VPL1 Report | Points Shared In Top-Of-The-Table Clash

The Victory Academy remain atop the VPL1 table after a dramatic 2-2 draw against Preston Lions at John Cain Memorial Park.

Starting XI

1. Yona Sultan (GK) 22. Dimi Palatsides 2. Linus Bourke 4. Damien Bozinovski 21. George Karvounis 6. Kayne Razmovski 8. Alex Menelaou (C) 16. Jack Mihailidis 23. Jesse Hoey 13. Tommaso Minutoli 34. Marc Petheriotis

31. Daniel Duvnjak 27. Nikolas Čevizović 25. Zander Kapaklis 32. Jordan Hoey 14. Austin Ganino 11. Daniel Lazarevski


A raft of changes were made to the starting side with many of Vicory’s senior players unavailable after having been made available for the Isuzu UTE A-League Grand Final.

It was another crucial match for the Victory Academy, with Preston Lions making the trip to John Cain Memorial Park for what was a top-of-the-table clash.

The early stages of the match were controlled by Preston, who looked to get on the scoresheet early.

Yona Sultan was asked into action early after a Preston counterattack in the 9th minute. A cut inside the box freed up space for Preston who sent a low shot to the left of the goal, but Sultan made no mistake, putting the ball out for a corner.

Then Preston struck the first blow.

A dangerous cross into the box from the visitors was not dealt with by Sultan who palmed the ball to the top of the box, only to find a Preston attacker who expertly placed the ball into the top corner, taking the lead for the visitors.

Marc Petheriotis almost instantly equalised on a dangerous counter-attack, but a well-timed tackle from the Preston defender thwarted Petheriotis’ attempt on goal.

Jesse Hoey gave Victory their next best chance to equalise, using his pace and quick feet to find space in the box, but the young attacker’s curling attempt was deflected for a corner.

A high boot from Jack Mihiliadis saw the midfielder shown a yellow card in the 24th minute.

The scoreline remained unchanged for the remainder of the half, with Victory looking to get back into the contest.

It was much of a back-and-forth to start the second half but that quickly changed in the 64th minute.

A chaotic ball came into the Preston box, and it fell to Captain Alex Menelaou alone at the top of the box. The skipper hit the ball with perfection to rattle the back of the net to level the scores.

Looking to ride the momentum, Victory looked to attack and find a second goal.

And we didn’t have to wait long. Jack Mihailidis was brought down in the box and Victory was awarded a penalty.

Captain Alex Menelaou stood tall once again, keeping his calm from the spot, converting his second goal of the match and giving his team the lead with just over 20 minutes of football to play.

It all boiled over in the 80th minute when a scuffle led to a Preston red card, leaving the visitors with 10 on the field.

With injury time looming, disaster struck as Preston equalised.

The full-time whistle blew and the points were shared at John Cain Memorial Park.

Next Up

It’s another big game for the Victory Academy as they travel to Cheltenham to face Bentleigh Greens at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, kick-off at 8:30pm.

VPL1 2024 Round 15

Melbourne Victory 2 (Menelaou 64′, 67′)

Preston Lions 2