Victory fall to Glory


Melbourne Victory have finished their Hyundai A-League campaign with a 4-2 loss to a Shane Smeltz-inspired Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Saturday.

Melbourne Victory have finished their Hyundai A-League campaign with a 4-2 loss to a Shane Smeltz-inspired Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Saturday.

Jim Magilton’s men led at half-time after Carlos Hernandez and Mark Milligan scored either side of a Smeltz header.

But the New Zealand international completed a standout display with three more goals in the second half, helping the Glory consolidate third spot on the table.

Victory finish a disappointing campaign in eighth – but looked lively in the first half of the encounter out west.

The visitors started brightly with Hernandez and Harry Kewell threatening to break down the Glory defence on several occasions in the opening 10 minutes.

It was Steven McGarry who had the first shot on target after intercepting an Archie Thompson pass, forcing goalkeeper Tando Velaphi into a comfortable save down low to his right.

Thompson created a glorious chance for Victory after a quarter of an hour when he wriggled past Steve Pantelidis.

James Jeggo teed up Kewell after receiving a pass from the forward, but Glory shot-stopper Danny Vukovic produced a strong save to deny the Qantas Socceroos star.

The dangerous Andrezinho then had a 25-yard free-kick palmed onto the post and to safety by Velaphi before Victory took the lead.

A delightful through ball from Fabio found Hernandez, whose side-footed effort found the net despite Vukovic getting a hand on the shot.

But the Victory barely led for 60 seconds before Smeltz equalised on 23 minutes, heading in after Andrezinho crossed having capitalised on a mix-up between Velaphi and right-back Matthew Foschini.

Magilton’s side could have gone ahead in the 29th minute when a pinpoint Isaka Cernak pass found Thompson, but the veteran’s first touch let him down and the chance went begging.

Victory would, however, take a lead into the break thanks to on-loan defender Milligan’s first goal for the club.

A Hernandez set-piece was partially cleared and Milligan superbly controlled a Fabio shot-come-pass to fire a powerful volley past Vukovic.

The Glory only needed three second-half minutes to level for the second time, with Smeltz’s glancing header finding the far corner after a well-weighted Andrezinho set-piece.

Ian Ferguson’s men were ahead in the 63rd minute when Smeltz completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot.

Milligan brought down Billy Mehmet in the area, and Smeltz stepped up to place the spot-kick into the bottom corner despite Velaphi guessing the right way.

Just three minutes later Smeltz had his – and Glory’s – fourth.

The 30-year-old classily beat two Victory defenders before curling a strike from just inside the area into the top corner, leaving Velaphi with no chance.

Smeltz’s four goals took his tally in the A-League to 62, with his stellar display helping him move above Thompson (60) on the all-time goalscorer’s list.

Perth Glory 4 (Shane Smeltz 23’48’63(pen)’66’)
Melbourne Victory 2 (Carlos Hernandez 22′, Mark Milligan 45+3′)