucky to have them.”

Victory Academy

A cool evening in Melbourne’s south-east set the scene as Victory went in search of a sixth straight win.

The Grange Reserve is never an easy place for visiting teams to pick up points, a fact which was reflected in the tight and physical first 10 minutes.

However, a moment of magic from Alex Menelaou in the 15th minute handed Victory a highly coveted early lead.

A thunderous strike from outside the box proved to be unstoppable, as Victory quickly rediscovered their goal-scoring form from last week.

The game developed into an end-to-end affair following the goal, as both sides created decent chances to score the second of the night.

Christian Siciliano made a superb stop 10 minutes before half-time, keeping out a shot from a one-on-one chance with his legs.

Just before the half-time break, Victory took the chance to double their lead.

A slick attacking move sliced through the Kingston defence, ending at the feet of Adem Duratović who finished cooly into the bottom corner to ensure Victory would head into the sheds in a commanding position.

Duratović again looked dangerous early in the second period, firing a shot across his body which was narrowly kept out by the goalkeeper.

Kayne Razmovski and Dimi Palatsides were introduced after an hour played, whilst Tommaso Minutoli and Marc Petheriotis made their bow 10 minutes later.

Eli Adams came close as the game entered its final 15 minutes, pulling his attempt just wide of the post.

Victory appeared increasingly comfortable as the game edged towards its conclusion.

However, as the final 10 minutes arrived, the hosts pulled one goal back, bundling the ball over the line following a scramble in the box after a corner was sent into the area.

The tension rose late in the game, as Kingston searched desperately for an equaliser.

Victory’s defence though was steadfast, denying their hosts clear-cut opportunities.

Minutoli had a golden chance to seal the game in stoppage time, but another superb goalkeeper save kept the game alive.

Ultimately, however, Victory were able to hold out and secure their sixth consecutive win and tenth of the season altogether.