Melbourne Victory’s 4-1 rout over Central Coast Mariners was a dazzling display of football, the most convincing they’ve looked all season – so far.

Losing attacker Jai Ingham in the pre-match warm up, Kevin Muscat was forced to kick off with a 4-3-2-1 formation, the first time this season his side took out to the pitch without lining up in a 4-1-2-1-2.

Some might reason that it was a substandard and fallible Central Coast Victory were up against, while others point to the attacking impetus afforded to Keisuke Honda and colleagues in the compelled formation switch. But it hardly mattered to the Vuck faithful as Victory exemplified their dominance on a day where the scoreline did the talking.

“I thought we were really fluid, really dangerous, competed really well, and showed a great deal of desire,” Victory head coach Kevin Muscat said post match, adding that his side could have further widened the scoreline.

“Tremendous”, “exciting”, “disciplined”, “controlled”, “measured” were superlatives Muscat showered on his side, before catching a breath to emphasise on the fluidity and hunger showcased by the home side.

Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

Despite a rare error from the Victory backline, Thomas Deng still felt that his side’s was a “very good performance”.

“I thought we controlled the game very well, and created a lot of opportunities up front,” said Deng, the only Victory player to be called up (train-on player) to the Socceroos squad in the upcoming international break.

Terry Antonis shared Deng’s thoughts, explaining that if Victory were to replicate their first half performance in future matches, it would be “difficult for (other) teams”.

“With that front three, we’re very dangerous, and our backline have done very well tonight,” Antonis said.

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Victory’s first half performance in particular, proved the hosts’ worth as reigning champions. Their dismantling and utter dominance of a subpar Central Coast side was for once, not a result of a Terry Antonis long ranger, nor was it from magic conjured by a certain Japanese player.

Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

It was the successful culmination of patchy, incomplete teamwork elements observed in previous rounds that in the end, embodied a superior Victory side for most parts of the game.

The boys in dark blue operated across the pitch like a well-oiled machine, pinging passes into each other with purpose, sprucing up play by creating a multitude of chances, peppering Mariners’ goal with shot after shot; all whilst retaining the ball.

While Victory were unable to completely translate the outstanding points of their first half showing into more goals in the second half, it was more than sufficient to prevent the Mariners from mounting a late comeback effort.

“We certainly want to keep going down the path that we are at the moment and keep wanting to get better and keep working to get better,” Muscat said.

Having secured their first back to back wins in the 2018/19 A League, Muscat will now look on to face Sydney FC away on the 25th of November, not before a week long international break.

Squad training is expected to carry on at full strength next week, with Deng and Honda the only absentees. It is understood that Honda travelled immediately after the Mariners’ match to link up with the Cambodia camp, to take on Myanmar in the AFF Suzuki Cup at 10.30PM (AEDT) the very next day.

Perhaps Usain Bolt’s lengthy exchange with Muscat and his brief conversation with Victory players in the depths of the AAMI corridors could help make up the lack of numbers in training.

Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

Feature image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Journalism undergrad at Monash University, Kai is a multimedia journalist covering Melbourne Victory. Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund. Once "stole" Shinji Kagawa's plane ticket.