Fresh faces shine for Victory

Two players making their starting debuts - one a dazzling young talent and the other a battle-hardened veteran - announced themselves as instant fan favourites for Melbourne Victory in the club's 3-1 victory over Adelaide United at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Two players making their starting debuts - one a dazzling young talent and the other a battle-hardened veteran - announced themselves as instant fan favourites for Melbourne Victory in the club's 3-1 victory over Adelaide United at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

The youngster, Mate Dugandzic, scored two of Melbourne's goals - one in each half - to extend the Victory's magnificent winning run over the Reds to eight matches.

The oldie, veteran Thai international striker Sutee Suksomkit, combined up forward with Archie Thompson as effectively as the man he's replaced for his guest-player's stint - Danny Allsopp - ever did.

Adrian Leijer scored the sealer on the stroke of -full time with a powerful header from a Carlos Hernandez corner to make it five wins from the past six outings for the Victory.

The precocious Dugandzic celebrated his 20th birthday last Thursday, but it was he who gifted his club three precious points that's opened up a six-point gap between Melbourne and Adelaide and may yet lift the defending titleholders to the top of the table by the end of the round.

His first goal scored in the 18th minute was set up by Suksomkit and Thompson who teased and probed the Adelaide defence with quickfire touches at the top of the box.

Ultimately they weren't able to find a clear path but the attention they attracted created space for Dugandzic clear on the right.

A lovely side-foot touch from Suksomkit rolled invitingly into Dugandzic's path and the lightly-framed No.3 hit it first-time from outside the box on the right, low and hard across a diving Galekovic.

The second came 11 minutes into the second half when Hernandez ran onto a lovely through ball from Matthew Kemp.

There was an instant's hesitation as the Adelaide defenders appealed for offside, but the assistant's flag stayed down.

By then, Hernandez was one-on-one with Galekovic and perhaps could have rounded the 'keeper but centred unselfishly for the advancing Dugandzic who banged the ball into an unguarded net.

Adelaide kept the Victory honest with a reply in the 64th minute.

Lloyd Owusu headed a corner from the right across the box where Adam Hughes was able to turn his marker and slot the ball inside the right post past a flat-footed Glen Hughes.

The setback didn't stop the Victory from attacking and they were rewarded with Leijer's unstoppable late goal, his second for the season.

Charging hard into the box, he was the only Melbourne player amidst a sea of red but met Hernandez's corner sweetly and gave Galekovic no chance.

Suksomkit cut a dashing figure in his flashy red boots and preferred to create and bring team-mates into the game rather than take a shot.

He's no like-for-like substitute for Allsopp by any means, but first impressions suggest he will complement his fellow forwards beautifully.

The 31-year-old deserved the rousing ovation he was given by the home fans when substituted in the 85th minute.

Alemao had his moments on the right for Adelaide, but it was Matthew Leckie who had a role to play in almost all of the visitors' best moves throughout the night.

The 18-year-old from Bulleen Lions came close to opening the scoring for Adelaide when he scuttled down the left touchline and turned Leijer inside out before scuffing his shot straight at Moss who was able to gather safely.

Melbourne Victory 3 (Dugandzic 18, 56, Leijer 89 ) Adelaide United 1 (Hughes 64) Saturday October 24, 2009 Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Referee: Ben Williams Crowd: 21,182