Melbourne Victory fielded an inexperienced line up against Shanghai SIPG where they won 2-1 at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Wednesday night.

Given the match was a dead rubber and Victory knew they weren’t going to make it to the round of 16 in the AFC Champions League, they had the chance to experiment with their starting team.

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Victory are on the eve of their A-League finals campaign which meant regular first-team members Kosta Barbarouses, Carl Valeri and Lawrence Thomas didn’t get game-time despite being named on the bench while Leroy George, Besart Berisha and James Troisi were also rested.

To outline Kevin Muscat’s policy in selection, he gave 16-year-old Birkan Kirdar his first run in the senior side for the final few minutes of the match as a late substitute.

A positive to come out of the night for Victory was not only the win, but an opportunity for those wanting to crack the starting 11 to prove their worth in a formation that was changed up by Muscat.

Kenny Athiu and Pierce Waring made their first starts for the club in a front two with Jai Ingham and Christian Theoharous out wide where they were given licence to express themselves. Josh Hope in midfield showed promising signs as someone who’s been on the cusp of selection.

The bonus was Waring who netted his first senior goal for Victory after working his way up from youth level and got a glimpse as to what it’s like at a higher standard.

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The 19-year-old spoke post-match about the learning curve for his career and a stepping stone for him moving forward.

“I’m really happy that the team won, it was great to be out there playing,” he said.

“The boss gave us every chance possible to go out there and play the way we did.

“He gave us all 100 per cent of his confidence before the game even though a lot of us haven’t played heaps of football this year.

“I thought we played really well, it was disappointing to concede the goal in the first half the way we did right towards the end but the group showed great character to score a second goal.”

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Liam Watson is covering Melbourne Victory this season while completing Media and Communications at La Trobe University.