Victory seal spot in finals

Melbourne Victory has sealed their place in the Hyundai A-League finals series thanks to a 2-0 win over the Newcastle Jets at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

Melbourne Victory has sealed their place in the Hyundai A-League finals series thanks to a 2-0 win over the Newcastle Jets at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

The home side overcame a resolute Jets outfit thanks to strikes from Tom Pondeljak and Robbie Kruse within the space of 13 minutes during the second-half to secure a third successive win.

Seasoned campaigner Pondeljak illustrated his happy knack of scoring important goals when his 18-yard lob looped over Newcastle goalkeeper Ben Kennedy for Victory's first on 57 minutes.

The 35-year-old, best remembered by Victory fans for his winner in the 2008-09 grand final, was teed up by a jinking run from Mate Dugandzic around the edge of the box and hit the ball with the outside of his right foot past a despairing Kennedy.

Prior to the goal, Victory had struggled to break down a Jets line-up happy to sit inside deep their own half as the hosts dominated possession and field position.

But Pondeljak's second goal of the season opened the game up and when Newcastle midfielder Marcello Fiorentini was sent-off for a petulant late kick on Marvin Angulo four minutes later, Victory had a crucial man advantage.

They struck the decisive blow in the 70th minute thanks to a superb counter-attack that was completed in fine style by Kruse, in his first game back since the Asian Cup in Qatar.

Goalkeeper Michael Petkovic started the move with a long throw to Angulo who played a perfect ball which evaded a square Newcastle defence into Kruse's path.

The Qantas Socceroos striker did the rest producing a lethal finish that gave Kennedy no chance and quashed any hopes the Jets had of leaving the Victorian capital with a point.

In the absence of his fellow Costa Rican Carlos Hernandez, Angulo shone brightly in the centre of the park during one of his more impressive games for Victory.

Kruse worked hard in his return game to the club and earned an early mark from coach Ernie Merrick with seven minutes remaining on the clock.

Adrian Leijer filled the boots of Grant Brebner in the covering midfield role with aplomb, while Pondeljak and Matthew Kemp were excellent on the flanks.

The Victory also got minutes into youngsters Luke Pilkington and Matthew Foschini, and defender Petar Franjic continues to grow in stature with each passing game.

Melbourne Victory 2 (Pondeljak 57, Kruse 70) Newcastle Jets 0 Crowd: 11,296 at Etihad Stadium