Victory win a thriller


A 10-man Melbourne Victory have moved into third in the Hyundai A-League after a dramatic 3-2 win over Gold Coast United at AAMI Park on Sunday.

A 10-man Melbourne Victory have moved into third in the Hyundai A-League after a dramatic 3-2 win over Gold Coast United at AAMI Park on Sunday.

A brace from midfielder Carlos Hernandez proved decisive after an action-packed encounter that featured three penalties.

Marquee Harry Kewell netted his first goal for the club to open the scoring, before Hernandez doubled Victory’s advantage, also from the spot.

Goal Coast substitute Dylan Macallister pulled one back with a spot-kick, while Victory defender Rodrigo Vargas was sent off just after the half-hour.

Dutch midfielder Peter Jungschlager found the equaliser three minutes after the break for United, before Hernandez’s late heroics saw Victory extend their unbeaten run to six matches.

In a remarkable start, the lively Archie Thompson won the first penalty of the match in the opening minute after Fabio, who made a dazzling run to start the move, played him behind on the left.

Thompson cut inside and was brought down by United’s Paul Beekmans, with Kewell stepping up to blast a penalty into the bottom corner.

Costa Rican Hernandez hit two efforts wide in a free-flowing opening, while Gold Coast midfielder Jonas Salley, making his debut appearance, hit a shot onto the post after a Vargas clearance.

The heavily involved Salley gave away a penalty in the 22nd minute after a late challenge on Marco Rojas, giving Victory a chance to double their advantage.

This time Hernandez stepped up to net his third penalty of the season despite goalkeeper Glen Moss guessing the right way for a second time.

The eventful first half continued when Vargas saw red for a rash tackle on Golgol Mebrahtu on 33 minutes.

Shot-stopper Moss denied his former club a third when he got a fingertip on Thompson’s attempted chip.

Gold Coast got back into the contest when Mebrahtu earned a penalty after Diogo Ferreira brought him down just inside the area.

Macallister, who had been introduced in the 27th minute, beat Ante Covic with a well-placed penalty to the keeper’s left with the last play of the half.

But the visitors needed just three minutes of the second half to equalise when Ben Halloran cut back for Jungschlager to side-foot in from inside the area.

Gold Coast may have got the equaliser but Victory continued to attack, with Kewell hitting a volley into the side netting and a long-range strike well over.

Maceo Rigters forced Covic into a low save, and it was the hosts who went close to netting when Thompson played Billy Celeski behind.

Moss saved the midfielder’s effort with his feet, but the ball looped onto the crossbar and to United’s safety.

Hernandez hit a 20-yard free-kick over the bar, and saw another long-range strike go agonisingly wide soon after, but the 29-year-old would get his brace in the 79th minute after a well-worked move.

Celeski played a pass into the attacking midfielder, who in turn fed Thompson through on goal.

And, with Moss off his line after coming to intervene, Thompson chipped a cross to the back post where Hernandez rose highest to nod in the winner.

To add to the drama, Kristian Rees hit the post for Gold Coast in stoppage time, while Thompson did likewise when played through by the impressive Hernandez.

Melbourne Victory 3 (Kewell 3(pen), Hernandez 24(pen), 79)
Gold Coast United 2 (Macallister 45+3(pen), Jungschlager 48)