NPL wrap: Victory 2-1 George Cross

A late goal from Birkan Kirdar saw Melbourne Victory overcome Sunshine George Cross 2-1 in the NPL2 West on Sunday.

Summary

Kirdar scored a dramatic 92nd-minute goal at Epping Stadium as Victory made it back-to-back wins.

Jack Palazzolo had earlier brought Victory level, cancelling out An Su-beom's opener for Sunshine.

The win was Victory's second straight and third in four games, lifting it into fifth on the table.

George Cross made the better start and it capitalised on an early set-piece, An's looping header beating Victory goalkeeper Majak Mawith.

But the first half otherwise belonged to Victory, which controlled possession under lights in Epping.

Kirdar, 16, had an effort ruled out for offside before the host equalised through Palazzolo.

The 18-year-old forward finished clinically from inside the area midway through the first half for his third goal of the campaign.

In a much tighter second half, Victory went close in the 56th minute, Palazzolo firing wide in a one-on-one with Ryan Gauci after being put in by Kirdar.

Mawith made a strong save at his near post to deny An, while Benjamin Carrigan headed a Kirdar set-piece over for the host.

But Victory found a deserved late winner through Kirdar, who netted his fourth of the season.

The attacking midfielder drilled in a finish from inside the area after a lay off from Palazzolo, who had been found by a cross from the right by Andrew Visciglio.

Head coach Gareth Naven

"I thought we stayed in the game, which was really important, whether we were defending, attacking. There was good energy to score that last goal from Andrew Visciglio and the other players and Birkan to finish it off. I think they should be really happy with themselves. The rhythm of the game today changes, it was a very physical encounter. Standing up for each other was important collectively today and riding the game, the rhythm of the match, sometimes they're on top of us, sometimes we're on top of them and it's important that we're really together when those moments aren't going our way. We survived the match, which I thought was really positive for the group today.

"Also, I think collectively the staff give a lot of really good support for the players to try and be the best they can be for the weekend and we've just got to highlight the important things that we need to keep doing each week and today the biggest thing for me was the effort was there. The effort was there every second of every minute, which is good."

Under-20s

Victory's under-20s played out a 2-2 draw with Sunshine George Cross.

NPL2 West 2018 Round 13
Melbourne Victory 2
(Jack Palazzolo 22', Birkan Kirdar 90+2')
Sunshine George Cross 1 (An Su-beom 3')

Melbourne Victory: Majak Mawith; Andrew Visciglio, Benjamin Carrigan, Aaron Anderson, Jonathan Vakirtzis (c); Thierry Iradukunda (Maker Maker), Brady Quinn; Brandon Lauton, Birkan Kirdar, Yazid Said; Jack Palazzolo.

Next week

Victory makes the trip to La Trobe University in Bundoora in Round 14 to take on City.