Injury-time drama sees Victory and Wanderers share the spoils

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A dull 90 minutes was more than overshadowed by the final six, with a red card and two goals producing an all-time finish between Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday.

The match opened with a beautiful build-up via Nishan Velupillay, coupled with an equally gorgeous through-ball from Jake Brimmer, but Francesco Margiotta’s shot was ably stopped by Daniel Margush.

Margiotta was again played in by Velupillay not long later, but his shot, along with the follow-up from Jason Davidson, was once again deflected wide of the goal, this time by Ramy Najjarine.

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Unfortunately, the effort from Najjarine would be his last of the match, as an injury resulting from the play forced him out of the contest inside 10 minutes.

Velupillay’s run on the wing was proving problematic for the Wanderers defence, as he weaved his way past defenders to find his captain Josh Brillante, with his shot deflected for a corner.

After a dull 20-minute period with neither side registering a genuine chance, Marco Rojas very nearly kick-started the contest, his shot from outside the box only inches wide of the far post.

That opportunity did spark Tony Popovic’s men into action, as a lovely passage of play courtesy of Davidson and Margiotta very nearly saw Brimmer curl one into the top-right corner, but again it was not to be.

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The Wanderers finally managed to develop a positive step towards goal on the stroke of halftime, but Bernie Ibini was halted by an excellent sliding challenge from Roderick Miranda.

Victory again were the initiators in the second half, as Davidson’s shot from a short corner kick forced a diving save out of Margush in the 51st minute.

Margush upped himself minutes later, diving to save Geria’s initial strike, before producing a second save on Brimmer’s follow-up in by far the best individual moment of the match to that point.

Finally, it was the Wanderers turn to be the aggressors, as Steven Ugarkovic was played in, forcing Matthew Acton’s first tough save of the match.

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Despite putting James Troisi on his backside, Geria’s cross in the 75th minute was unable to produce the goods, as this game inched ever closer to being a 0-0 fizzler.

Victory thought they had a potential winner minutes later, but Brendan Hamill’s volley sprayed across the face of goal.

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Substitute Lleyton Brooks, seeing his first match in a long period of time, got in on the action in the 87th minute, but once again was not able to significantly bother the Wanderers keeper.

In a game relatively controversy-free, Miranda was given an early release to the showers in the 89th minute after VAR confirmed he went studs up into a challenge.

With Victory staring down the barrel of a disappointing draw, Davidson stepped up in the 91st minute. A quick corner routine sent him flying towards the near post, and an aggressive strike simply gave Margush no opportunity to save.

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Just as Melbourne thought they’d found the winner, the tide dramatically turned. A hand-ball from Hamill inside the box gave the Wanderers a penalty, and Ugarkovic made no mistake in equalising in the 96th minute.

A game almost drama-free to this point had transformed into one of the most jaw-dropping of the season.

A roller-coaster finish ultimately resulted in Victory remaining fourth on the ladder, yet without a win in their last four matches. Western Sydney continues their solid record against Victory with the draw, recording only one defeat in their last six matches against them.

Melbourne Victory: 1 (Davidson 90+1′)
Western Sydney Wanderers: 1 (Steven Ugarkovic 90+6′)

Stadium: AAMI Park

Referee: Shaun Evans

MELBOURNE VICTORY:

Matthew ACTON, Jason GERIA (Stefan NIGRO 84′), Brendan HAMILL, Roderick MIRANDA, Jason DAVIDSON, Josh BRILLANTE (Birkan KIRDAR 81′), Leigh BROXHAM (Rai MARCHAN 62′), Jake BRIMMER, Nishan VELUPILLAY (Chris IKONOMIDIS 62′), Francesco MARGIOTTA (Lleyton BROOKS 81′), Maro ROJAS

Unused Subs: Ivan KELAVA, Luis LAWRIE-LATTANZIO

WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS

Daniel MARGUSH, Thomas AQUILINA (Adama TRAORE 92′), Phillip CANCAR, Tomislav MRCELA, Tate RUSSELL, Steven UGARKOVIC, Keanu BACCUS, Terry ANTONIS (James TROISI 62′), Ramy NAJJARINE (Jarrod CARLUCCIO 11′), Bernie IBINI (Jack RODWELL 92′), Keijiro OGAWA

Unused Subs: Tomas MEJIAS, Ziggy GORDON, Alessandro LOPANE

Feature Image Credit: Steve Christos

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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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