Elasi hat-trick buries Sydney

A hat-trick from Melbourne striker Nathan Elasi has given the Victory a 3-1 win over Sydney FC as the last-placed side on the National Youth League table stunned the highflying Sky Blues at Epping Soccer Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

A hat-trick from Melbourne striker Nathan Elasi has given the Victory a 3-1 win over Sydney FC as the last-placed side on the National Youth League table stunned the highflying Sky Blues at Epping Soccer Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

After a goalless first half, the Victory striker opened the second with a bang, firing home from close range in the 47th minute.

Robbie Mileski instantly replied for Sydney from the resulting kick-off but the Victory refused to be daunted as Elasi gave the hosts the lead once more 10 minutes from time.

Melbourne was forced into some desperate defence as the visitors laid siege to its goal in search of an equaliser but, with the final play of the game, the Victory countered in style, Elasi burying his third with virtually the last kick.

The Victory's second win in a row sees them leapfrog Newcastle off the bottom of the National Youth League table and into seventh position as Sydney maintains top spot, nine points clear of second-placed Queensland.

As a cool change swept the stadium on Melbourne's outskirts, Sydney opted to turn up the heat on Melbourne's defence, dominating the first 20 minutes without finding an opener.

The visitors created their first opportunity in the eighth minute as livewire left winger Kofi Danning used his pace to get past Melbourne's back four, crossing to Adam Biddle at the far post, the forward sending his shot wide.

Sydney's Chris Payne then tried his luck from close range two minutes later but saw his effort blocked by Mitch Langerak's legs as the Victory stopper thwarted another effort from Payne two minutes later.

Sydney's best chance of the half arrived in the 14th minute when Danning accelerated into the area once again. But the youngster could only blast his effort into the right upright as Langerak was beaten, with Victory defender Steven Pace clearing Biddle's follow-up attempt off the line.

The Victory gradually worked its way into the contest as the back four weathered the early onslaught and started directing play, although the hosts were assisted by a drinks break that allowed them to re-group and which robbed Sydney of momentum.

On the half hour, impressive Melbourne left back Fabio Di Lizia did well to cut inside the defence but Elasi took too long to shoot and the chance went begging, while Dimitri Hatzimouratis sent an effort into Sydney 'keeper Vedran Janjetovic's hands during first half injury time.

The Victory began the second half as they had finished the first, taking the lead two minutes after the break when Elasi was on hand to convert a cross from Hatzimouratis.

But the hosts had barely finished celebrating when Sydney leveled the scores, Mileski slotting in his second goal in two matches at the near post as Sydney surged forward from the kick off.

Both sides then enjoyed chances to re-take the advantage as the ever-dangerous Danning sent one effort narrowly wide of the right upright with Langerak beaten just after the hour before hitting the post a second time in the 75th minute.

Elasi also missed a good opportunity to slot home a cross from second half substitute Aziz Behich just moments earlier, but he made up for his profligacy with a powerful strike 10 minutes from time that gave Janjetovic no chance.

The visitors pressed forward as they looked to draw level once again, sending in a series of crosses into the danger zone.

But the Victory's defence, led by Steven Pace and Di Lizia held them back, although there was a nervy moment when Jacob Timpano fired an 88th minute shot at Langerak.

However Sydney's efforts amounted to nothing as the pacy Behich accelerated into the area once again during the third minute of injury time, drawing the defence and crossing to Elasi to complete his hat-trick.

Melbourne Victory 3 (Elasi 47, 80, 90+3) Sydney FC 1 (Mileski 48)