Kosta Barbarouses grabbed a brace and Besart Berisha added a seventh goal to his season tally as Melbourne Victory outclassed Western Sydney Wanderers in a 3-0 trouncing at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.

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An extremely tight contest panned out during the opening half between two clubs that have improved remarkably following rocky starts to the season.

Either side looked in contention to grab the opener as Carl Valeri linked up with Mark Milligan to produce a volley that sailed high only for the Wanderers to respond at the other end with Roly Bonevacia stinging the gloves of Matthew Acton from the edge of the box.

Melbourne Victory were the first to break the deadlock when a long ball from Besart Berisha sent Kosta Barbarouses into a footrace with Raul Llorente down the right flank.

Barbarouses beat the Spaniard to the ball before displaying a touch of composure as he  cut calmly to his right before sliding his shot past Janjetovic at the far post.

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On the stroke of half time Oriol Riera nearly claimed the equaliser but his volley rattled off the crossbar ensuring Melbourne Victory ended the half on top.

Riera again came agonizingly close to equalizing just moments into the second half but was flagged offside for his close range finish.

The pressure of being on the back foot seemed to mount for the Wanderers as they began to appear more disjointed than their opponents as the half progressed.

If not for a frantic effort from Janjetovic who threw his body in the way Besart Berisha would have surely put away his volley from in close.

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The formidable striker did eventually manage to pile on the misery for the Wanderers in the 68th minute after linking up with Leroy George in a well formed counter attack.

George surged forward through the middle before a touch of flashy footwork saw him cut back behind Jack Clisby and Raul Llorente to then supply Berisha who blasted it home to extend the lead for the visitors.

Substitute Lachlan Scott managed to glance a header over the bar while Chris Herd gathered a loose ball following a corner scramble but Rhys Williams and Leigh Broxham remained steadfast at the rearguard for Victory.

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In the final minutes of the game Kosta Barbarouses put the final nail in the coffin when he rounded off the game with his long range strike and earned himself a brace in doing so.

The winger floated at the edge of the area uncontested by any of the Wanderers defence and took his time to line up an impressive strike which seared into the top left corner.

The win ensures Kevin Muscat’s men have closed the gap on cross town rivals Melbourne City with the two teams now level in third spot.

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Western Sydney Wanderers 0

Melbourne Victory 3 (Kosta Barbarouses 36′, 90+2′, Besart Berisha 68′)

ANZ Stadium (11,864)

Referee: Adam Kersey

Assistant Referees: James Tesoriero & Andrej Giev

VAR: Matthew Cheeseman

Western Sydney Wanderers FC: 20. JANJETOVIC Vedran (gk), 3. CLISBY Jack, 4. RISDON Joshua, 6. CARRUSCA Marcelo, (11.SANTALAB Brendon 73′) 7. LUSTICA Steven, (23. SCOTT Lachlan 63′) 8. BONEVACIA Rolieny (15. BACCUS Kearyn 73′), 9. RIERA Oriol, 19. BRIDGE Mark (c), 24. LLORENTE Raul, 25. HERD Christopher, 33. THWAITE Michael

Substitutes:35. MOURDOUKOUTAS Tass, 40. SUMAN Nicholas (gk)

Melbourne Victory: 1. ACTON Matthew (gk), 2. GERIA Jason, 4. WILLIAMS Rhys, 5. MILLIGAN Mark, 6. BROXHAM Leigh, 8. BERISHA Besart, 9. BARBAROUSES Kosta, 21. VALERI Carl (c), 22. NIGRO Stefan, 24. ANTONIS Terry, 41. GEORGE Leroy

Substitutes: 14. DENG Thomas, 18. SANCHEZ Matias, 23. INGHAM Jai, 31. THEOHAROUS Christian, 40. SUTTON Matthew (gk)

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Second year bachelor of Journalism student at the University of Wollongong. Aspiring Journalist, looking forward to the coming season!