Melbourne Victory recorded a 2-1 win over the North Geelong Warriors in the NPL2 West on Sunday.
Victory was rewarded for a fine performance at Epping Stadium, where Jack Palazzolo’s opener was cancelled out by the Warriors’ Morgan Filer.
But Aydin Mustedanagic scored what proved to be the winner for Victory in the 68th minute.
Victory made the perfect start, opening the scoring through Palazzolo’s ninth of the season.
Yazid Said was released in behind down the left before crossing for the forward to tap in the opener.
While Victory goalkeeper Branko Skocic denied James Coutts at his near post, William Wilson almost doubled the host’s lead.
The midfielder’s cross from the left went over Hamish Flavell and bounced back off the post, before the Warriors goalkeeper parried a 20-yard effort from Wilson in the 28th minute.
Victory took its lead into the break, but it was put under pressure to begin the second half, Skocic making a couple of good saves and Nuh Sehavdic clearing off the line.
North Geelong equalised just before the hour-mark, Filer firing in after a scramble inside the area.
However, Victory restored its lead nine minutes later through Mustedanagic’s first goal of the campaign.
The left-back burst through the middle and played a one-two with Sehavdic before finishing clinically past Flavell in a one-on-one.
As the Warriors pushed, Victory looked dangerous on the counter-attack as it closed out a deserved win.
Head coach Gareth Naven’s post-match thoughts
“Really competitive. I always say to my group the most important thing in sport, any sort of sport, is the ability to contest the ball and everything you do. Every contest is important and our team today made every contest really important. They understand what they needed to give themselves and they understood what they needed to give for the team. At times, North Geelong were very hard at it and we matched that and at times we were defending our box and I think our back four were fearless in their approach in defending long throw-ins, crosses that came in, putting their bodies and blocking things. Like I said, we just had the ability today to have good energy, do things before the opposition could do them, be involved in every contest to the best of our ability and I think that’s what performance looks like. I was really happy with the way the boys, as a team, produced that today.”
NPL2 West 2019 Round 26
Melbourne Victory 2 (Jack Palazzolo 12′, Aydin Mustedanagic 68′)
North Geelong Warriors 1 (Morgan Filer 59′)
Melbourne Victory: Branko Skocic (gk); Andrew Visciglio (c), Matthew Bozinovski, Benjamin Carrigan, Aydin Mustedanagic; Jack Morton, Anthony Lesiotis; Nuh Sehavdic, William Wilson (Jack Marth), Yazid Said (Nicholas Hamakiotis); Jack Palazzolo (Liston Diaz).
Victory’s under-20s remain on track to secure the title after a 4-0 win over the North Geelong Warriors.