Melbourne Victory kicked off its 2022/23 A-League Men season with a thrilling 3-2 win against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
What a rollercoaster night of football.
Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC played out what could be one of the games of the season in the opening round with both sides taking the lead across a five-goal thriller.
Luis Nani, Paul Izzo and Enrique Lopez earned debuts in the starting XI as an incredible away crowd on a wet night set the tone for a fiery encounter from well before kick-off.
Sydney drew first blood through Robert Mak in the 15th minute, who got in behind the defence to take the ascendency for the home side early.
Victory fought back in the 31st minute through a brilliant piece of heading from Nick D’Agostino, powering home a remarkable finish to the bottom corner from a tricky distance to tie the contest.
Both sides traded shots on target in the ensuing minutes as the scores remained at 1-1 heading to the main break.
Victory were on the back foot to start the second half, stoically defending for the best part of 20 minutes to ensure the scores remained level.
Their tireless work reaped dividends in the 67th minute as consecutive perfect balls from Stefan Nigro and Luis Nani found second-half substitute Chris Ikonomidis at the back post to take the lead.
James Donachie’s 79th minute header from a set-piece reignited the home crowd and set up a grandstand finish at 2-2.
Enter the skipper.
Another sublime passage of team football found Victory captain Josh Brillante at the goalmouth for the winner in the 83rd minute, sending the travelling support into a frenzy as players and fans celebrated in unison.
Victory’s defence held firm for the remainder with Paul Izzo pulling off a diving save of the most threatening chance to secure the three points.
A brilliant team goal against the run of play…
What they said – Nani
“It was amazing. It was a tough game, the opponent was very tough from the beginning of the game.”
“It was a good start to the season. I hope we can continue to produce games like that…we’ve been working hard for this moment.”
Player in focus
Chris Ikonomidis flipped the game on its head after entering as a second-half substitute.
The winger recorded a goal and an assist in his limited playing time to secure the three points.
Victory start the season with three crucial points on the road against a potential title contender to set up their campaign.
Isuzu UTE A-League 2022/23 Round 1
Sydney FC 2 (Mak 15′, Donachie 79′)
Melbourne Victory 3 (D’Agostino 31′, Ikonomidis 67′, Brillante 83′)
Victory host their home opener next Saturday against Western Sydney at AAMI Park.