Melbourne Victory produced a dominant display in a 4-1 win over Nunawading City in the NPL 3 Victoria on Saturday.
Victory was on top throughout the first half at Mahoneys Reserve, setting up its win thanks to goals from William Wilson, Gianluca Iannucci and Nishan Velupillay.
Andrew Cartanos pulled a goal back for Nunawading in the second half, but Nicholas Apostolopoulos’ own goal sealed Victory’s win.
Victory made a fast start and deservedly struck twice in the opening 13 minutes.
A beautiful team move led to the opener in the seventh minute as Wilson drove an effort into the bottom corner in rainy conditions.
Just six minutes later and Victory doubled its lead, Iannucci curling a 25-yard free-kick into the corner after Velupillay was fouled.
Victory continued to create chances as Velupillay and Luca Da Silva forced saves from Nunawading goalkeeper Michael Theo, the former also shooting wide in a one-on-one following a one-two with Josh Varga.
Marc Latsis was the next to go close, the right-back’s cross hitting the woodwork after he was released by a wonderful Iannucci flick.
But Victory would take a 3-0 lead through Velupillay, who produced a clinical finish after being put in behind.
Da Silva almost added another for Victory on the stroke of half-time, but he fired just wide after twisting and turning to find space in the area.
Nunawading made the better start to the second half and Cartanos pulled a goal back with a neat finish in the 51st minute.
But moments after Adem Duratovic hit the crossbar for Victory, it restored its three-goal lead as Da Silva’s cross was turned in by Nunawading defender Apostolopoulos.
Victory controlled the final half-hour, maintaining control as it saw out a deserved win.
General Manager – Football Drew Sherman’s post-match thoughts
“I felt we were excellent today. What has been asked of the boys through the week was implemented fantastically and the result is a byproduct of that performance.
“It’s tough to have lost two games on the spin and losing can easily become a habit if we accept those defeats just because we played some nice football. Today was a reset moment and it was important that yes, we play good football, but ultimately we finish the game with three points.
“Some individuals are starting to put together consistent performances which is what’s needed if they’re going to force opportunities of involvement in the A-League. Also, it was really pleasing to see newer guys like Marc Latsis, who has stepped up to make his first appearance in men’s football out of the academy and was faultless today. No doubt there’s a few more who will be wanting to push themselves into the starting XI next week.”
NPL 3 Victoria 2021 Round 5
Nunawading City 1 (Andrew Cartanos 51′)
Melbourne Victory U21s 4 (William Wilson 7′, Gianluca Iannucci 13′, Nishan Velupillay 35′, Nicholas Apostolopoulos 63′ og)
Melbourne Victory: Marko Bulic (gk); Marc Latsis, Matthew Bozinovski (c), Aisen Ishak, Edmond Lupancu; Luca Da Silva, William Wilson, Josh Varga (Jack Morton); Gianluca Iannucci (James Paneras), Adem Duratovic (Ryan Lethlean), Nishan Velupillay.
Victory’s U19s made it five wins from five to begin the season in the U21 competition, beating Nunawading 6-0.