NPL Report: Victory begin 2023 campaign with a win

Two late goals made all the difference as Melbourne Victory secured a 3-1 win over Beaumaris to begin their NPL campaign in ideal fashion.

Team News

Several new names were included in head coach Joe Palatsides’ first XI of 2023, including Joshua Inserra, Jordi Valadon, Austin Ganino and Jack Pope.


Victory started the game and their season brightly, looking to pin back their newly-promoted opposition in the early exchanges at Epping Stadium.

The strong start was rewarded soon after, as debutant Jordi Valadon fired a powerful strike into the bottom left corner in the 20th minute, giving Victory an early lead.

A perfect start to the new season for Palatsides’ team.

Victory’s defence was called into action more regularly following the goal, but stood up well to the pressure.

Franco Lino in particular was challenged one-on-one several times, but his strength and crafty defending helped him come out on top on each occasion.

Beaumaris did generate some attempts on goal in the final minutes of the half, but Ahmad Taleb was yet to be truly tested in the Victory goal by the time the half-time whistle blew.

The visitors though raised their intensity at the start of the second 45, with several dangerous balls being sent into the area.

Victory were readying the substitution of Noah Spaseski just after the hour mark, when Beaumaris found the equaliser with a powerful header from another cross.

Palatsides again turned to his bench 10 minutes later as his side searched for the winning goal, bringing on George Karvounis and Tommaso Minutoli.

The substitutions would prove to be a masterstroke, as Victory closed out the game in superb fashion.

First a sensational piece of play from Jack Pope on the right wing ended up with a shot being fired at the goalkeeper, who could only delay its progress towards the goal as Minutoli forced the ball over the line and returned Victory to the lead.

Then immediately following the go-ahead goal, Karvounis took possession of the ball in the Beaumaris half before executing a brilliant curling effort into the bottom right corner, sealing the win.

A big three points to begin 2023 for Victory, who will be aiming to go one better this season by achieving promotion come the end of the campaign.

Head Coach Joe Palatsides’ post-match thoughts

On the performance:

“For the first league game I thought we started pretty well.”

“We played against a really disciplined team. We haven’t played many teams in preseason with that same type of structure.”

“I thought that, in the first half in particular, we controlled the game pretty well.”

“Then we got tested halfway through the second half when Beaumaris was actually getting a bit on top of us.”

“I thought the boys from the bench came on and did a great job to help boost the team to the victory at the end.”

On the impact of the substitutes:

“We know we’ve got some good, young, quality players throughout the academy.”

“We’re looking at giving youngsters more opportunities.”

“The boys that came on are all really talented. It’s just a matter of getting them used to senior football and making sure that they’re physically capable at this level.”

“The boys who came on and changed the game at the end, I thought they were excellent in fulfilling their role.”

On the resilience to win the game late:

“We’ve got a great belief within the group.”

“We always knew throughout preseason that we’re capable of scoring goals and getting on top of our opponents.”

“With league points at stake, you have to show a certain type of resilience.”

“We showed that we can get the three points by just working hard and grafting away.”

“I think what I was most proud of from today was that we never really stopped trying to play our football. We didn’t do as well during periods of the game, but we kept trying to keep the ball and to break down the opposition with good movement.”

“That’s definitely going to hold us in good stead for the next couple of games and hopefully for the rest of the year.”

Next Up

Victory play their first away game of the season next weekend, travelling to Waratah Reserve to take on Doveton SC on Saturday 25th March. The game kicks off at 3:00pm AEDT.

NPL3 Victoria 2023 Round 1

Melbourne Victory 3 (Valadon 20′, Minutoli 85′, Karvounis 87′)

Beaumaris SC 1

Melbourne Victory U23s starting XI: Ahmad Taleb (GK), Joshua Inserra, Ryan Lethlean, Franco Lino, Alex Menelaou, Adem Duratovic, Jordi Valadon, Timothy Atherinos, Nathan Stamatelos, Austin Ganino, Jack Pope