D’Agostino’s big first-half propels Victory past Macarthur

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A stellar first-half from Melbourne Victory’s Nick D’Agostino proved the difference in a 3-1 win against Macarthur FC in the A-League Men on Friday night.

Jason Geria’s yellow card inside five minutes would prove foreshadowing for the half ahead as he was whistled for tripping Apostolos Giannou.

Victory produced the first genuine chance of the match in the 11th minute as a D’Agostino header forced Filip Kurto into a brilliant save. Kurto was once again brought into action two minutes later to halt a Jake Brimmer run.

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A horrific miscue from Aleksandar Susnjar in the 20th minute opened the door for D’Agostino to fly down the left flank for a clean look at goal, and this time his aim was true. The fan favourite coolly placed his strike just inside the near post, with the Macarthur keeper no chance of stopping this one.

Brimmer found himself streaming towards goal in the 27th minute, only to be brought down by a questionable challenge, but referee Kurt Ams was unmoved. After an earlier heavy challenge by Adrian Mariappa went unpunished, there was plenty of resentment flowing from the Victory camp.

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Tempers reached boiling point moments later as D’Agostino was brought down by a sliding Kokola M’Mombwa, and for the third time Ams did not blow his whistle. Remonstrations from Jason Davidson as well as Leigh Broxham were directed towards both the official and their opponents.

In spite of their frustration, Victory were well on top in the contest, and who else to push their ascendancy than “Daggers”. A spillage from a free-kick contest found its way to him 16 yards from the goal, and he made no mistake in doubling his tally for the match in first-half stoppage time.

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Giannou whipped a bicycle kick out of absolutely nowhere subsequent to a Lachlan Rose free-kick to start the second half. Although the shot did not challenge Ivan Kelava in any serious way, it did represent Macarthur’s highlight for the contest to that point, perhaps something to build off.

Not on Victory’s watch though as a gorgeous build-up saw D’Agostino play in Josh Brillante, who found Marco Rojas for a tap-in. The one they call “Kiwi Messi” registered his first goal of the season in the 58th minute, and was brought off alongside D’Agostino in the 62nd to raucous applause from the Victory faithful.

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Victory substitute Ben Folami was dangerous from the moment he set foot on the park, finding Brimmer for a clean shot at goal in the 69th minute, the midfielders strike ultimately sailing over the crossbar.

Macarthur’s spirit seemed to have finally been broken, as a match that had once been so full of energy took a turn towards a much slower and grinded out pace, with few chances either way. Victory seemed perfectly content with this state of affairs, comfortable that they would be cementing their ladder position and putting themselves well within striking distance of Macarthur in third.

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This match did take one last twist though as Kelava muffed a simple save on two consecutive Macarthur forays. The first was relatively harmless, but the second opened the door for Giannou to slot the easiest of chances for Macarthur’s lone cause for celebration in the 90th minute.

The late conceded goal from Victory means they’ll have to settle for fifth place behind Adelaide United. For Macarthur, they find themselves just a solitary point above both Victory and the Reds in the standings, with two games ahead of them in the next week.

MELBOURNE VICTORY 3 (D’Agostino 20′, 45+2′, Rojas 58′)
MACARTHUR FC 1 (Giannou 90′)

AAMI Park

Referee: Kurt Ams

Melbourne Victory: Ivan KELAVA, Jason GERIA, Jason DAVIDSON, Leigh BROXHAM (Birkan KIRDAR 74′), Chris IKONOMIDIS (Nishan VELUPILLAY 74′), Josh BRILLANTE, Brendan HAMILL, Nicholas D’AGOSTINO (Francesco MARGIOTTA 62′), Roderick MIRANDA, Jake BRIMMER (Robbie KRUSE 82′), Marco ROJAS (Ben FOLAMI 62′)

Unused subs: Matthew ACTON, Stefan NIGRO

Macarthur FC: Filip KURTO, James MEREDITH (Aleksandar JOVANOVIC 45′), Ulises PLASCENCIA (Rory JORDAN 80′), Thomas OAR (Jordan MUTCH 59′), Aleksandar SUSNJAR, Craig NOONE (Al Hassan TOURE 45′), Liam ROSE (Moudi NAJJAR 71′), Adrian MARIAPPA, Kokola M’MOMBWA, Lachlan ROSE, Apostolos GIANNOU

Unused subs: Nicholas SUMAN, Michael RUHS

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Mitchell Turner
Mitchell Turner
Third Year Undergraduate Arts Student at Monash University (Journalism Major). Generic sports tragic living out my failed dreams of going pro vicariously through other people.

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