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Apr 29, 2022   |  9:54PM AET

Isuzu UTE A-League report: Victory 3-1 Phoenix

Isuzu UTE A-League report: Victory 3-1 Phoenix

Melbourne Victory secured at least a top-three finish in the Isuzu UTE A-League with a 3-1 win over the Wellington Phoenix on Friday night.

Summary

In a game which saw three penalties awarded, Victory recorded a 200th league win and ensured it would finish no lower than third on the table.

Nick D’Agostino’s opener was cancelled out by Gael Sandoval’s penalty – Reno Piscopo’s initial spot-kick was saved by Ivan Kelava – before further controversy in the second half.

Jake Brimmer’s spot-kick restored Victory’s lead in the 68th minute before Marco Rojas’ sealer at AAMI Park, as the Club extended its unbeaten league run to a record 14 games.Victory made the perfect start through D’Agostino’s ninth league goal of the season.

Brimmer released Rojas with a good pass and the attacker crossed to D’Agostino, who produced a clinical first-time finish in the second minute.

Victory dominated the opening exchanges and had numerous other chances.

Rojas put an effort with his left foot over and Brimmer powered a strike just wide, while Josh Brillante’s deflected shot went over.

After Brimmer saw a free-kick saved in the 14th minute, Wellington was given two chances to equalise.

A Brillante handball saw the Phoenix awarded a penalty, only for Victory goalkeeper Kelava to deny Piscopo from the spot.

But almost immediately afterwards, Wellington was given another spot-kick for a Leigh Broxham challenge in the area and Sandoval converted.

Wellington went close to taking the lead on the stroke of half-time, but Sam Sutton’s strike from distance hit the post.

Victory made a fine start to the second half and Brimmer forced a save from Phoenix goalkeeper Oli Sail with a long-range strike in the 51st minute.

It appeared Victory had retaken the lead through D’Agostino, only for a VAR review to see the goal disallowed and a penalty awarded for handball.

Despite the long delay, Brimmer stepped up to convert and give Victory a 2-1 lead.

And Victory sealed its win in the 78th minute through Rojas, who headed in a Jason Davidson cross after a flowing team move.

Key moment

What they said – D’Agostino

on the game…
“It was tough. Conditions aren’t great, a nice Melbourne night, but we dug deep, a lot of controversy but sometimes that’s football.”

on fitness…
“I was pretty tired at the end, made a few 80-metre sprints on the pitch, but I’m feeling good, I’m feeling great, I’m feeling fit and I love it.”

Player in focus

Rojas was in dazzling form in the rain. The New Zealander set up the opener and scored the sealer in an impressive performance.

Implications

Victory climbed into second on the table and has one regular-season game remaining. The win also marked Head Coach Tony Popovic’s 100th as a Head Coach in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

Result

Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 Round 26
Melbourne Victory 3
(Nick D’Agostino 2′, Jake Brimmer 68′ pen, Marco Rojas 78′)
Wellington Phoenix 1
(Gael Sandoval 26′ pen)

Melbourne Victory: Kelava (gk); Geria, Broxham, Roderick, Davidson (Nigro 90+3′); Brillante (c), Marchan; Rojas (Velupillay 86′), Brimmer (Barnett 90+3′), Folami (Ikonomidis 54′); D’Agostino.
Wellington Phoenix:
Sail (c); Fenton (Van Hattum 88′), Surman (Hooper 75′), Wootton, Payne, Sutton; Pennington (McGarry 84′), Sandoval (Bidois 87′); Old (Manuel 87′), Waine, Piscopo.

Yellow cards: Wootton 13′, Broxham 24′, D’Agostino 39′, Rojas 54′, Surman 71′, Pennington 77′
Red cards: Nil
Attendance: TBA
Venue: AAMI Park

Next up

Victory wraps up its regular season with a trip to face Sydney FC on Saturday, May 7.