Melbourne Victory celebrated Leigh Broxham’s 300th Hyundai A-League appearance with a 1-0 win over Perth Glory on Friday.
A first-half goal from Robbie Kruse was enough for Victory to claim three hard-fought points at AAMI Park.
Broxham became the first player to play 300 Hyundai A-League games for one club, lining up at centre-back for Victory.
It was Kruse, making his first start since returning to the club, who starred, putting away Andrew Nabbout’s cross for the match-winner and causing Perth plenty of problems throughout.
After an even start, a lightning Victory counter-attack ended with Ola Toivonen forcing a low save from Glory goalkeeper Liam Reddy from 30 yards in the 12th minute.
Five minutes later and Perth threatened, Neil Kilkenny curling a shot just over from distance.
Nabbout almost opened the scoring for Victory midway through the first half, his cross-cum-shot from the left tipped over by Reddy before he headed a Jakob Poulsen corner over.
Victory took a deserved lead in the 33rd minute through Kruse, who scored his first goal since returning to the club.
Adama Traore’s cross from the left found Nabbout at the back post and the attacker squared a pass for Kruse to tap in.
The front four of Toivonen, Kruse, Nabbout and Elvis Kamsoba continued to cause Perth problems as Victory took its lead into the interval.
Perth almost equalised five minutes into the second half, Bruno Fornaroli hitting the post with a volley after a cross from the right.
The visitor pushed and it went close again just before the hour-mark as Alex Grant’s header clipped the top of the crossbar.
Victory also threatened, Nabbout poking a Kamsoba cross wide in the 77th minute before the latter fired a chance wide, with Lawrence Thomas making a fine save late on to deny Gregory Wuthrich an equaliser.
Player in focus
What they said – Kruse
on the result…
“It was massive. Football, and sport in general, momentum and confidence is a massive thing. Maybe the confidence wasn’t as high the last weeks, we’re slowly getting a full playing squad on deck so tonight’s win was massive. We stuck to the structure, with the players we have we’re going to be really dangerous on the counter and I think we created numerous chances there and probably could’ve iced the game so it’s something to build on now and hopefully we can recover and heading into next week put in another win.”
on his goal…
“It was a tap-in but I’ll take it. They all count. For me, I’ve been out for probably 12-14 weeks with my hamstring, it’s been difficult for me, but I’ve worked hard to get fit again and I wanted to come back with the right attitude and mentality back here in Australia, really happy with the performance and obviously for Broxy tonight was really good that we put in a performance befitting of what he’s done for this club.”
Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Round 8
Melbourne Victory 1 (Robbie Kruse 33′)
Perth Glory 0
Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk); Lesiotis, Donachie, Broxham, Traore; Poulsen, Basha; Nabbout (Brown 90+2′), Kamsoba, Kruse (Athiu 88′); Toivonen (c).
Perth Glory: Reddy (gk); Franjic (Kim 57′), Wuthrich, Grant, Meredith; Juande (Chianese 78′), Popovic (Brimmer 65′), Kilkenny; Castro (c); Ikonomidis, Fornaroli.
Yellow cards: Meredith 20′, Toivonen 28′, Ikonomidis 58′, Castro 76′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: AAMI Park
Victory makes the trip to GMHBA Stadium to face Western United on Sunday, December 8 before returning home to face Wellington Phoenix six days later.