Melbourne Victory returned to their winning ways in the NPL3 competition, defeating Geelong SC 3-0.
Head coach Joe Palatsides made three changes to his starting XI for the clash against Geelong, bringing Franco Lino into defence and giving starts to Marc Latsis and Eli Adams further up the field.
Victory came out looking to make amends for last week’s defeat, attacking the Geelong defence from the opening.
It didn’t take long for Victory to hit the scoreboard, with a damaging run by Will Wilson in the sixth minute capped off with a calm finish by Eli Adams into an open net to take the lead.
Both Adams and Wilson had shots on target within the next 10 minutes of play as they looked to double their advantage.
A free kick on the edge of the Victory box saw Geelong have their first genuine chance of the game in the 19th minute, which was well dealt with by Ahmad Taleb in goal who saved low to his right.
Wilson came close once again to doubling Victory’s lead in the 29th minute, with a rocket at the near post firing off the woodwork and out for a goal kick.
The 35th minute saw the duo of Adams and Wilson once again combining down the right side to set up a golden opportunity for Adem Duratovic, who placed the ball in the back of the net and extended the Victory lead to two goals.
Half-time saw the score remain two goals to nil after Victory held off a late flurry from Geelong in the box.
The beginning of the second half saw Geelong testing the Victory defence once again.
Taleb produced an athletic save low to his right in the 49th minute after Geelong found themselves through on goal.
The number 30 produced three more saves in as many minutes, proving to be a brick wall against the Geelong attack.
The substitution of Adams in the 63rd minute was surrounded by a much more defensive approach from Victory, who were looking to maintain a clean sheet and claim the three points.
After defending harshly for much of the second half, Victory were able to add one more goal to the board after substitute Tommaso Minutoli capitalised on a fatal Geelong error, putting the result beyond doubt in the 85th minute.
The full-time whistle blew to finish off an impressive all-around performance from Victory, keeping their clean sheet and scoring three times to remain one of the teams to beat in NPL3.
Post-match reaction: Head Coach, Joe Palatsides
On the match:
“I was really pleased with the way the boys played.”
“It’s always a test after we have a loss to see how we bounce back.”
“To see the boys come out today and dominate the first half… it was really pleasing.”
“I’m pleased with the way the boys played and that’s the whole lot.”
“The guys who came on, the guys who started. I thought it was a really great team performance.”
On the defensive performance:
“In the first half the defensive display from the front where we pressed early and kept Geelong as far away from the goals as we possibly can was really good.”
“In the second half when we did make a few errors I thought Ahmad (Taleb) was very very strong.”
“Generally speaking the back four had a really great game in terms of being able to keep the strikers in less dangerous positions.”
“When it counted they really stepped up for us.”
On Adams and Wilson:
“Eli (Adams, Will (Wilson), Boz (Bozinovski), Ahmad (Taleb), every time they come down they have a really great attitude”
“Their quality is on show for a lot of us to see and that’s great to see. That always helps the younger boys as well.”
“For Will and every A-League boy that comes down to play well, its got to be the NPL boys that really step up as well and I thought they did that.”
“The whole team performance was really pleasing to see.”
Victory head back to Epping Stadium again on Sunday the 21st of May to take on the Boroondara-Carey Eagles, kicking off at 3pm AEST.
Melbourne Victory 3 (Adams 6’, Duratovic 35’, Minutoli 85’)
Geelong SC 0
Melbourne Victory Starting XI: Ahmad Taleb (GK), Josh Inserra, Ryan Lethlean (c), Franco Lino, Alex Menelaou, Adem Duratovic, Jordi Valadon, Austin Ganino, Marc Latsis, Will Wilson, Eli Adams