Melbourne Victory were able to hold off the Newcastle Jets for a thrilling 3-2 victory at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Both teams had to change their defense due to injuries and a tight schedule and that allowed both teams to be more open, which lead to an exciting opening ten minutes in the match.
Newcastle’s best early chance came in the 17th minute as James Virgili crossed for Craig Goodwin who sent his header over the bar.
Victory responded one minute later as Marco Rojas sent in a cross that was deflected by Dominik Ritter in to the path of Archie Thompson whose shot was well saved by Mark Birighitti.
Newcastle, to their credit, kept attacking but the Victory defense was looking strong and stopping everything that came at them which allowed Victory to take control of the match.
In the 25th minute the Victory fans were baying for blood after some good team work put Rojas through only for him to be brought down by Sam Galloway as he burst through the defense, the fans were left disappointed as Kris Griffiths-Jones only showed a yellow card after consulting his assistant.
It was only a matter of time before Victory would find an opener and it came through a free-kick as the ball found Rojas who got around Galloway and hit a powerful shot that left Birighitti with no chance.
Just when it looked like that would be all for the half Billy Celeski and Rojas linked up well to set up Archie Thompson in space allowing him to score easily and make it 2-0 at the break.
The Jets got off to a good start in the second half as Emile Heskey flicked the ball on for Virgili whose header looked destined for the net but was cleared off the line by Leigh Broxham.
The Jets continued to push for a goal and finally got it in the 64th minute as Ruben Zadkovic hit a powerful strike from distance that came off the inside of the post and in to the back of the net.
In the 73rd minute the Jets got level as Heskey made Victory pay for failing to clear as he tapped home to easily level the scores.
But that joy was short lived as Melbourne Victory reclaimed their lead just one minute later as Gui Finkler and Marcos Flores worked the ball in to the area allowing Rojas to volley home powerfully.
Victory had two opportunities late on to put it to bed with Andrew Nabbout shooting over the bar while Thompson couldn’t beat Birighitti but it mattered little as Melbourne Victory held on for a 3-2 victory.
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