George stars in late win for Victory

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Slippery surfaces didn’t hinder excitement in Saturday night’s A-League fixture as Melbourne Victory notched a second home win for the season with a 3-2 result over Perth Glory.

Victory had to come back twice to eventually win the game in the final minute of regulation time when Kosta Barbarouses threaded home a goal in the 90th minute, also completing a hat-trick of assists for Leroy George.

The home team trailed after 73 seconds when defender Scott Neville rose to head home the opener from a Walter Scott cross – the 18-year-old making his starting debut for Perth Glory at left-back.

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The goal didn’t rattle the Victory who settled into a rhythm of possession throughout the first half and crafted a collection of chances, primarily through Barbarouses on the right wing to target Scott.

Despite Victory’s heavy possession, their equaliser in fact came from a Perth Glory error when Diego Castro turned the ball over in midfield, leaving George and Besart Berisha to exchange passes before James Troisi slotted the ball home after Liam Reddy’s initial parry.

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Perth were defensive all the way to half-time and allowed Victory the ball, waiting to make their move once the home side got too close, but this strategy fragmented not long after the equaliser when again the Victory broke free on the counter through George; Scott was on hand to put in a vital touch and snuff the attack.

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The action kept rolling and the Glory could’ve taken the lead in the 31st minute but for a brilliant save from stand-in goalkeeper Matt Acton, diving low to his right and spectacularly saving Adam Taggart’s shot from close quarters after Castro had split the left half of Victory’s defence – Stefan Nigro and Mark Milligan – to help set the opportunity.

Melbourne took the lead immediately after half-time when Milligan was on hand to side-foot home their second goal from George’s free-kick; the Dutchman skipped in a low ball from the right and Milligan made the run at the front post.

It would seem Melbourne would hold on to claim a home victory but both teams increased the frequency of their opportunities as the half grew old.

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In the 83rd minute, a long seeking ball over the top from Andreu in deep midfield suddenly puts Castro in on goal and – seeing Acton dashing off his line – the Spaniard breezily lofted the ball over the goalkeeper.

Victory wanted the win and – after a misfire from Berisha in front of goal when his unseen handball bounces agonizingly off the base of the post – they would get it in the 90th minute through Barbarouses’ sliding it across the face of Liam Reddy’s goal, making it 3-2 and solidifying their place in the top half of the table.

Leigh Broxham celebrated his 250th appearance for Melbourne Victory with a substitute appearance in the 72nd minute, becoming the first A-League player to reach the milestone as a one-club footballer.

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Melbourne Victory 3 (Troisi 27′, Milligan 47′, Barbarouses 90′)
Perth Glory 2 (Neville 2′, Castro 83′)

AAMI Park, Melbourne (Crowd: 14,332)

Referee: Shaun EVANS

Melbourne Victory
1. ACTON Matt (GK), 2. GERIA Jason, 3. DJULBIC Dino (6. BROXHAM Leigh 72′), 5. MILLIGAN Mark, 8. BERISHA Besart, 9. BARBAROUSES Kosta, 10. TROISI James (31. THEOHAROUS Christian 80′), 21. VALERI Carl (c), 22. NIGRO Stefan, 24. ANTONIS Terry, 41. GEORGE Leroy (18. SANCHEZ Mattias 90+4′)

Unused substitutes: 40. SUTTON Matthew, 23. INGHAM Jai

Perth Glory
33. REDDY Liam (GK), 2. GRANT Alex, 8. TORRES Xavi, 9. KEOGH Andy (c), 17. CASTRO Diego, 19. ANDREU, 22. TAGGART Adam (6. NICHOLS Mitch 57′), 23. NEVILLE Scott (4. LOWRY Shane 79′), 26. ITALIANO Jacob (14. HAROLD Chris 79′), 29. WALKER Jeremy, 37. SCOTT Walter

Unused substitutes: 13. FEELY Nick (GK), 3. WARREN Marc

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