A 90th-minute winner from Kosta Barbarouses saw Melbourne Victory past Perth Glory 3-2 at AAMI Park on Saturday.
Victory celebrated stalwart Leigh Broxham’s 250th league game for the club with a thrilling win in Round 16.
Barbarouses was the hero for Victory with a dramatic late winner, set up by a third assist of the game from Leroy George.
James Troisi and Mark Milligan earlier scored for Victory, which had fallen behind to a Scott Neville header.
After Diego Castro equalised for the Glory, Barbarouses struck as Victory returned to winning ways and moved into fourth on the table.
Perth took the lead in just the second minute, Neville heading in a cross from the left from Walter Scott.
Victory built into the clash as Terry Antonis – on his first start for the club – and Barbarouses looked most lively.
A header from Barbarouses after smart play down the left by George forced Liam Reddy into a straightforward save midway through the first half.
Victory was rewarded for its period of dominance with a 27th-minute equaliser through Troisi.
George pounced on a ball and exchanged passes with Besart Berisha before forcing Reddy into a low save, the rebound eventually falling for Troisi to put away for his second of the season.
Victory goalkeeper Matt Acton – starting in place of the injured Lawrence Thomas – produced a great save with his legs to deny Adam Taggart from close range in the 31st minute.
The hosts took the lead to begin the second half thanks to another assist from George.
The winger’s set-piece from the right found Milligan, who controlled his effort wonderfully to put Victory ahead.
Berisha almost made it 3-1, but his low strike after a Barbarouses pass was well saved by Reddy in the 73rd minute.
Victory continued to push for a third but instead conceded an equaliser, Castro producing a fine finish over Acton after a long pass.
Berisha struck the post in the 88th minute but Victory found its winner, Barbarouses finishing wonderfully into the bottom corner after a George pass.
Player in focus
What they said – George
on the importance of the win…
“We knew it would be very difficult to play three games in eight days and you want to win the games, but the last two games we didn’t take three points and today was a very important game for us.”
on life at Victory and in Australia…
“It was very important that we won this game and I was so happy because we deserved to win this game and I was so happy because we deserved to win this game. Melbourne is nice, it’s nice to enjoy it.”
Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Round 16
Melbourne Victory 3 (James Troisi 27′, Mark Milligan 47′, Kosta Barbarouses 90′)
Perth Glory 2 (Scott Neville 2′, Diego Castro 83′)
Melbourne Victory: Acton (gk), Geria, Djulbic (Broxham 72′), Milligan, Nigro, Valeri (c), Antonis, Troisi (Theoharous 80′), Barbarouses, Berisha, George (Sanchez 90+4′)
Perth Glory: Reddy (gk), Walker, Neville (Lowry 79′), Grant, Scott, Torres, Andreu, Italiano (Harold 79′), Castro, Taggart (Nichols 57′), Keogh (c)
Yellow cards: Walker 53′, Grant 90+1′, Nichols 90+1′, Valeri 90+1′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: AAMI Park
Victory’s next outing is a trip to ANZ Stadium to face the Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday, January 19.