Report: Victory 3-1 Wanderers

Melbourne Victory secured its spot in the Hyundai A-League Finals Series and climbed back into third after a 3-1 win over Western Sydney.

Summary

Victory claimed three points in an eventful encounter at AAMI Park on Saturday as Leroy George, Besart Berisha and Thomas Deng scored.

Alvaro Cejudo had briefly drawn the Wanderers level, before Michael Thwaite and Kosta Barbarouses were sent off late in the first half as both teams finished with 10 men.

Victory's success saw it move into third with two games remaining in the regular season.

The Wanderers went close after a high-tempo start, a Kearyn Baccus header hitting the outside of the post from a corner in the third minute.

Both teams continued to look lively early, with Barbarouses forcing Vedran Janjetovic into two saves.

But the host needed a great low stop from Lawrence Thomas to stay level approaching the half-hour mark, the goalkeeper denying Chris Ikonomidis in a one-on-one.

Instead, Victory took the lead thanks to George.

The winger's 30-yard free-kick took a deflection, leaving Janjetovic wrong-footed to give George his seventh league goal of the season.

But the Wanderers found an equaliser prior to the break, Cejudo clipping a neat finish over Thomas in a one-on-one.

However, there was more drama to come to finish the half.

Victory was awarded a penalty and Thwaite was sent off – picking up his second yellow card – for dragging down Rhys Williams from a corner.

Barbarouses then saw red for treading on Keanu Baccus' foot after a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review.

Eventually, Berisha stepped up to convert the penalty and give Victory a 2-1 lead heading into the break.

Victory struck again early in the second half thanks to a wonderful goal from Deng.

Terry Antonis picked out the defender at the back post and Deng found the bottom corner with a spectacular first-time volley.

Victory almost made it 4-1 in the 58th minute, George curling an effort against the post, before the winger had a goal ruled out for offside.

Both sides had their opportunities to finish the encounter as Victory saw out an important win, with Thomas making a couple of strong late saves.

Player in focus

Opta Widget: Troisi

Key moment

What they said – George

on the response…
"Last week was a difficult game against Perth, we didn't play well, but our reaction was perfect."

on being substituted…
"We have a very important game on Wednesday. We will fly on Monday, it will be a long flight there."

Result

Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Round 25
Melbourne Victory 3
(Leroy George 30', Besart Berisha 45+7' pen, Thomas Deng 51')
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Alvaro Cejudo 45+1')

Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk), Deng, Williams, Donachie, Broxham, Valeri (c) (Sanchez 82'), Antonis, Troisi, Barbarouses, Berisha (Ingham 75'), George (Theoharous 70')
Western Sydney Wanderers: Janjetovic (gk), Risdon, Hamill, Thwaite, Llorente, Kearyn Baccus (Carrusca 77'), Keanu Baccus, Lustica (Clisby 45'), Ikonomidis (Sotirio 67'), Riera, Cejudo

Yellow cards: Risdon 40', Thwaite 43'/45+3', Williams 87'
Red cards: Thwaite 45+3', Barbarouses 45+6'
Attendance: TBA
Venue: AAMI Park

Opta Widget: Stats

Next up

Victory makes the trip to Ulsan Hyundai for a crucial AFC Champions League clash on Wednesday.