A 10-man Melbourne Victory held on for a 2-2 draw against Brunswick City in the NPL2 West on Saturday.
Yazid Said and Jack Morton scored for Victory either side of a Ratip Cileli brace for Brunswick at CB Smith Reserve.
Victory was forced to hold on for the last 20 minutes after midfielder Thierry Iradukunda was sent off.
Both teams enjoyed early spells of possession before Victory opened the scoring midway through the first half.
Stefan Ristic played in Said, who finished clinically into the bottom corner in a one-on-one with Brunswick goalkeeper Sebastian Mattei.
However, the host equalised on the half-hour mark, Cileli firing into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
While both sides had their moments to finish the half, they went into the break level.
Victory put the host under heavy pressure to begin the second half, only to fall behind when Cileli curled a 20-yard free-kick into the top corner in the 56th minute.
Morton drew Victory level in stunning fashion, curling a free-kick into the top corner from 30 yards.
But just one minute later the visitor was reduced to 10 men, Iradukunda shown a straight red card for a foul on halfway.
Victory goalkeeper Matthew Sutton made a great save to deny Ali Turgut with 10 minutes remaining as the visitor held on for a deserved point.
Head coach Gareth Naven’s post-match thoughts
“We talked about our attitude and making sure everyone is in the same space in regards to our attitude and how it relates to our performance and the importance of it in every aspect of the match, whether it’s in general play, dead balls, whether we’re waiting for the ball to come in to make sure we’re sharp in regards to getting ready for the next moment and the group did it in abundance today. Can we get better? Yeah, there are moments where we can get better at it.
“In possession, I thought we tried to move the ball to play in behind, worked really hard and then it’s funny how the attitude sparks again when you lose a man and everyone starts to collectively run harder, work harder. I was just saying to the group, that feeling and that intensity and the energy used when you’re a man down, how about we start with that all the time when we’ve got 11 men? That’s what we’ll be working towards. The group deserved to get a point.”
NPL2 West 2019 Round 4
Brunswick City 2 (Ratip Cileli 30’/56′)
Melbourne Victory 2 (Yazid Said 22′, Jack Morton 68′)
Melbourne Victory: Matthew Sutton (gk); Daniel Aye, Aaron Anderson, Benjamin Carrigan (c), Aydin Mustedanagic; Jack Morton; Thierry Iradukunda, Stefan Ristic (William Wilson), Brandon Lauton; Jack Palazzolo (Matthew Bozinovski), Yazid Said (Liston Diaz).
Victory’s under-20s returned to winning ways, scoring late to overcome Brunswick City 2-1.