Melbourne Victory fell to a 4-1 loss to Sydney FC in the Hyundai A-League on Saturday.
Marco Rojas’ brilliant individual effort gave Victory the lead at Marvel Stadium, where Sydney equalised late in the first half through Milos Ninkovic.
Goals after the hour-mark from Anthony Caceres and Adam le Fondre and a late Kosta Barbarouses penalty for Sydney handed Victory its first loss in three league games as Tim Hoogland was sent off.
Victory made a superb start to lead through Rojas’ second goal in as many games.
A Storm Roux tackle at right-back won possession for the attacker, who ran at the Sydney defence and beat Alex Wilkinson before finishing clinically.
Giancarlo Gallifuoco’s desperate block denied Caceres in the 11th minute before Barbarouses fired wide from just outside the area following a Ninkovic pass.
Victory went close to doubling its lead in the 18th minute, Ola Toivonen heading an Andrew Nabbout cross off target after towering over the Sydney defence.
A blistering counter-attack led to another Victory chance three minutes later, Rojas blazing over from inside the area after Elvis Kamsoba’s shot was blocked.
After Kamsoba fired wide at one end, Sydney equalised through Ninkovic, who turned and finished from inside the area to make it 1-1.
Toivonen’s 30-yard free-kick forced a low save from Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne to begin the second half.
Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas produced a superb save with his feet to stop Ninkovic’s header in the 55th minute as both teams pushed for another goal.
And Sydney took the lead thanks to Caceres in the 64th minute, the midfielder curling an effort from just outside the area in off the post.
It was 3-1 moments later, Le Fondre clipping a finish over Thomas after a Sydney counter-attack.
Victory continued to look for a way back into the game, Toivonen kneeing a Kamsoba cross over the crossbar in the 74th minute.
But Sydney sealed its win late on, Barbarouses converting from the spot after Hoogland was adjudged to have fouled Trent Buhagiar inside the area.
Player in focus
What they said – Rojas
on the game…
“They’re a very good team in the A-League and we started off with a real good intensity and got the early goal and maybe if we had have put another one away different story, but they were good and then they put us under a lot of pressure and scored some good goals.”
on half-time team talk…
“I think we had a lot of good opportunities or were in good areas in the front third and maybe took the wrong decision and little things like that and they didn’t do that, they were a little bit more ruthless and I mean we just talked about doing the same stuff, making sure we had the same intensity, pressing them and that we were still in the game even though they had a lot of pressure in our defensive third in the first half.”
on his knock…
“We’ll have a look at it over the next couple of days. It was pretty painful and that’s why I came off, but it’s not a big swell or anything like that so maybe it’s not as bad.”
Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Round 22
Melbourne Victory 1 (Marco Rojas 5′)
Sydney FC 4 (Milos Ninkovic 43′, Anthony Caceres 64′, Adam le Fondre 66′, Kosta Barbarouses 87′ pen)
Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk); Roux, Donachie, Gallifuoco, Hoogland; Basha, Broxham (Lesiotis 77′); Kamsoba, Rojas (Athiu 75′), Nabbout; Toivonen (c).
Sydney FC: Redmayne (gk); Grant, McGowan, Wilkinson (c), King; Brattan (Baumjohann 88′), Retre; Caceres, Ninkovic (Tilio 90′); Barbarouses, Le Fondre (Buhagiar 84′).
Yellow cards: Rojas 56′, Gallifuoco 57′, Nabbout 60′, Barbarouses 78′
Red cards: Hoogland 85′
Venue: Marvel Stadium
Victory makes the trip to Wellington to face the Phoenix on Sunday, March 15 before returning to AAMI Park to host Brisbane Roar.