Melbourne Victory produced arguably its best performance of the season to record a 4-0 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday.
Victory extended its winning run to four matches and returned to second in the Hyundai A-League after a dominant display at Marvel Stadium.
Keisuke Honda, Raul Baena, Kosta Barbarouses and Terry Antonis were on the scoresheet as Victory stretched its unbeaten run against the Wanderers to nine matches.
Victory created a glorious chance in just the third minute, but Ola Toivonen was denied by Vedran Janjetovic in a one-on-one after exchanging passes with Barbarouses.
Last season’s champion opened the scoring in the 11th minute after a fine team move that ended with Honda scoring his fourth goal of the season.
Toivonen found Antonis, who crossed beautifully to the back post for Honda to head in and make it 1-0.
Victory doubled its lead shortly after the half-hour mark through Baena, who scored his first goal for the club.
After receiving from Honda, Antonis back-heeled a pass to Barbarouses for the forward to cross to Baena, the Spaniard keeping his composure before picking out the bottom corner from inside the area.
Honda forced a good save out of Janjetovic soon after as Victory continued to produce some excellent combinations in attack.
The host would make it 3-0 before half-time thanks to Barbarouses’ first goal of the campaign.
Barbarouses was brought down in the area by Tarek Elrich after a pass from Storm Roux, before the forward stepped up to place his penalty into the bottom corner.
After trying his luck with a header from distance to begin the half, Toivonen headed an Antonis cross wide in the 55th minute before forcing a diving save from Janjetovic.
Toivonen went close again on the hour-mark, the Swede’s strike saved by Janjetovic at the near post after a lovely pass from Honda.
Victory remained in control in the closing stages, and it sealed its win in stunning fashion through Antonis.
Carl Valeri produced a last-ditch tackle in his own area that led to a counter-attack and Antonis’ third goal of the season.
Honda put Barbarouses in behind and the forward crossed to Toivonen, who touched a first-time pass into the path of Antonis to emphatically blast home.
Lawrence Thomas ensured Victory kept its clean sheet in additional time, denying Oriol Riera in a one-on-one.
Player in focus
What they said – Toivonen
on the performance…
“We won 4-0 so we can’t complain. We started off really good in the first half and came into half-time with 3-0. Of course, we go down a little bit with our concentration in the second half, but we finished off with a nice fourth goal and we’re satisfied.”
on his assist for Antonis…
“I like to pass to my team-mates as well. Of course, the combination up front was really good and we had a really good mix, so looking forward to next weekend.”
on room for improvement…
“That’s beautiful with football and with teams. You can always improve on something. Now we recover and then we start training again.”
Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Round 6
Melbourne Victory 4 (Keisuke Honda 11′, Raul Baena 31′, Kosta Barbarouses 39′ pen, Terry Antonis 83′)
Western Sydney Wanderers 0
Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk); Roux, Deng, Ansell (Hope 82′), Brown; Valeri (c); Honda, Antonis, Baena (Broxham 49′); Barbarouses, Toivonen (Akbari 86′).
Western Sydney Wanderers: Janjetovic (gk); Risdon, Elrich, Hamill (c), Llorente; Baccus, O’Doherty (Tokich 45′); Majok (Sotirio 45′), Baumjohann (Fitzgerald 76′), Kamau; Riera.
Yellow cards: Elrich 6′, Ansell 21′, Llorente 69′, Hamill 83′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: Marvel Stadium
Victory is at home again in Round 7, hosting Adelaide United at Marvel Stadium on Saturday, December 8.