Finkler fires Victory to win over Jets

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A Gui Finkler special gave Melbourne Victory a hard-fought 1-0 win over Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Saturday evening.

With the match destined to end scoreless, a Finkler free kick of the highest order just seven minutes from time ensured 2014 would end with a win for the Victory.

Victory were frustrated by a well drilled Jets side who looked more than happy from the opening whistle to leave this one with a draw.

The Jets sat back on Victory all evening, allowing them to push forward but handled any forward penetration with ease.

It was a dour, if not uneventful game of football until the Brazilian playmaker stepped up to take what proved to be the games defining event.

With the match reaching its end and Victory in a haste to get moving, striker Besart Berisha was fouled just inches short of the penalty box to win the foul that changed the game.

It was in the perfect spot for the Brazilian to do his thing as he sent in a ferocious curling shot to ‘keeper Ben Kennedy’s left that he had no chance of saving.

It was by no means Victory’s best performance of the year so far as the Jets did well to keep the home side’s potent attacking line relatively quiet all night.

Newcastle did well to keep Berisha’s impact on the game to a minimum as the Albanian barley had a sniff on goal all night.

The Jets closed down the striker whenever he got near the ball, neutralizing him to near spectator status.

Newcastle showed their hand early in regards to how they were to handle Berisha when Adrian Madaschi was shown a yellow in just the second minute with a crunching tackle on Berisha.

A dour game ensured after that with Victory unable to crack open a dogged Jets defence.

Fahid Ben Khallfallah continued his solid start to the season, standing out from the pack all night.

The French-born Tunisian was a standout all night and at one stage looked like the only player on the field.

The import came close to opening the scoring on numerous occasions, smashing the crossbar in the 55th minute just one of his many highlights for the evening.

His good work was slightly dampened when he needlessly received a yellow in the dying minutes of the match for time wasting which will see him miss the blockbuster top of the table clash against Perth Glory next weekend.

A nil-all result and have been more than a fair reflection on the contest.

Victory dominated proceedings while failing to impress majorly as Newcastle absorbed mountains of attacking pressure with a solid defensive display.

The Jets however weren’t counting on a bit of Finkler magic to be their downfall and deny them a valuable point on the road.

Despite leaving the game empty handed, the performance is undoubtedly a positive one for the Jets who are still trying to find their groove under new coach Phil Stubins and are desperately attempting to turn their season around and stay in the mix for a top-six finish.

The solid defence display will surely give the Jets confidence going for forward.

The win for Victory further outlines their championship potential, showing they have what it takes to dig in and find a way to win even though without reaching any real form.

It was the perfect way to bounce back from a disappointing derby loss last weekend and solid way to kick start what is a congested fixture list over the next two weeks, starting with that clash against the Glory in Geelong next Friday night.

Melbourne Victory starting XI: 1. Nathan COE (GK), 2. Jason GERIA, 4. Nick ANSELL, 6. Leigh BROXHAM (C), 7. Gui FINKLER, 8. Besart BERISHA, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 14. Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 16. Rashid MAHAZI, 21. Carl VALERI, 24. Scott GALLOWAY

Melbourne Victory substitutes: 20. Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 10. Archie THOMPSON, 11. Conner PAIN, 22. Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 23. Adrian LEIJER

Newcastle Jets starting XI: 20, Ben KENNEDY (GK), 2. Scott NEVILLE, 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6. Adrian MADASCHI, 8. Zenon CARAVELLA, 9. Joel GRIFFITHS (C), 11. Andrew HOOLE, 13. Edson MONTANO, 16. Jacob PEPPER, 17. James VIRGILI, 18. Allan WELSH

Newcastle Jets substitutes: 1. Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK), 7. JERONIMO, 12. Sam GALLAGHER, 19. Mitch COOPER, 23. David CARNEY

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