Carlos Salvachúa has his first win as Melbourne Victory boss under his belt after his new side downed Indonesia club Bali United 5-0 in AFC Champions League action on Tuesday night.
Forcing their way into the game – perhaps even gaining the ascendency for a very brief period – Platje had two golden chances to bring the game level;in the 27th and 30th minute before Victory, completely failing to apply any defensive pressure, allowed Paulo Sergio Goncalves to waltz down the middle of the field and fired a long-range shot that forced a save from Thomas in the 35th minute.
It was followed a minute later by big centre back Willian Pacheco putting a backheeled effort wide from close range.
However, Hope’s 37th minute strike after the Tasmanian was found by Kruse inside the six-yard-box served to let the air out of Bali’s balloon – the side in white failing to truly threaten an upset the rest of the contest.
When Anthony Lesiotis combined with Kamsoba on his way to the byline and set up Kruse for the third it was all over red rover and Toivonen put the cherry on the sundae in the 81st minute when he, with an almost disdainful air, lofted a half-volleyed effort into the back of the net from the corner of the penalty area following a failed clearance.
Comfortable, but not dominant.
As expected, Victory started Tuesday evening’s contest with a bang. Carlos Salvachúa’s side ran wild as they produced chance after chance after chance that, somehow, only produced a single goal in the opening twenty minutes.
However, Bali United’s brief revival was able to send a few scares through the Victory’s defensive ranks, who were perhaps fortunate that Platje didn’t have his shooting boots on.
“Every time we had a chance, we failed to convert it into the goal,” Bali United Head Coach Emral Abus said via a translator post-game. “When Victory had a chance they were able to score a goal.
“Platje did not play well, he was not playing as well as he did in Singapore. The defenders from Victory did a very good job in marking him.”
Any equaliser that the Indonesians would have found in that stretch would not have been completely against the run of play
Of course, Hope’s 37th minute served to snuff out the danger of the comeback and Bali – who had only played a single game in the past month – began to run out of legs as the second half wound down.
Tuesday’s performance was a passing grade for Victory, but not the thumping one it could have been.