Victory regains top spot

After trailing twice, Billy Celeski's first goal for Melbourne Victory has lifted his team to a famous 3-2 win over Adelaide United and top spot on the Hyundai A-League table in yet another action-packed clash between the rivals at Hindmarsh Stadium.

After trailing twice, Billy Celeski's first goal for Melbourne Victory has lifted his team to a famous 3-2 win over Adelaide United and top spot on the Hyundai A-League table in yet another action-packed clash between the rivals at Hindmarsh Stadium.

The Reds, who will travel to Japan next week for the first leg of their AFC Asian Champions League final against Gamba Osaka, took an 11-match unbeaten run at home into the game.

And while they twice led, 1-0 at half-time through a penalty to skipper Travis Dodd and then again with 23 minutes left when Cassio scored with a brilliant free kick from the edge of the box, they were unable to deny the gutsy Victory comeback.

Skipper Kevin Muscat converted twice from the spot, the first of them in the 55th minute the club's first score in 252 minutes and the second in the 81st minute, before Celeski made the most of a goal-mouth scramble in the 84th minute to pinch the winner. Danny Allsopp drew an early save from Mark Birighitti at one end and moments later Cristiano set up Cassio at the other end but after skipping past Muscat he curled his shot well past the left post.

A quiet period in which the teams tested each other out came to life in the 22nd minute when Michael Thwaite conceded a free kick to Cristiano 25m out but Cassio's shot didn't trouble Michael Theoklitos.

Minutes later Matthew Kemp played Tom Pondeljak into the box and with Birighitti advancing his shot was only denied by the right post, before in the 26th minute referee Matthew Breeze pointed to the spot when Cristiano tried to get around Vargas.

Dodd beat Theoklitos with his first attempt but had to retake the kick because Cristiano had moved too early, and Dodd again buried the shot, as this time Theoklitos dived the wrong way, to give the hosts the lead.

The momentum continued with Adelaide for the next 10 minutes or so, with Lucas Pantelis firing well over, before Vargas got his head to Celeski's free kick but couldn't direct the shot on target.

Moments after seeing yellow, Robert Cornthwaite had a free header but sent his shot wide, before Birighitti denied Allsopp in the 39th minute and then repeated the effort just before the break, with Sasa Ognenovski ensuring Pondeljak was unable to put away the loose ball.

Victory dominated the opening 20 minutes after the break, with Jose Luis Lopez' header from the edge of the six-yard box on 49 minutes blocked by Birighitti, who also saved the follow-up from the Costa Rican.

The visitors were duly rewarded with their first penalty as Vargas and Cristiano's roles were reversed, this time the Brazilian flattening Vargas, and Muscat stepped up and hit his spot kick straight down the middle to make it 1-1.

Muscat almost scored again minutes later when he volleyed on the turn just over the bar, but the game turned again just past the hour when Vargas brought Cristiano down on the edge of the box and Cassio did the rest with his superb free kick that left Theoklitos rooted to the spot.

In the 77th minute a Victory header from Celeski's corner was just cleared off the line by Kristian Sarkies, before Evan Berger skipped past Cornthwaite in the 80th minute and was brought down.

Muscat again made no mistake as he placed his shot down the middle to make it 2-2 and within three minutes Victory were suddenly and deservedly ahead when a scramble saw Celeski prod the ball home.

Allsopp's cross for Pondeljak was saved by Birighitti but Brebner's overhead kick fell for Celeski and after failing to control the ball with his first touch Celeski managed to poke his shot past Birighitti for the lead, the three points and top spot on the ladder.

Adelaide United 2 (Dodd 28p, Cassio 67') Melbourne Victory 3 (Muscat 55'p, 81'p, Celeski 84') Friday, 31 October 2008 Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide Referee: Matthew Breeze Crowd: 13,191

Adelaide United: 30.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.ALEMAO (25.Robert YOUNIS 85'), 4.Angelo COSTANZO, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 10.CRISTIANO, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Scott JAMIESON (8.Kristian SARKIES 75'), 15. Jonas SALLEY, 19.Sasa OGNENOVSKI Substitutes not used: 20.Lucas ANDREUCCI (gk), 5.Michael VALKANIS Yellow cards: Robert Cornthwaite (32'), Cristiano (54'), Travis Dodd (70') Red cards: Nil

Melbourne Victory: 1.Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3.Michael THWAITE, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK (18.Leigh BROXHAM 90+'), 17.Jose Luis LOPEZ (22.Nick WARD 69'), 19.Evan BERGER Substitutes not used: 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 24.Mathew THEODORE Yellow cards: Nil Red cards: Nil