NPL Report: Kingston City 1-0 Victory

Melbourne Victory narrowly missed out on promotion to the NPLM 2 following a 1-0 loss to Kingston City on Sunday afternoon.

Team News

Head Coach Joe Palatsides made four changes to the starting XI in an attempt to bolster Victory’s hopes of promotion, with Edmond Lupancu, Nishan Velupillay, Lleyton Brooks and Eli Adams all making their return to the side.


A sunny Valley Park Events Centre set the scene for what was a momentous occasion for both sides.

With the teams’ respective fates in 2023 on the line, the game was a tense affair from the start.

The opening exchanges were predictably cagey, as both sides looked to settle quickly into the contest.

The game took a turn 15 minutes in, as a late challenge from Linus Bourke resulted in an early red card.

The unfortunate incident led to a major stoppage in play whilst Kingston’s Marc Latsis received medical attention.

Play eventually recommenced with Ahmad Taleb making another strong save from the resultant free-kick.

Victory would have to contest the remainder of the game with 10 players on the pitch, making the already-substantial task before them even greater.

Following the resumption in play, chances remained few and far between.

Victory looked solid despite their numerical disadvantage, with Lleyton Brooks moving into the right-back position whilst Edmond Lupancu took up the midfield mantle.

Neither side could find the breakthrough before half-time though, ensuring the tension remained high at the break.

Binyam Kebede was brought on to lead the line for the second half, taking the place of Adem Duratovic.

Despite the change, defences remained on top at the start of the second 45.

Each side could only create a handful of half-chances, with the game remaining evenly poised.

The stalemate though was finally broken in the 68th minute, when Kingston’s captain Faisal Sakhizada headed home from a corner.

The goal came at a pivotal moment in the match when both sides’ defences were becoming increasingly stretched.

Victory turned to their bench again in response, bringing Patrick Hogan and Nicholas Hamakiotis onto the field in an attempt to spark a comeback.

Kingston though were resolute at the back.

Late chances fell to Hogan and Nishan Velupillay, but the challenge ultimately proved too great for Victory to overcome.

The result means Victory are set for another season in the NPLM 3, whilst Kingston retain their NPLM 2 status.

NPLM Victoria Promotion/Relegation Playoff 2022

Kingston City 1 (Sakhizada 68′)

Melbourne Victory 0

Melbourne Victory U23s starting XI: Ahmad Taleb (gk), Edmond Lupancu, Matthew Bozinovski, Ryan Lethlean (c), Franco Lino, Linus Bourke, Kayne Razmovski, Nishan Velupillay, Lleyton Brooks, Eli Adams, Adem Duratovic


Victory’s league-winning season came to an end following a 3-2 loss to Box Hill United in yesterday’s semi-final.