Derby drama, Rojas magic – Victory’s AAMI Park openers


Melbourne Victory has enjoyed a fine record in its opening A-League games at AAMI Park.

Victory will begin its 2020/21 A-League season against Brisbane Roar at the ground on January 2.

While that will mark the first time the club has started a league campaign at AAMI Park, its openers at the venue have been promising.

In its past 10 opening games at AAMI Park, Victory has won six, drawn one and lost three.

A current Victory star has featured heavily.

2020/21 membership banner

2011/12: Melbourne Victory 3 (Harry Kewell 3′ pen, Carlos Hernandez 23′ pen/79′) Gold Coast United 2 (Dylan Macallister 45+4′ pen, Peter Jungschlager 47′)

Victory made a dream start as Harry Kewell converted an early penalty after Archie Thompson was fouled, before Carlos Hernandez doubled the lead following a rash challenge on Marco Rojas.

But Roddy Vargas was sent off shortly after the half-hour mark and Gold Coast drew level through Dylan Macallister’s penalty and a Peter Jungschlager goal.

However, the 10-man Victory found a winner when Hernandez headed in Thompson’s cross with 11 minutes remaining.

2012/13: Melbourne Victory 1 (Marco Rojas 58′) Perth Glory 0

A moment of magic from Rojas was enough to settle this meeting with Perth.

Receiving a pass from Gui Finkler, Rojas unleashed a wonderful first-time effort over Danny Vukovic and into the top corner.

2014/15: Melbourne Victory 2 (Gui Finkler 26′, Connor Pain 68′) Wellington Phoenix 0

Finkler opened the scoring with a trademark set-piece, his free-kick from the left going through a sea of bodies in the area and into the corner.

Introduced off the bench, Connor Pain sealed the win after a pass from Thompson.

2015/16: Melbourne Victory 2 (Gui Finkler 16’/19′) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Matt Sim 89′)

Finkler tucked away an opener after a one-two with Oliver Bozanic before curling in a brilliant 25-yard free-kick to make it 2-0.

Matt Sim headed in a late consolation goal for the Mariners.

2016/17: Melbourne Victory 2 (Iain Fyfe 52′ og, Marco Rojas 54′) Newcastle Jets 0

Once more, Rojas took centre stage at AAMI Park.

His 20-yard free-kick took a huge deflection off Iain Fyfe for the opener before the New Zealander put away a second in a one-on-one with Jack Duncan.

2017/18: City 0 Melbourne Victory 1 (Mark Milligan 90+6′)

The most famous of the wins came in the Christmas Derby in 2017.

Mark Milligan was dramatically fouled by City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis in additional time before stepping up to convert the 96th-minute penalty.