Melbourne Victory’s Hyundai A-League preparations continued at AAMI Park on Thursday, with the boys in blue suffering a narrow 2-1 defeat at the hands of Adelaide United.
Melbourne Victory-s Hyundai A-League preparations continued at AAMI Park on Thursday, with the boys in blue suffering a narrow 2-1 defeat at the hands of Adelaide United.
An 83rd minute strike from Kosta Barbarouses wasn-t enough to cancel out goals from Jeronimo and Tarek Elrich, giving the Reds the pre-season honours.
Press play on the above video to see the goals and highlights from the match, plus hear from assistant coach Kevin Muscat.
But there were many positives that Melbourne could take from the evenly fought contest, playing an attacking and direct range of football that just lacked a finish in the final third.
New signing Pablo Contreras was another positive for the Victory, showing composure in defence, looking to play the ball out from the back and played his first full 90 minutes for Victory.
Captain Mark Milligan started on the bench in the build-up to the first game of the season, with James Troisi starting his first game for his new club.
The first half was a tightly contested affair as both sides fought for possession, with most of Melbourne Victory-s early attacks coming from Connor Pain on the left flank, but his deliveries were unable to meet a teammate.
Broxham was proving to be a creative spark in midfield, playing in a number of threating balls, and created a chance for new loan-signing Troisi, who looked to play the pass to Archie Thompson instead of attempting to shoot.
Adelaide also created a few chances, looking particularly dangerous in the air, with new signing Brent McGrath-s header narrowly tipped over the bar by keeper Nathan Coe.
And they were first to strike, as confusion in the Victory box led to a simple finish for Argentine Jeronimo, placing ball into the bottom right corner of the net.
Victory almost responded instantly when Pain played a delightful ball across the goal-mouth for Thompson, but his effort was parried away well by United ‘keeper Eugene Galekovic.
Coe was then called action again as he brilliantly tipped Steven Lustica-s 20 yard effort over the bar.
The second half saw Milligan and Gui Finkler - continuing his comeback after a long term injury lay-off - came on to get some minutes before the start of the A-League season.
Pain continued to be a menace and came closest in the second half, after placing his shot just past the post in a one-on-one against Red-s substitute ‘keeper John Hall.
Nick Ansell and Kosta Barbarouses also made substitute appearances later into the half, replacing Adrian Leijer and Troisi.
However, it was an Adelaide substitute that made an immediate impact, as Awer Mabil delivered a ball into the box that Victory defence did not deal with, and finished by Tarek Ilrich to double the Reds- lead in the 72nd minute.
Melbourne-s day looked to get worse when Milligan was forced to limp off 25 minutes into the second half with what looked to be a knee problem, but assistant coach Kevin Muscat later confirmed Milligan had only suffered a minor knock and was only taken off as a precaution.
Barbarouses then brought back some hope for a recovery in the 83rd minute, rounding Adelaide-s Hall after being played through by Thompson and neatly placing the ball into an empty net.
But it was only a consolation goal despite Melbourne-s best efforts to find an equaliser, as the Reds held on for a tightly-contested win.
Melbourne-s final hit-out of the pre-season will take place this Saturday, as the full squad takes part in the annual intra-club match at AAMI Park. Click here to find out more about Saturday-s free match.