Melbourne Victory’s unbeaten run has ended at eight games despite an impressive afternoon from Nishan Velupillay.
It was a tale of two halves at Mahoneys Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
Victory welcomed back Nishan Velupillay, Lleyton Brooks, Birkan Kirdar and Marko Bulic from A-League Men duties for the trip to Nunawading with hopes of extending their unbeaten run to nine.
But it was the home side who got off to a flyer in fine conditions, scoring from a counter-attack in the fifth minute to put Victory on the back foot.
Velupillay was lively early on the left wing in response to the quick goal but it was Nunawading who assumed control of the contest.
The home side capitalised on another swift counter-attack in the 22nd minute when a clean finish from an on-target cross extended their lead to 2-0.
Birkan Kirdar and Lleyton Brooks began to wrestle momentum back for Victory with several aggressive runs at the Nunawading defence creating chances to strike back.
The best Victory chances of the half belonged to Kirdar, who had two shots well saved and another fly just wide of the goalmouth from distance.
Despite the brief turnaround in play, Nunawading found another goal in the 41st minute with a clever chip over the outstretched Bulic to make it a well-earned 3-0 advantage heading into the sheds for the main break.
It was a totally different story in the second half.
Nishan Velupillay played with flair and intensity after the break to flip the complexion of the game and give Victory hope of a comeback.
Kirdar and Velupillay forced a huge double-save from the Nunawading keeper in the 52nd minute as Victory came out on the attack before Velupillay again tested the shot-stopper in the 58th minute on the break.
After another few dangerous runs at goal, Velupillay finally found the breakthrough in the 71st minute when he sliced through three defenders and finished on his left foot to breathe life into the contest at 1-3.
The duel evened up after the goal before Kirdar’s 89th minute free kick thundered into the crossbar.
Nunawading put the result to bed moments later, finishing a brilliant solo run to extend their lead back to a three-goal margin.
A handball in the final moments of play gave Anthony Leban a chance to score Victory’s second from the penalty spot and he made no mistake to wrap up proceedings at 2-4.
The loss snaps Victory’s eight-game unbeaten run.
Victory face Whittlesea Ranges next Saturday 4 June at 3.00pm AEST in an ‘away’ fixture at Epping Stadium.
NPLM 3 Victoria 2022 Round 11
Nunawading City 4
Melbourne Victory 2
Melbourne Victory U23s starting XI: Marko Bulic (gk), Kasper Hallam, Zaydan Bello (c), Ryan Lethlean, Jackson Lino, Jay Barnett, Alexander Menelaou, Birkan Kirdar, Lleyton Brooks, Nishan Velupillay, Binyam Kebede
Victory earned a 4-0 win over Nunawading after entering half-time 1-0 ahead.