Melbourne Victory went down 2-0 to the Moreland Zebras in the NPL2 West on Saturday.
Goals in either half from Thomas Barforosh and Stefan Cardamone gave the Zebras their win at CB Smith Reserve.
Victory’s defeat was just its second in its past six matches as it was unable to find a way past Moreland.
After being put under early pressure, Victory fell behind in the 11th minute.
A turnover of possession deep in defence led to a chance for Barforosh, who drilled in the opener from inside the area.
Victory threatened midway through what was an even first half, Rahmat Akbari firing just wide from 25 yards.
The visitor kept looking for an equaliser as the open nature of the opening 45 minutes continued, but it went into the break behind.
Yazid Said put an effort over the crossbar approaching the hour-mark for Victory, while Jack Palazzolo fired straight at Zebras goalkeeper Jack West-Astuti.
Victory had another great chance in the 71st minute, Said shooting over after West-Astuti parried a Palazzolo strike.
Instead, Moreland doubled its lead, Cardamone firing past Victory goalkeeper Branko Skocic and into the roof of the net from an angle to seal the host’s win.
Head coach Gareth Naven’s post-match thoughts
“In the second half, we responded in regards to being more competitive in the match. In the first half, we just can’t give away the ball so easily which opens up opportunities for Moreland Zebras and that’s what happened – unforced errors, the ability for us to execute a pass, especially when you’re not under extreme pressure. At this stage of our players’ ability, they need to be able to nail it 10 out of 10 times. A better reaction in the second half, I’m sure the match would’ve changed if Yaz had put the one straight in the back of the net at 1-0, but it just shows you, you’ve always got to be focused. Within seconds, we concede a throw-in and they score from a throw-in. That’s where it came from. It’s really important and the group know how important throw-ins for and against are because they can cause problems and they need to understand this and start to get better at it.”
NPL2 West 2019 Round 9
Moreland Zebras 2 (Thomas Barforosh 11′, Stefan Cardamone 73′)
Melbourne Victory 0
Melbourne Victory: Branko Skocic (gk); Brandon Lauton, Aaron Anderson, Benjamin Carrigan (c), Aydin Mustedanagic; Thierry Iradukunda; Stefan Ristic, Birkan Kirdar (Jack Morton), Rahmat Akbari (Matthew Bozinovski); Jack Palazzolo, Yazid Said (Liston Diaz).
Victory’s under-20s returned to winning ways by beating the Moreland Zebras 3-2.