Melbourne Victory made a winning start to the Isuzu UTE A-League season, overcoming Western United 1-0 on Saturday.
Roderick Miranda headed in the game’s only goal at GMHBA Stadium, with his 75th-minute strike proving to be the winner.
It gave the new-look Victory the perfect start to the season, collecting three points in the first competitive game under Head Coach Tony Popovic.
With Popovic at the helm, seven of the starting 11 were making their Victory debuts.
Both teams settled quickly and Victory created some decent early openings, left aggrieved after a bump from Tomoki Imai on Jason Geria, almost through on goal, went unpunished in the 13th minute.
Western forced Ivan Kelava into his first proper save just before the half-hour mark, the Victory goalkeeper doing well to deny Ben Garuccio at his near post.
Victory continued to create half-chances and Chris Ikonomidis fired an effort wide from the corner of the penalty area in the 31st minute.
Kelava comfortably saved from Dylan Wenzel-Halls moments later as the teams went into the break level.
Victory had a penalty shout turned down to begin the second half after a Roderick header struck the hand of Steven Lustica.
Connor Pain forced a straightforward save from Kelava in the 56th minute as the tight encounter continued.
Introduced off the bench, Nishan Velupillay – who scored in all five pre-season games for Victory – headed an Ikonomidis cross at Western goalkeeper Jamie Young with 20 minutes remaining.
But Victory would find a winner through Roderick in the 75th minute.
The Portuguese defender met a Jake Brimmer corner at the near post, heading in the opener.
Alessandro Diamanti was denied a late penalty for Western United as Victory held on to make a winning start to the season.
Player in focus
Roderick made a dream start to his Victory career, captaining the side in Josh Brillante’s absence and scoring the winner. The defender made nine clearances and 71 passes during an impressive 90-minute debut.
Victory claimed a Round 1 win for the first time since 2014/15, and for just the third time in the Club’s history.
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 Round 1
Western United 0
Melbourne Victory 1 (Roderick Miranda 75′)
Western United: Young (gk); Risdon, Lacroix, Imai, Garuccio; Kilkenny, Lustica; Wales (Pierias 77′), Diamanti (c), Pain; Wenzel-Halls (Prijovic 62′).
Melbourne Victory: Kelava (gk); Geria, Hamill, Roderick (c), Davidson (Nigro 84′); Marchan, Broxham, Brimmer; Folami (Velupillay 64′), D’Agostino (Margiotta 64′), Ikonomidis (Rojas 78′).
Yellow cards: Geria 40′, Lustica 63′, Diamanti 90+1′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: GMHBA Stadium
Victory takes on Perth Glory in an FFA Cup play-off on Wednesday before hosting Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park four days later.