NPL Report: Victory fall to last-gasp defeat

A goal from the final attack of the game saw Boroondara Eagles come from behind to beat Melbourne Victory 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.

Team News

Head coach Joe Palatsides made a host of changes to his lineup having secured promotion last time out, with only Adem Duratovic, Kayne Razmovski and goalkeeper Christian Siciliano maintaining their positions in the XI.


A raft of fresh faces in the Victory XI ensured that there would be no drop in intensity despite the team’s ladder position having already been secured, with players looking to make the most of their opportunity.

The first chance of the game arose courtesy of a Kasey Bos cross which picked out George Karvounis in the box, but the winger narrowly steered his attempt wide of the post.

Christian Siciliano was called into action a few minutes later when Boroondara made their first meaningful foray into the box, but the shot-stopper was alert to the danger and quickly snuffed out the chance.

Victory responded by rattling the crossbar from a set-piece, before a lofted ball over the Boroondara defence found Adem Duratovic at full-stretch, but again the attempt couldn’t quite hit the target.

Duratovic, Tommaso Minutoli and Alex Kapaklis each had further opportunities as the half neared its conclusion, but the opening goal remained elusive.

The deadlock was finally broken just minutes before half-time, when a cross-field ball was headed down by Kapaklis into the path of Duratovic, whose shot deflected over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

A goal at the perfect time which ensured Victory headed into the break with some reward for their effort.

Palatsides’ team aptly fended off a series of early set-pieces from Boroondara early in the second half.

Jack Pope executed a perfectly-timed challenge when the home team ventured into the penalty area just after the hour mark, as Victory continued to repel each attack.

Alex Menelaou and Owen Mccloskey were both introduced to the game as it entered its final 20 minutes, replacing Adem Duratovic and George Karvounis.

Boroondara though would eventually break Victory’s resolve when a penalty was awarded for a foul on the edge of the area with just 15 minutes remaining.

The spot-kick was duly converted.

Nathan Stamatelos and Josh Francou were each brought on in the final 10 minutes as Victory looked to reclaim their lead.

However, it was Boroondara who would land the final blow.

A set piece in the final minute saw the ball lofted into a crowded penalty area, where it somehow found its way past everybody and into the back of the net.

A disappointing end to the game for Victory, whose attention now turns to the final game of the season.

Head Coach Joe Palatsides’ post-match thoughts

Summarising the game:

“There were key moments in the game where we didn’t react well, most obviously the goal in the last minute.”

“It’s a bit tough to swallow, because the boys largely played the football we wanted them to play.”

“There are a lot of positives that we take out of this game. Sometimes though when you put out a good performance you don’t get any points.”

On the performance of the younger players:

“Obviously we’ve got the promotion now so we wanted to give some of the younger boys a run.”

“They adapted very well. I was happy with the way they played, especially in the first half.”

“We scored a great goal and probably should have scored another couple.”

“In the second half we probably dropped away a bit, which is natural when you have some players who aren’t as match-hardened.”

“Even though we didn’t play as well in the second half, we still played some decent football and overall the boys deserved to win, which makes the result disappointing.”

On the new-look attack:

“We wanted to give Tommaso Minutoli some game time up front.”

“We decided to move Adem Duratovic to a 10 role because he holds the ball up so well and is very good technically.”

“I thought Adem was actually very good, and Tommaso had a few great chances to score.”

“So I thought that experiment worked quite well.”

Next Up

Victory’s final game of the campaign is at home to Goulburn Valley Suns next Saturday 19 August, kicking off at 3:00pm AEST.

NPL3 Victoria 2023 Round 21

Boroondara Eagles 2

Melbourne Victory 1 (Duratovic 44′)

Melbourne Victory U23s starting XI: Christian Siciliano (GK), Jack Pope, Kayne Razmovski, Kasey Bos, Adem Duratovic, Alex Kapaklis, Tommaso Minutoli, George Karvounis, Alex Gust, Damien Bozinovski, Linus Bourke