Wanderers collapse as Victory flourish

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Melbourne Victory opened their season with a 4-1 win over a hopeful Western Sydney Wanderers.

Victory from the outset were on their toes, chasing down what would be their first win from a Round One match since season two. It was a difficult task defensively for the Wanderers, who clearly have two eyes on the first leg of the Asian Champions League Final.

Coach Kevin Muscat opted for to start with a 4-4-3 and then switched to a 3-3-4 formation later in the second half, a set up that worked well for Victory. Berisha, Barbarouses, Broxham and Valeri impressed, with quick interplay and good use of the wings. In comparison Wanderers had little width and a square back line.

Barbarouses struck early in the third minute and almost left late arriver’s regretting not catching an earlier tram. Then Finkler’s free kick in the eighth found an unmarked Delpierre, who guided it into the back of the net to give Victory a one up goal advantage.

In the 17th minute Golec gave away a penalty, handballing inside the box from Berisha’s cross from the right. Berisha placed the ball perfectly in the bottom left corner, scoring his first official goal for Melbourne Victory. 2-0 to Victory in the 20th minute and it was beginning to look like they’d run away with the match.

Leigh Broxham then got on the scorecard, finishing a decent passage of play by blasting into the top left corner to make the score 3 – 0 to the home side.

Barbarouses continued to be active throughout the match, with his exceedingly fast sprints closing down the Wanderers on every occasion. Barbarouses almost extended the lead until he misplaced his foot and chipped the ball over the bar.

Wanderers finally got a foothold in the game when Mark Bridge scored just before halftime, but it was all Victory in the first half, a lead they’d only extend in the second.

Veteran striker Archie Thompson opened his goalscoring account for his 10th season in the A-League, showing he still has what it takes to play top-flight football in Australia.

Thompson cut through the Wanderers central defence and beat the ‘keeper, gliding the ball into the bottom left corner oh so casually.

Mateo Poljak will be disappointed with his 56th effort, going high and wide to sum up Western Sydney’s evening.

4-1 the final result in what was a spectacular opening of season 10 of the Hyundai A-League.

Melbourne Victory starting XI: Nathan Coe (GK), Jason Geria, Leigh BRoxam (c), Guilherme Finkler, Bersart Berisha, Kosta Barbarouses, Archie Thompson, Daniel Georgievski, Matthieu Delpierre, Carl Valeri, Adrian Leijer

Melbourne Victory subs: Connor Pain, Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Rashid Mahazi, Lawrence Thomas (GK), Jesse Makarounas

Western Sydney Wanderers starting XI: Ante Covic (GK), Shannon Cole, Daniel Mullen, Brendan Hamill, Antony Golec, Labinot Haliti, Mateo Poljak, Brendon Santalab, Kwabena Appiah-Kubi, Iacopa La Rocca, Mark Bridge (c)

Western Sydney Wanderers subs: Vitor Rodrigues Saba, Romeo Castelen, Dean Bouzanis (GK), Jason Trifiro, Alusine Fofanah

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