Melbourne Victory fell to a 1-0 loss to Adelaide United in the Hyundai A-League on Friday.
Ben Halloran’s first-half goal was all that separated the teams at Coopers Stadium, where Victory again wasted several chances.
Despite a much-improved second half away from home, Victory went down in Carlos Salvachua’s first game at the helm.
Victory was put under early pressure before it thought it had a ninth-minute penalty for handball, only for the decision to be overturned after the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) intervened.
As the visitor started to settle into the contest, Andrew Nabbout fired an effort from the edge of the area over the crossbar midway through the first half.
Victory had a penalty appeal turned down moments later when Robbie Kruse appeared to be brought down in the area by Jordan Elsey.
Just after the half-hour mark Victory was behind, Halloran scrambling in at the back post despite Adama Traore’s best efforts to clear following Lawrence Thomas’ save from Riley McGree.
Victory squandered a chance 10 minutes before half-time, Nabbout shooting wide from a Jakob Poulsen pass before McGree went close at the other end for Adelaide.
The next opportunity fell to Elvis Kamsoba in the 55th minute, but the attacker was denied by Paul Izzo in a one-on-one, while the Adelaide goalkeeper then saved from Nabbout.
Victory continued to push and Traore burst into the area before forcing Izzo into another save.
As the more open contest continued, Thomas did well to deny Elsey before Nikola Mileusnic hit the post with a 66th-minute header.
Victory wasted another chance with 20 minutes remaining, Nabbout shooting over from inside the area after a pass from Kamsoba.
McGree curled wide for Adelaide in the 76th minute and Victory looked desperately for an equaliser, Izzo denying Nabbout once more in the final seconds.
Player in focus
What they said – Thomas
on the week…
“It’s been a big week, obviously a lot going on at the club, but I think with everything going on I think the players need to take a lot of responsibility for where we are. We have a quick turnaround now, we have a lot of games this month and we really need to just take a look at ourselves.”
on AFC Champions League…
“If you look back a few years ago when the Champions League started for us it sort of turned our season that year so possibly again this year, give a few of the young boys a go to come in and have a good crack, but I think it’s a positive at the moment to have the games and the short turnaround.”
“The main thing tonight was a bit more aggressive, a bit of a higher press, try to win the ball a bit higher up. But in saying that I think in the first half we found it quite difficult, Adelaide had most of the ball so it’s something I guess in the next few weeks it might be hard to work in training with the amount of games, but just got to keep positive and keep going really.”
Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Round 15
Adelaide United 1 (Ben Halloran 32′)
Melbourne Victory 0
Adelaide United: Izzo (gk); Strain, Elsey, Jakobsen (c), Maria; D’Arrigo (Boland 73′); Blackwood, McGree; Halloran, Opseth (Kitto 87′), Mileusnic.
Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk); Roux (Athiu 84′), Donachie, Broxham (c), Traore; Basha, Barnett (Lauton 56′); Nabbout, Poulsen (Hope 68′), Kamsoba; Kruse.
Yellow cards: McGree 28′, Hope 83′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Victory hosts Bali United in the AFC Champions League Preliminary Round 2 at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Tuesday, January 21.