VPL Report: Victory move clear on top with Werribee win

Melbourne Victory ended Friday night five points clear on top of the VPL1 ladder, having secured an impressive 4-1 win away to Werribee City in a fiery contest.

Team News

Head Coach Joe Palatsides made five changes to the team which defeated Melbourne City 3-0, as Eli Adams, Fabian Monge, Linus Bourke and Matt Bozinovski all returned to the lineup, whilst Daniel Graskoski made his senior debut in goal.


Victory came into the game seeking to extend their lead on top of the VPL1 ladder, but an away game in Werribee is rarely a straightforward task.

The visitors made a promising start, as a powerful header from Adem Duratović following a set piece drew a strong save from the Werribee goalkeeper in the opening minutes.

Jesse Hoey also had an early chance, but was unable to beat the goalkeeper from a tight angle.

The hosts though soon settled into the game, creating a more even contest for the majority of the half.

The deadlock was set to remain unbroken as half-time approached, but just before the break, a superb attacking move breached the Werribee defence.

A series of slick passes ended with Luka Kolić being played through in the box, before cutting it back to the feet of Adem Duratović who opened the scoring from close range.

A brilliant move just before half-time, handing Victory a narrow advantage heading into the second 45.

The narrow advantage was widened soon after the re-start, as Hoey drew a foul inside the box to earn his team a penalty.

Luka Kolić stepped up to convert the spot-kick, sending the keeper the wrong way to double Victory’s lead.

Victor Muhindo was substituted into the game soon after the second goal, replacing Hoey who had been on the receiving end of a firm challenge minutes earlier

The third goal arrived in the 63rd minute, when the ball came to Eli Adams in plenty of space on the edge of the box, before the winger cleverly curled his shot past the goalkeeper.

Werribee pulled one goal back as the game entered its final 15 minutes, scraping past goalkeeper Daniel Graskoski who had made several impressive saves on debut.

Joe Palatsides made full use of his bench as the game edged towards its conclusion, bringing Kayne Razmovski, Dimi Palatsides, Damien Bozinovski and Marc Petheriotis into the game.

The drama continued deep into the contest, with Werribee being shown three red cards in the final minutes of action, as tensions boiled over on the pitch.

Victory took advantage of their numerical advantage in the final minute of the game, when Marc Petheriotis scored his side’s fourth of the evening.

A commanding performance away from home by Victory, whose incredible start to the VPL1 season continues for another week.

Head Coach Joe Palatsides’ post-match thoughts

On the performance:

“We knew coming into the game that even though Werribee haven’t had many results go their way recently, they’ve got some really good players, especially their front three or four.”

“So we knew we had to be on our game.”

“I thought the first 60 minutes of football that we played was probably the best we’ve played all year. We completely dominated the game and probably should have wrapped it up by half-time.”

“We put out a great performance.”

“It was a bit disappointing that we let it slip towards the end – that last 20 minutes we probably got a little bit more sloppy and gave away a few chances that helped them score and get back in the game.”

On managing the number of changes to the team:

“It’s always hard when you bring in a new lineup.”

“Sometimes we have to discuss what we’re going to do pretty much on the day of the game.”

“But it all went really well.”

“Young Daniel Graskoski played his first senior game and he performed in an outstanding manner.”

On hanging tough at the end of the game:

“Credit to Werribee, after we went to 3-0 and it looked like the game was over, they really threw caution to the wind and played some really good football as well.”

“It was a shame there were some bad tackles at the end.”

“But we had a good performance and a good win – we’re pleased with that.”

Next Up

Victory return to Epping Stadium next Sunday 14 April where they will welcome Brunswick City, kicking off at 3:00pm.

VPL1 2024 Round 8

Werribee City 1

Melbourne Victory 4 (Duratović 42′, Kolić (pen) 51′, Adams 63′, Petheriotis 90+3′)

Melbourne Victory U23s starting XI: Daniel Graskoski (GK), Linus Bourke, Josh Inserra, Matt Bozinovski, Kasey Bos, Fabian Monge, Alex Menelaou (c), Luka Kolić, Jesse Hoey, Adem Duratović, Eli Adams