Melbourne Victory produced an excellent performance in a 7-0 win over Ballarat City in the NPL 3 Victoria on Saturday.
Adem Duratovic scored a hat-trick at Ballarat Regional Soccer Facility, where Victory struck five times in the first half.
Luca Da Silva netted a brace and Josh Varga and Gianluca Iannucci were also on the scoresheet, with Victory now unbeaten in four games.
Victory made a dream start and struck twice in the opening 15 minutes.
A fine team move led to the opener through Duratovic, who finished coolly after a So Nishikawa cross from the left.
Just five minutes later and it was 2-0 as Da Silva picked out the bottom corner after Varga won possession in the opposition area and squared a pass to his fellow midfielder.
Victory continued to push as Jimmy Paneras had efforts go over and wide before the lead was extended.
Da Silva made it 3-0 with a wonderful finish from the edge of the area just after the half-hour mark before Duratovic headed in a rabona cross from Iannucci.
Victory was on top throughout the first half and Varga made it 5-0 prior to the break as his 20-yard effort took a deflection and looped over the goalkeeper.
Duratovic almost had a first-half hat-trick, but the forward saw his strike rattle the crossbar following a pass from Varga.
Victory quickly moved further ahead at the start of the second half, with Iannucci curling in a 25-yard free-kick to make it 6-0.
Duratovic then completed his hat-trick with a neat finish after being played in behind by Anthony Leban, who came on for Jack Morton in the first half.
Victory had numerous chances throughout the second half, with Darcy Anastovski and Paneras going close in a resounding win.
General Manager – Football Drew Sherman’s post-match thoughts
“I felt today we were outstanding in all facets of play, and honestly I believe we’ve been slowly building to a result like that – and this afternoon it just clicked. While Ballarat haven’t had the brightest start to the season, that shouldn’t diminish the quality we showed in moments. I truly think our play would have seen us rack up a convincing win if today’s performance was against anyone we’ve played to date.
“Defensively yet again we were very solid. Our second clean sheet won’t go unnoticed, but undoubtedly our tempo with the ball was the biggest positive. In build-up we moved the ball quickly and found our players in the pockets time and again. Some of the combination play was outstanding and honestly as a coach, it’s a pleasure to watch when the players are clearly enjoying themselves the way they did today. Our versatility to create clear goalscoring chances both playing through and around the Ballarat defence was excellent and I was really pleased with our relentlessness to keep going when the easy option was to accept the victory and slip into complacency after the second or third goal.
“However, our pat on the back will have to wait, next week is a big game against a Doveton team who have started the season well and sit above us in the league, but we’re finding some form and consistency at the moment so will take confidence into next week’s encounter.”
NPL 3 Victoria 2021 Round 8
Ballarat City 0
Melbourne Victory U21s 7 (Adem Duratovic 10’/34’/53′, Luca Da Silva 15’/31′, Josh Varga 41′, Gianluca Iannucci 50′)
Melbourne Victory: Marko Bulic (gk); Thomas Lambiris, Edmond Lupancu, Aisen Ishak, So Nishikawa (Amanhomm Khamis); Jack Morton (Anthony Leban), Luca Da Silva (c), Josh Varga; Gianluca Iannucci, Adem Duratovic (Darcy Anastovski), Jimmy Paneras.
Victory’s U19s made it eight wins from eight to start the season in the Under-21 competition, beating Ballarat City 5-1.