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Dec 11, 2021   |  11:21PM AET

Post-match reaction: Popovic

Post-match reaction: Popovic

Melbourne Victory Head Coach Tony Popovic felt his side deserved its entertaining 2-1 win over Adelaide United on Saturday.

Nishan Velupillay scored a 78th-minute winner at Coopers Stadium as Victory made it three wins in four in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

Francesco Margiotta’s opener had earlier been called out by a Matthew Spiranovic own goal, and Victory had to hold on after a red card to Jason Davidson.

Speaking at a post-match news conference, Popovic discussed the result and Spiranovic’s performance in his first league start since May 2019.

on whether it was a fair result…
“Fair result. I think nothing comes easy here, I don’t think for any teams. The first half was a fantastic display, so many chances created. We would’ve liked to have gone in front, certainly in the first half, but 1-1, Adelaide does what they do, they gain momentum, the crowd gets behind them, we’ve seen it happen so many times here. But we scored a wonderful second goal and then in the end we had to hang on a bit with 10 men, but I think overall we deserved it.”

on not being ahead at half-time…
“In the back of your mind, it didn’t really cross my mind, what crossed my mind was how difficult it is to get results here, but when you watch a team play that way in the first half you can only be positive, you can only be happy and then you just want more, you want more and you know Adelaide will come, they’ll get their period, they’ll get their moments in the game, they’re a good team, we withstood a lot of that and we scored at the right moment. At 1-1 is what’s most pleasing for me, the growth maybe already in one week, where last week once we conceded I never felt we could come back and one week later, hostile environment, we scored a wonderful second goal and then we had to be really tough at the end, that’s a little bit of progress for us.”

on Davidson’s disallowed goal…
“I did see it a few times on the replay, I was told that he (Margiotta) played at the ball and he was in the eye line of the keeper. He doesn’t touch the ball and it’s a shot from the edge of the box on an angle along the ground, I’m not sure the keeper was impeded with his vision to see the ball, but that was the ruling that was made and you feel maybe it’s not going to happen, but in the end we got the two goals we needed.”

on starting Spiranovic in such a game…
“When you know Matty as well as I know him and you know his temperament, we didn’t even discuss it prior to the game. I trust Matty. You never know how the game will go but I’ve seen him work so hard in pre-season. He wasn’t just good on the ball. I thought defensively he was outstanding, he had to win a lot of challenges, the front players of Adelaide give you a lot of problems and he held out there right to the end. Very happy for him, now the challenge will be to recover well and back it up, something he hasn’t done in two years, but I’m sure a Derby coming up will help him recover quickly.”

on Chris Ikonomidis…
“We hope to have him soon, but we also don’t want to lose him over something that we can control and manage. I think we forget with Chris, he had 14 months out with his knee, played a few games for Perth and then did two quarantines to travel with the national team, four weeks sitting in an apartment. He’s a fit boy, but he’s not football fit as yet. We’ve seen him train the last couple of days with the team which is positive and if he has a full week of training then we can see whether he can be available for the Derby.”