Victory trounce Phoenix


Melbourne Victory have farewelled their home fans for 2011-12 with a 3-0 win over fourth-placed Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park on Friday night.

Melbourne Victory have farewelled their home fans for 2011-12 with a 3-0 win over fourth-placed Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park on Friday night.

They may be out of the race for the finals but their sixth win of the campaign and third against the Phoenix this season came courtesy of goals to Carlos Hernandez (11th minute), Isaka Cernak (58th) and Jimmy Jeggo (89th).

And while Archie Thompson’s goal drought stretched to 10 matches, he did make up for his failure to convert a host of chances by providing the assist for all three goals.

The result in front of 11,231 fans could have dire consequences for Phoenix’s hopes of a home final too, with the possibility their hold on fourth place could be cut to just two points if either or both of Melbourne Heart and Newcastle Jets win this weekend.

There was a sour note for the winners though with Marco Rojas’ night ended inside the first 20 minutes after he came off second best with a suspected broken jaw following a clash with Manny Muscat.

Victory supporters also got their first look at highly-rated 17-year-old Julius Davies, the Liberian-born forward who has previously spent time at German clubs Bayern Munich and Hoffenheim and after replacing Harry Kewell he got a shot on target only for it to be cleared.

The first major action came when Fabio won the ball back in an attacking position and linked up with Thompson who then laid the ball off for Hernandez, who took a step to steady and then smashed his shot past a stranded Mark Paston from 20m.

Within two minutes Thompson had the chance to double the lead but headed Hernandez’s free kick straight to Paston before in the 14th minute Thompson got past Manny Muscat but again shot directly at Paston.

Just past the quarter-hour mark the clash between Muscat and Rojas left the former Phoenix youngster down with a facial injury and just after a Paul Ifill shot curled wide Rojas was replaced by Cernak.

Victory continued to press and Cernak looked perfectly placed to get on the end of a pinpoint Harry Kewell cross but a diving Paston just got there first to tip the ball to safety in the 24th minute before Thompson spurned another chance just past the 30-minute mark.

Having beaten Vince Lia and Ben Sigmund a combined three times, Thompson chipped Paston but was denied by the right post, before Tim Brown headed just wide and then saw his goal-bound effort in the 38th minute brilliantly saved by Tando Velaphi.

The final two chances of the half both also fell to the hosts, with Hernandez and Thompson playing in Cernak only for Paston to easily cover his curling shot, while Thompson chipped his way past Sigmund but when he then lifted his shot over Paston he sent it wide.

The second half followed the same pattern of the first as Victory dominated much of the contest and were rewarded with further goals to Cernak and Jeggo while Thompson continued to have opportunities but failed to convert.

Hernandez beat two defenders and then teed him up but Paston was again equal to the task before a Jeggo through ball put Thompson into space and he turned provider for Cernak with a superb low cross that he blasted in.

Thompson lifted another shot over the bar before Cernak was denied by Paston and in the dying stages Davies played through to Thompson who held up the ball for Jeggo to blast the ball in off the post.

Melbourne Victory 3 (Hernandez 11, Cernak 58, Jeggo 89)
Wellington Phoenix 0