Melbourne Victory have defeated Wellington Phoenix in an entertaining high scoring affair at Etihad Stadium on Monday night. The result hands new head coach Kevin Muscat a victory in his opening match, a win made more special as it came against his former mentor Ernie Merrick who was making his first appearance at the Victory’s home ground since being pushed out by the club in 2011.
The Phoenix got off to a very slow start in the match, something that’s become a bit of a habit for the Wellington club. The first goal for Melbourne came in the 9th minute courtesy of Archie Thompson who celebrated with what can best be described as “dry humping” the corner flag. There were appeals for off-side and a handball from the Phoenix defenders but the goal was awarded regardless.
Melbourne’s second and third goals were awarded to James Troisi in the 22nd and 30th minute respectively. Troisi’s first came courtesy of a failed attempt at a header back to Nix keeper Glen Moss by Andrew Durante, who instead placed the ball perfectly in front of the feet of Troisi to fire into the net. Melbourne’s third was more of a well worked goal by the Victory with Kosta Barbarouses passing through the line for Troisi who finished it off by chipping over the helpless Moss.
Heading into the break the Phoenix looked well and truly out of the match, despite having the better of the possession stats. But the halftime rant from Ernie Merrick must have hit the right spot because just like two weeks ago in West Sydney the Nix came out of the sheds firing.
Goals to Jeremy Brockie and Paul Ifill in the 36th and 84th minute set up a tight finish to the match but ultimately the Phoenix paid the price for their poor performance in the opening 30 minutes of the match, despite being the better team on the field for the second half.
While the Victory will happily take the three points there will be questions asked by Muscat as to how they let a team back into the match after being up 3-0. Meanwhile Wellington continue their horror form in Melbourne, coming away from yet another trip to the Victorian capital with nothing to show for it.Google+