Melbourne Victory continued its push for a top-two finish in the Hyundai A-League with a 2-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.
Ola Toivonen’s opener was cancelled out by a Matt Simon penalty, but Georg Niedermeier’s first goal for Victory saw it to three points.
With two regular season games remaining, Victory is two points behind second-placed Sydney FC.
Victory made a strong start and it threatened twice through Honda in the opening 15 minutes.
The Japanese star’s 25-yard strike was well saved by Mariners goalkeeper Ben Kennedy in the 12th minute.
Just three minutes later, a stretching Honda put a Kosta Barbarouses cross into the side-netting at the back post.
But Victory opened the scoring through Toivonen’s 12th Hyundai A-League goal of the season in the 21st minute.
A wonderful team move was completed when Toivonen played a one-two with Elvis Kamsoba before finishing into the bottom corner.
Victory continued to push as Kamsoba was denied by a last-ditch block and Barbarouses drew another save from Kennedy.
James Troisi went close four minutes before half-time, his strike saved by Kennedy as Victory went into the break 1-0 up.
Despite Victory’s control, Matt Acton was needed to tip away a cross before the Mariners won a penalty for a foul by Thomas Deng on Simon.
Simon stepped up, sending Acton the wrong way from the spot to make it 1-1.
Victory had its opportunities as Kamsoba was again denied by a late challenge before a Leigh Broxham strike flew just wide in the 67th minute.
However, Victory found a deserved winner through Niedermeier’s first goal for the club.
A well-worked set-piece led to Barbarouses firing across the area, where Niedermeier threw himself at the ball to put Victory ahead.
Acton made one more stop with a tremendous diving save to deny Stephen Mallon as Victory held on for a deserved three points.
Player in focus
Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Round 25
Melbourne Victory 2 (Ola Toivonen 21′, Georg Niedermeier 79′)
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Matt Simon 53′ pen)
Melbourne Victory: Acton (gk); Deng (Roux 58′), Donachie Niedermeier, Broxham (c), Baena; Honda, Troisi, Kamsoba (Lesiotis 63′); Barbarouses, Toivonen.
Central Coast Mariners: Kennedy (gk); Millar, Graham, Aspropotamitis, Clisby; Karacan, Melling; McGlinchey (Shabow 22′), Hoole (Mallon 78′), Pain (Murray 69′); Simon (c).
Yellow cards: Kamsoba 3′, Toivonen 32′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: AAMI Park
Victory faces rival Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Friday, April 19.