Western United edge past Melbourne Victory despite seeing red

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Down to 10 men, but still too strong. Western United secured a 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Boxing Day.

After a violent pitch invasion saw the Melbourne Derby suspended, Melbourne Victory’s first A-League Men game back ended in defeat.

The first half of the game began at a high intensity. Challenges came from both sides as each team looked to set the tone of the game.

The chances, however, started flowing after 20 minutes.

The first real opportunity fell to Nicholas D’Agostino when he was played in behind after 22 minutes. But his shot flew wide of the post despite generating plenty of power.

Bruno Fornaroli came even closer 10 minutes later when he fired from range, but the shot was off target again.

The first significant incident arose in the 32nd minute when United was reduced to 10 men after Western centre-back Nikolai Topor-Stanley was shown a red card for a dangerous challenge on Chris Ikonomidis.

But United weren’t to be denied and, despite the disadvantage, they took the lead just before the break.

A deep corner from James Troisi evaded everyone in the middle of the box and found Risdon waiting at the back post to leap and nod home a goal, sending the Green and Black into half-time with a 1-0 lead.

Tony Popovic’s side headed into half-time a goal down but knowing they had a player advantage.

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In the second half of the game, Melbourne Victory started strongly, dominating possession and territory.

But a superb run down the left by Ben Garuccio earned United a free-kick. Troisi nearly had the game’s crowning moment as he fired a spectacular waist-high volley but the ball thundered against the post before Victory cleared their lines.

Throughout the second half, Victory exhausted their attacking options. Ben Folami, Will Wilson and Nishan Velupillay were all brought on in an attempt to break down Western’s defensive backline.

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In the closing 20 minutes of the match, Victory continued to creep further forward and hold longer spells of possession, pinning United into its defensive structure.

The Green and Black repelled several balls into the box, but Victory persisted and had two huge chances to steal a point late.

In the 87th minute, the first fell to substitute Stefan Nigro, who lashed a half-volley over the bar with the goal gaping, and the second drew an outstanding save from Jamie Young as D’Agostino looked set to score with a close-range header.

In the end, United held firm at the back to secure a 1-0 victory and all three points.

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Western United 1 (Josh Risdon)

Melbourne Victory 0

Stadium: AAMI Park, Melbourne

Referee: Tim Danaskos

Assistance Referrers: Wilson Brown & Daniel Illievski

Fourth Officials: Jonathon Barreiro

Western United squad: Jamie Young (gk), Tomoki Imai, Tongo Doumbia, Lachlan Wales, Connor Pain, James Troisi,  Ben Garuccio,  Josh Risdon, (c),  Nikolai Topor-Stanley,  Neil Kilkenny, Aleksandar Prijovic.

Subs: Alessandro Diamanti, Nicolas Milanovic, Jacob Tratt,  Rhys Bozinovski.

Unused subs: Noah Botic, Ryan Scott (gk),  Dylan Pierias.

Melbourne Victory:  Jason Geria, Rai Marchan, Leigh Broxham, Chris Ikonomidis, Josh Brillante, Bruno Fornaroli, Geroge Timotheou, Nick D’Agostino, Paul Izzo (gk),  Jake Brimmer, Enrique Lopez.

Subs: Ben Folami, Stefan Nigro, Jay Barnett, Will Wilson, Nishan Velupillay.

Unused Subs: Matt Acton (gk), Matthew Bozinovski.

Feature Image Credit: Western United

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Edith Yankuba
Edith Yankubahttps://www.afroaussiesandsuccess.com
A curious journalism student seeking knowledge from the world via stories and all things football. Covering the 2022/2023 A-League season for Western Sydney Wanderers and the Central Coast Mariners.

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