Hot form continues with hard-fought win


Melbourne Victory’s hot streak of form continued on Friday night with a thoroughly-deserved 1-0 victory over Perth Glory at AAMI Park.

Melbourne Victory’s hot streak of form continued on Friday night with a thoroughly-deserved 1-0 victory over Perth Glory at AAMI Park.

A slice of genius from the ever-dangerous Marco Rojas in the 58th minute ultimately separated the two teams and ensured the hosts’ unbeaten run extended to five matches, including four wins.

With the scores still locked at 0-0 nine minutes into the second half, Rojas’ sensational curling attempt from just inside the left corner of the penalty area found the back of the net following some neat build-up work from Billy Celeski and Gui Finkler.

Victory are now within one point of the top two and the win was made even more impressive given they were missing Archie Thompson and Mark Milligan due to national duty, as well as the suspended Sam Gallagher.

Rojas, Finkler and Andrew Nabbout were constant menaces for the Glory while Victory were also solid in defence, led by goalkeeper Nathan Coe and defender Petar Franjic.

Perth’s loss may be further soured by an incident involving Shane Smeltz which is sure to be looked at by the match review panel.

The Glory striker appeared to elbow Celeski flush on the face just before half-time and drew blood from the Victory midfielder.

After a slow start to the match the crowd were brought to their feet in the ninth minute when Finkler curled a free kick into the penalty area that only just failed to meet the head of Adrian Leijer.

Victory came close to scoring again three minutes later after a superb chain of passes from midfield involving Franjic and Rojas ended up with Marcos Flores.

But Flores’ final touch designed for Rojas was well wide of the New Zealander, who would have had only goalkeeper Danny Vukovic to beat from close range.

The hosts had their first cause for real concern in the 15th minute when Nicky Ward connected with a Steven McGarry free kick and headed the ball only inches shy of the left post.

A fiery five-minute period followed as yellow cards were dished out to Glory pair Ward and Joshua Risdon as well as Victory’s Jonathan Bru for rash challenges.

The home team’s first decent chance came on 29 minutes when Nabbout sent a beautifully-weighted ball in front of Rojas, who didn’t have to break stride, and he proceeded to deftly chip the ball over Vukovic’s head from 15 yards.

But unfortunately for the hosts it clipped the crossbar and went out of play for a goal kick.

Perth enjoyed 56 percent possession in the first half but Victory were creating more attacking forays than the visitors, although all were ultimately fruitless.

The trend continued just before half-time when Flores, from 12 yards out, volleyed a delightful Rojas cross way over the top.

Victory began the second half much spritelier and created a few chances, the best of which fell to Nabbout who received a cut back from Rojas after the Kiwi international charged down the left side but his shot from 13 yards out went just wide of the left upright.

After the hosts traded a few more shots on goal with the Glory, Rojas broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion.

Perth then started to regain the ascendancy but two attempts from Chris Harold in the 68th minute were well handled by Coe.

The Victory custodian was called into action again seven minutes later when he acrobatically kept a blistering Smeltz header out of the goal with a desperate lunge to his left.

Theo Markelis almost made the Glory pay for their missed chances a minute later but he somehow sent a shot out over the bar from only a few yards.

Three minutes before time Victory had a chance to ice the match when Rojas was played in to the six-yard box unopposed, but he hung on to the ball too long and blew another golden opportunity.

Perth had one last chance to salvage a point in stoppage time but Coe was once again up to the challenge, nullifying a Harold strike as Victory’s charge up the ladder continued.

Melbourne Victory 1 (Rojas 58)
Perth Glory 0
Crowd: 17,676 at AAMI Park