Melbourne Victory have returned to the winners’ circle in sensational style, coming from behind to secure a 3-1 win over Wellington Phoenix on Friday night.
Head coach Tony Popovic named an unchanged XI from last week’s game against Sydney FC, showing his faith in the lineup.
Victory started on top, with the best chance of the opening 10 minutes coming in the form of a Kadete strike from outside the box which rolled just wide of the post.
Wellington though struck the first major blow in the 13th minute, when a looping header from striker Oskar Zawada beat Matt Acton and found its way into the back of the net.
The game settled into a more regular pattern following the goal, as Victory began their efforts to claw their way back into the contest.
Jake Brimmer would once again prove to be the key to unlocking an opposition defence, when the midfield maestro played an excellent ball in behind the Phoenix defence after 31 minutes, finding its way through to Ben Folami.
Folami’s subsequent cross into the box was met by a powerful shot from Josh Brillante, which despite being saved, rebounded kindly to Bruno Fornaroli who cooly put the chance away.
A crucial equaliser which sparked Victory’s best period of the half, as they piled on the pressure in the final 10 minutes.
Roderick Miranda’s well-timed header from a corner flew just wide of the post, whilst Kadete’s shot from inside the box a few minutes later had the same result.
Fornaroli was again involved in the last chance of the half when his shot rattled the crossbar, although this time it would not have counted due to the striker straying offside.
Victory headed into half-time with all the momentum, although scores remained level at 1-1.
The second half could not have started any better for the home side, winning a free-kick on the edge of the area directly in front of goal after a handful of minutes played.
Up stepped Brimmer, who fired a sensational strike into the top corner for the second consecutive game.
A moment of magic yet again from the midfielder, powering his side into the lead.
Victory looked comfortable with their lead for the next 20 minutes as the visitors struggled to work their way back into the contest.
A series of chances fell Victory’s way with 15 minutes remaining, most notably Brimmer’s shot which cannoned off the post, but they could not put the game to bed.
The tension was high as the game approached its conclusion, but just seconds into the start of injury time, substitute Tomi Juric put the result beyond doubt with his first Victory goal.
A miscommunication on the last line of the Phoenix defence put Juric through on goal with the goalkeeper well off his line, allowing him to pass the ball into an empty net.
A euphoric moment for Victory, sealing the comeback win and their first set of three points for the year.
Jake Brimmer’s second free-kick goal in as many weeks was the turning point in the contest…
Victory’s first win of 2023 takes them to 14 points from 14 games, now just four points outside of the top six.
Isuzu UTE A-League 2022/23 Round 15
Melbourne Victory 3 (Fornaroli 32′, Brimmer 54′, Juric 90+1′)
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Zawada 13′)
Victory are back on the road next time out, as they travel to McDonald Jones Stadium to take on Newcastle Jets next Sunday 12 February at 3:00pm AEDT.