Victory earns gutsy draw against Wanderers


A 10-man Melbourne Victory came from behind to draw 1-1 with the Western Sydney Wanderers in their blockbuster Hyundai A-League clash on Monday night.


Mitch Austin was sent off for Victory midway through the first half at Etihad Stadium and the Wanderers went ahead thanks to Oriol Riera.

Riera had a chance to double the visitors’ lead just before the break, but Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas denied the striker from the penalty spot.

Victory would earn its point shortly after the break as Thomas Deng headed in his first goal for the club.

Victory made three changes to the starting XI that drew with the Central Coast Mariners.

Stefan Nigro replaced Leigh Broxham (hamstring tightness) at left-back, while Matias Sanchez and Jai Ingham came in for James Troisi and Kosta Barbarouses, who missed due to international duty.

Victory made a lively start and went close in the 15th minute, with Leroy George forcing Vedran Janjetovic into a low save after Carl Valeri won the ball in midfield.

Just four minutes later and the hosts threatened again as Austin rose to head a tough chance over after a George cross from the right.

Victory was reduced to 10 men midway through the half after Austin picked up a second yellow card.

The Wanderers opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark, Riera heading in a cross from Raul Llorente to make it 1-0.

Western Sydney had an opportunity to double its lead before the break after Rhys Williams brought down Jumpei Kusukami inside the area.

But Thomas made a huge save, diving to his right to keep out Riera’s spot-kick.

Thomas produced another stop – to deny Mark Bridge – early in the second half, and Victory would capitalise at the other end.

A George set-piece was met by the head of Deng, whose effort went in off the post in the 49th minute.

The Wanderers almost restored their lead on the hour-mark, but Nigro got a slight touch on a Roly Bonevacia strike and it crashed off the post.

Kenny Athiu came on for his Victory debut in the second half as the hosts pushed for a winner, but eventually had to settle for a point.

Victory is back at home in Round 6, hosting Brisbane Roar at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, November 11.


Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Round 5
Melbourne Victory 1
(Thomas Deng 49′)
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Oriol Riera 32′)

Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk), Nigro, Williams, Deng, Geria, Valeri (c), Milligan, Sanchez (Athiu 72′), Austin, George (Hope 90+4′), Ingham
Western Sydney Wanderers: Janjetovic (gk), Llorente, Cornthwaite (c), Aspropotamitis, Hamill, Baccus, Bonevacia, Jumpei, Bridge (Sotirio 81′), Cejudo (Santalab 68′), Riera

Yellow cards: Austin 3’/24′, George 27′, Milligan 37′, Williams 44′, Hamill 51′, Cornthwaite 54′, Deng 64′, Santalab 84′
Red cards: Austin 24′
Attendance: 21,577
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne