VPL Report: Victory prove too strong for City

Melbourne Victory moved two points clear at the top of the VPL1 table on Sunday afternoon, after storming to an impressive 3-0 win over Melbourne City at Epping Stadium.

Team News

Head Coach Joe Palatsides made one change to the team which drew 0-0 with Caroline Springs George Cross last time out, as Josh Inserra returned to the XI, replacing Matt Bozinovski.


The game did not take long to see its first chances, with both teams having shots on goal in the opening few minutes.

A breathless start to the game soon settled into a more even tussle, although the intensity remained high from the start.

Victory looked most threatening from corners throughout the first half, regularly causing panic within the City defence, but were unable to convert amongst the chaos in the box.

The half seemed destined to remain scoreless, but some Alex Menelaou magic late in the piece gave Victory a vital edge.

A superb run from the midfielder created space in the box, before he cleverly cut the ball back inside to where Jesse Hoey was waiting to finish off the chance.

Hoey’s fourth goal of the season, which handed Victory a crucial advantage heading into the second 45.

The second half was steady to begin, as both sides gradually re-found their footing.

Joe Palatsides looked to his bench just before the hour mark, bringing Linus Bourke and Victor Muhindo into the action.

The changes seemingly had a positive effect, as just minutes later, Victory doubled their lead.

A more straightforward goal second time around, as a well-worked corner routine saw a flick-on header find Adem Duratović, who made no mistake with the finish from close range.

Victory found themselves in a commanding position with half an hour remaining.

Daniel Lazarevski and Jack Mihailidis were brought into the game as Joe Palatsides looked to ensure his team retained their control.

Jesse Hoey had opportunities to seal the game over the next period of play, executing some brilliant work in the build-up to attacks, but narrowly missed out on the finish on each occasion.

The three points were finally secured in stoppage time, when the substitute Mihailidis finished his chance and made the score 3-0.

A superb win for Victory, who move two points clear at the top of the VPL1 ladder as a result.

Head Coach Joe Palatsides’ post-match thoughts

On the performance:

“Scoreline I’m obviously happy with. We scored three, probably could have scored another two or three as well.”

“But probably wasn’t our most fluent game. We didn’t play our very best football. That’s something we’ll look at.”

“But in games like this, a lot of the time it’s a bit more stop-start, a bit more transitional. It’s a derby, everyone’s excited about it.”

“I can understand why we didn’t play our absolute best, but at the same time a lot of credit needs to go to the players for the way they defended, the way they created chances.”

“Overall I think it was a well-deserved win.”

On the team’s impressive defensive showings:

“We worked a lot defensively this week.”

“We identified a few areas last week that we could have done better, so we wanted to make sure we continued on with our great defensive record.”

“It’s not just about the back four and the goalkeeper, it’s about the whole team.”

“If the whole team works together, we can usually keep the opponent away from any goal scoring situations.”

On Josh Inserra’s return to the team:

“Right up until Thursday, we didn’t think he’d be available to play.”

“You don’t want to take any risks with your good, talented young players.”

“But he came through the training sessions with the A-League team, so we got the green light.”

“For his first game back after that injury, I thought he was quite exceptional.”

On the plan during the team’s week off:

“There are certain areas we want to look at.”

“We’re also focusing on the players who haven’t played as many minutes, so we’ll play a catch-up game during the week to top them up in minutes and have everyone ready to go for the game against Werribee.”

Next Up

After a week off, Melbourne Victory will return to action on Friday 5 April when they make the trip to Werribee City, kicking off at 8:30pm AEDT.

VPL1 2024 Round 7

Melbourne Victory 3 (Menelaou 38′, Duratović 61′, Mihailidis 90+1′)

Melbourne City 0

Melbourne Victory U23s starting XI: Christian Siciliano (GK), Dimitri Palatsides, Josh Inserra, Damien Bozinovski, Kasey Bos, Kayne Razmovski, Alex Menelaou (c), Luka Kolić, Jesse Hoey, Adem Duratović, Marc Petheriotis