Glory too good for Victory


An encouraging performance could not prevent Melbourne Victory from going down 2-1 to Perth Glory in a pre-season friendly behind closed doors on Wednesday.

An encouraging performance could not prevent Melbourne Victory from going down 2-1 to Perth Glory in a pre-season friendly behind closed doors on Wednesday.

All the goals came in the first half at AAMI Park, with Nick Ward and Billy Mehmet, the latter from the penalty spot, earning the away team a 2-0 lead.

Victory’s star signing Marcos Flores halved the deficit with a spot kick on 37 minutes.

And despite showing some good combination play as they grew into the contest, the hosts proved unable to force an equaliser.

Victory coach Ange Postecoglou fielded a strong line-up for his team’s final full match of the pre-season.

Lawrence Thomas started in goal, with Archie Thompson and Marco Rojas wide and Flores up front, supported by Guilherme Finkler.

Captain Adrian Leijer started at centre-back alongside Mark Milligan, with Jonathan Bru and Leigh Broxham in central midfield.

Victory were gifted the first chance of the match seven minutes in when Perth centre-back Steve Pantelidis’ attempted back-pass fell straight to Finkler.

The Brazilian advanced on goal, only for Danny Vukovic to gather.

Three minutes later and Perth were ahead, Ward seizing on a loose ball and finding the net with a low shot from outside the area.

They doubled their lead on 33 minutes when the impressive Ryo Nagai was felled in the area by Finkler.

Mehmet stepped up and dispatched the spot-kick past Thomas.

Just three minutes later and Victory were awarded a penalty of their own, when Flores was brought down inside the area.

The Argentine took it upon himself to guide the ball home from 12 yards, sending Vukovic the wrong way.

Some good work down the flank by Thompson made the chance and Rojas cut the delivery back for Flores who was crunched from behind by Jacob Burns.

Postecoglou’s men might have been level at the break – three minutes before half-time Nick Ward was caught in possession by Rojas, leading to a fast Victory break.

Unfortunately for the home side, Thompson’s eventual shot sailed just wide of the far post.

A cagey opening to the second half produced few chances, with Thompson’s ambitious lob drifting over the Perth goal six minutes after the restart.

At the other end, Nagai shot just wide from Jamieson’s delivery on the hour mark.

Postecoglou rung the changes midway through the second period, with Billy Celeski replacing Matthew Foschini and Theo Markelis coming on for Rojas.

On 66 minutes Jimmy Jeggo was introduced in place of Broxham, while veteran Danny Allsopp took over from Finkler in attack.

And there was a change in goal for the hosts, with Thomas withdrawn and Tando Velaphi handed 20 minutes to impress.

Former Melbourne Heart man Adrian Zahra and substitute Jess Makarounas saw half-chances cleared by the Victory backline late on.

Markelis showed some promising touches during Victory’s final forays forward, and Thompson had a close-range effort gathered by the Perth shot-stopper.

Victory will hold an intra-club match on Sunday, with their first game of the Hyundai A-League season to take place against local rivals Melbourne Heart at Etihad Stadium on October 5.