Melbourne Victory have returned to A-League Men action on the front foot with a 1-0 win away from home against Macarthur FC at Campbelltown Stadium on Sunday evening.
Victory travelled to a warm Campbelltown Stadium in Sydney’s South West as Jason Geria returned to the starting XI, strengthening the defensive line.
Neither team managed to find their rhythm in the early stages, but it was Victory who continued to make the more promising movements.
Victory’s first meaningful chance came 13 minutes in, when Luis Nani showed his class to beat two Macarthur defenders and deliver a ball which narrowly missed Bruno Fornaroli.
Paul Izzo’s goal was challenged for the first time in the 26th minute when Macarthur found the net. However, the goal was chalked off for offside, as Victory’s defensive line remained disciplined.
Immediately after, Nick D’Agostino’s desperate attacking work salvaged a promising Victory move, which saw Chris Ikonimidis’ cross find full-back Kadete – who’s shot was off target.
A well-worked corner routine saw Jake Brimmer, Luis Nani and Bruno Fornaroli combine for Victory’s next look at goal – shortly before referee Jonathan Barreiro blew for half-time.
Victory’s defence stood strong to withstand a fast start from Macarthur in the opening minutes of the second half, quickly regaining control.
Nick D’Agostino lead the charge in the early stages of the second half, with two half chances and a shot which struck the woodwork within 10 minutes of the second stanza getting underway.
A pin-point Jake Brimmer ball found substitute Ben Folami in space on the hour, resulting in a 1-on-1 chance for the striker which attracted some heavy-handed attention from the Macarthur defender – but VAR showed no interest.
Matthew Bozinovski made his Victory debut in the 74th minute as he moved into central defence, replacing Jason Geria who continues to build match fitness following his return into the XI.
Ben Folami broke the deadlock 83 minutes in to put Victory into the lead, as substitutes combined – Nishan Velupillay with a perfectly weighted ball in behind the Macarthur defence.
Paul Izzo’s concentration levels remained until the very end – mopping up some last-ditch attacking efforts from Macarthur.
Game management was the name of the game for the Victory, who controlled 6 minutes of additional time following the completion of the regular 90.
While not the most impressive of performances, Victory put on the performance needed following the return of A-League action – taking all three points back to Melbourne.
Ben Folami’s impact on the game was clear to see. His substitution just before the 60th minute was well-timed and just what Victory needed.
PLAYER IN FOCUS
Ben Folami’s impact was instant and impactful, ending the game as the matchwinner after a well-taken finish late on.
The 23-year-old will be looking to impress in search of a starting birth, as the attacker continues to build his case to enter an impressive line-up.
Victory enters the top six and claim fifth spot, as double digits are achieved.
Isuzu UTE A-League 2022/23 Round 7
Melbourne Victory 1 (Folami 84′)
Newcastle Jets 0
Victory will be looking to build momentum ahead to next Saturday’s Melbourne Derby at AAMI Park.