Melbourne Victory keeps up winning run over Newcastle Jets
By Roy Hay
Melbourne Victory took on Newcastle Jets in a match critical to both teams’ finals ambitions at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night and came out on top with two second-half goals.
Victory welcomed back Robbie Kruse from international appearances with the Socceroos in Qatar and Marvin Angulo replaced Grant Brebner in midfield.
Carlos Hernandez was out with a groin strain.
The Jets had several absentees including the suspended Ryan Griffiths, Ruben Zadkovich, Sasho Petrovski and Michael Bridges.
The first half was keenly contested but both sides gave the ball away frequently.
Victory had the bulk of the play and had several good strikes on goal, but often tried to pass the ball through the Jets defence, which stuck to its task effectively and skillfully.
Jets relied more on breakaways and Jeremy Brockie, Nicholai Topor-Stanley and Labinot Haliti all came close in the first half.
Victory kept up the pressure in the second half and finally got the goal the approach play deserved, though there was a touch of luck about the finish.
Mate Dugandzic worked the ball around the edge of the penalty area and then gave it to Tom Pondeljak who lifted the ball over the keeper perhaps with the aid of a slight deflection.
That was in the 57th minute.
Five minutes later Marcello Fiorentini was sent off for kicking Marvin Angulo in an incident in midfield.
That made the Jets task of getting on terms even more difficult and they went further behind in the 70th minute.
Michael Petkovic fielded a shot and released Angulo with a precise throw.
The midfielder made ground then put an even more tantalising ball in front of Robbie Kruse to who took one touch and thrashed it into the net.
Both sides made full use of their substitutes and the game become more stretched as Victory tried to add to its lead with a number of swift breaks.
Matthew Foschini caught Ben Kennedy by surprise with a shot from out on the left which was creeping inside the post when the keeper got a hand to it as he cannoned into the woodwork.
Danny Allsopp fired a bullet on goal in the 89th minute but directly at the keeper who clung on to it.
The Jets had a couple of chances but Victory managed to survive with another clean sheet.
Young Petar Franjic has taken to the holding midfield role with aplomb and Matthew Kemp has been released from the coach’s earlier instruction when he came back from injury to curb his attacking runs.
In this match he was a constant threat down the left until substituted late on.
For the Jets skipper Nikolai Topor Stanley was inspirational in defence and bombing forward in attack.
In one aerial challenge he powered a header just over the bar and clattered Robbie Kruse in the one movement.
Branko Culina bemoaned the absence of seven key first team players but admitted the better team won on the night.
It was Victory’s third clean sheet in a row and cements its place in the finals both outcomes which pleased Ernie Merrick, who also pointed out that the team committed very few fouls and only had a single booking, that of Rodrigo Vargas for holding Jeremy Brockie.
Melbourne Victory 2 (Tom PONDELJAK 57’, Robbie KRUSE 70’) Newcastle Jets 0
Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Referee: Strebre DELOVSKI
Assistant referees: Luke BRENNAN Shaun EVANS
Fourth official: Kevin DOCHERTY
Melbourne Victory: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 3. Mate DUGANDZIC, 4. Petar FRANJIC, 7. Matthew KEMP (17. Matthew FOSCHINI 76’), 11. Marvin ANGULO, 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA (9. RICARDINHO 66’), 15. Tom PONDELJAK, 18. Danny ALLSOPP, 21. Robbie KRUSE (24. Luke PILKINGTON 83’), 23. Adrian LEIJER
Substitutes not used: 20. Sebastian MATTEI
Yellow cards: Rodrigo VARGAS 17’
Red cards: Nil
Newcastle Jets: 1. Ben KENNEDY, 3. Adam D’APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR STANLEY, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 14. Labinot HALITI (28. Mario SIMIC 73’), 16. Jeremy BROCKIE, 17. Marcello FIORENTINI, 18. Marko JESIC (31. Jacob PEPPER 73’), 25. Samuel GALLAWAY, 26. James VIRGILI (9. Zhang SHUO 60’)
Substitutes not used: 40. Matthew NASH
Yellow cards: Jobe WHEELHOUSE 71’
Red cards: Marcello FIORENTINI 62’