Victory claim quality hit-out

Melbourne Victory has come away with a solid 2-1 victory over Bentleigh Greens in a competitive pre-season hit-out at Olympic Park on Tuesday night.

Melbourne Victory has come away with a solid 2-1 victory over Bentleigh Greens in a competitive pre-season hit-out at Olympic Park on Tuesday night.

Tom Pondeljak opened the scoring for Melbourne in the 21st minute before youngster Luke O'Dea produced the goods in his Victory debut, doubling the advantage with 15 minutes remaining.

The Victorian Premier League side didn't go down without a fight, however as Kurt Crnic pulled one back in the 85th minute before a brilliant save by Victory stopper Sebastian Mattei ensured that Crnic didn't give the Greens a draw late in the encounter.

From the outset, Pondeljak, the Joe Marston medal winner in Melbourne's 2009 grand final triumph over Adelaide United, appeared a real threat to the Greens' defence.

In the 14th minute a long-range effort by the Victory veteran was only denied by the cross bar, before a Matthew Foschini cross a minute later lead to a good clearance from the Bentleigh goalkeeper.

In the 20th minute, Victory stopper Mattei was forced into action for the first time, but the Victory immediately countered, taking the ball down the other end for Pondeljak to open the scoring, tapping the ball home from a goalmouth scramble.

Having gone behind, Bentleigh enjoyed a good period of possession as Adam Fadljevic nodded the ball wide and Dean Piemonte forced another great save from Mattei from a one-on-one.

The second half saw Victory lift their intensity once again as Costa Rican import Marvin Angulo showed his wares, forcing two saves from the Bentleigh stopper in a matter of minutes.

But while Angulo couldn't quite find the back of the net, O'Dea, recently signed to a National Youth League contract at the club, scored in the 75th minute after coming on as a second-half substitute.

There was still time for Bentleigh's Crnic to pull one back in the 85th minute from a good cross by Anthony Selemidis, while the pair combined three minutes later to create another chance, only to be denied by the rock-solid Mattei between the Melbourne sticks.

Melbourne Victory 2 (Pondeljak 21, O'Dea 75) Bentleigh Greens 1 (Crenich 85) Olympic Park, Melbourne