Yazid Said and Liston Diaz scored braces to help Melbourne Victory past Sunshine George Cross 4-2 in the NPL2 West on Saturday.
Diaz struck twice in wet conditions at Knights Stadium before Said also netted a double in the Round 27 encounter.
Victory had opened up a 3-0 half-time lead before Karl Baricevic and Kim Jungho goals dragged George Cross back into the contest, only for Said to seal the visitor’s win.
A tight first half was broken open by Victory in the final 15 minutes.
Diaz, 17, scored his first goal at NPL2 level for the opener in the 31st minute.
The forward dispossessed a defender before calmly rounding goalkeeper Ryan Gauci and finishing.
The teenager doubled his tally and Victory’s lead eight minutes later, heading in a Nicholas Hatzigeorgiou cross after the midfielder had exchanged passes with Nicholas Sette from a corner.
Victory made it three before half-time, Said finishing well off the post for his fourth of the season.
George Cross pushed hard in the second half, with Victory wasting numerous opportunities on the counter-attack.
The host pulled a goal back midway through the half when Baricevic scrambled in following a corner.
A Kim goal followed, but Victory sealed its win when Said dispossessed Gauci to complete his brace.
Head coach Gareth Naven
“I thought in the first half we did really well in scoring those three goals and you always know when you’ve got an opponent who obviously needs the next two results, there’s massive motivation. That second half was them throwing everything at us and possibly if they did that in the first half, we could’ve been in a bit more trouble.
“I thought the group really dug in and scrambled and obviously we conceded two goals, but we went down the other end and scored another goal and created a 4-2 situation and deflated them and probably finished the match off.
“I think it was a really good experience for our playing group in regards to the momentum of the game. It went from one extreme to another, staying in the match and then scoring to kill the opposition off. That learning experience for the young blokes, against a team that’s fighting relegation, is a really good experience for them.”
Victory’s under-20s edged past Sunshine George Cross 1-0 and remain second on the table.
NPL2 West 2018 Round 27
Sunshine George Cross 2 (Karl Baricevic 67′, Kim Jungho 80′)
Melbourne Victory 4 (Liston Diaz 31’/39′, Yazid Said 41’/88′)
Melbourne Victory: Majak Mawith; Aaron Anderson, Benjamin Carrigan (c), Matthew Bozinovski (Maker Maker), So Nishikawa; Brady Quinn, Nicholas Hatzigeorgiou; Nicholas Sette (Jack Morton), Brandon Lauton, Yazid Said; Liston Diaz (Ryan Lethlean).
Victory finishes its campaign with a trip to Werribee City on Saturday, September 8.