Melbourne Victory held on to record a 1-0 win over the North Sunshine Eagles in the NPL 3 Victoria on Sunday.
Luca Da Silva’s early goal proved to be enough at Epping Stadium as Victory claimed all three points.
But it needed a huge defensive performance in the second half, with goalkeeper Marko Bulic making several good saves, including a penalty stop.
Victory made the perfect start with the opening goal in the eighth minute.
Josh Varga capped a fine run with a pass to Da Silva, whose initial effort hit the post but the midfielder followed up to score his first goal of the season.
Victory continued to push early on and Gianluca Iannucci saw a curling effort tipped over by North Sunshine goalkeeper Zaim Zeneli before Aisen Ishak headed a corner wide.
While the visitor settled, Victory created further opportunities before half-time.
Da Silva took a nice touch down the left before cutting inside and forcing a save from Zeneli, while Jack Morton saw a powerful 30-yard strike fly just wide of the top corner.
Victory produced a strong defensive performance in the second half to claim all three points.
Goalkeeper Bulic stepped up before the hour-mark, keeping out a Diellon Memishi penalty.
Ishak made a goal-line clearance before Bulic was needed to stop an Ali Khameesi strike at his near post.
Victory managed to hold on thanks to some more Bulic heroics, the goalkeeper incredibly keeping out a Jakub Mlcak header in the fifth minute of additional time.
General Manager – Football Drew Sherman’s post-match thoughts
“Obviously today it was really pleasing to get the win and I felt we showed some moments of good game management to see out the match in the end.
“There were some changes to the game plan this week which the boys worked really hard to apply and got their rewards with the first-half goal. However, it’s fair to say the lion’s share of the second-half momentum was with North Sunshine Eagles and our concentration and focus was certainly tested at times.
“All in all it’s a pleasing performance, we will take belief into next weekend’s game with Ballarat and it’s nice to climb the ladder. In particular Marko Bulic made some tremendous saves not only from the penalty but also late on. For me his performance deserved a clean sheet, which is our first of the season and is worthy of mention.”
NPL 3 Victoria 2021 Round 7
Melbourne Victory U21s 1 (Luca Da Silva 8′)
North Sunshine Eagles 0
Melbourne Victory: Marko Bulic (gk); Thomas Lambiris, Edmond Lupancu, Aisen Ishak (c), So Nishikawa (James Paneras); Jack Morton, William Wilson, Luca Da Silva; Gianluca Iannucci, Adem Duratovic (Darcy Anastovski), Josh Varga (Jake Parish).
Victory’s U19s beat North Sunshine Eagles 6-2 to make it seven wins from seven to begin the season in the Under-21 competition.