Controversy, cracking goals and sending offs all occurred in a sensational matchup between Melbourne Victory and the Western Sydney Wanderers.
AAMI Park played host to a match that had huge ramifications for both teams in the lead up to finals football.
Whilst Melbourne are closer to assuring a place in the top four come end of the season, the Wanderers were pushed down to seventh place as a result of Brisbane Roar’s tight win over the Central Coast Mariners, leaving them with a deciding game against Brisbane next week.
In the opening exchanges it was the Wanderers who started off on the front foot, intensely chasing Victory all around the pitch. The match was fiercely contested from the offset, with neither team having time on the ball. Quick movement and urgency on the ball typified both teams’ efforts.
It was Victory’s star man, Leroy George, adept in a dead ball situation, whom changed the game with a deflected free kick finding its way past a stranded Vedran Janjetovic.
Doubts of the Wanderers’ lack of chemistry with their manager were arguably subsided as they celebrated with the enigmatic Spaniard Gombau following Cejudo’s magical finish.
A red card to Michael Thwaite at the end of the first half resulted in a Melbourne penalty, a moment which was delayed by utter confusion due to an additional red card being handed to Kosta Barbarouses for a stamp on the foot of Keanu Baccus.
The second half began as 10 Vs 10 on the pitch but the final result favoured the Victory who ran out 3-1 winners, the major separation between the sides being Victory’s superior finishing on the night, most prominently through Thomas Deng who unleashed one of the strikes of the season.
Lawrence Thomas — 6
Stayed measured against the Wanderers’ opening barrage of intensity but was caught out by a fantastic chip from Cejudo. Anticipated the Wanderers’ ventures forward well for the remainder of the match.
Thomas Deng — 7
Found it tough contending with the combinations of Llorente and Cejudo as the Wanderers came out ruthlessly in executing their high pressure game. Came in to the match as the Victory upped their game. His finest moment of the match came when he scored without a doubt one of the goals of the season, as Antonis picked him out unmarked resulting in a first time scorching volley past Janjetovic.
Jamie Donachie — 6.5
Turned over the ball poorly at times as the Wanderers heaped pressure on him in the first half. Entrenched himself in the fixture to prevent the Wanderers from manufacturing a way back in to the match.
Rhys Williams — 7.5
Contested intelligently as the Wanderers tried to play the ball in to Riera, keeping the Spanish marquee quiet for much of the night.
Leigh Broxham — 5
Outplayed by the skilful Ikonomidis throughout the night, but was never deterred to venture forward.