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Gold Coast send message to league with win over Melbourne

Gold Coast United have sent a message to the rest of the league with a solid 1-0 win over league leaders Melbourne Victory. A slightly undermanned Victory were run ragged by United who moved equal on points with their opponents and into second place on goal difference.

Gold Coast United: 1 (Zenon Caravella '76) Melbourne Victory: 0 Venue: Skilled Park Crowd: 7,429

In an end-to-end start, Gold Coast United almost went ahead in the second minute of the game with a good counter-attacking move after Melbourne went forward early but goalkeeper Mitch Langerak was on hand to tip Zenon Caravella's shot over the bar after some good build up play from Shane Smeltz.

The Victory were without leading striker Archie Thompson and they also took a blow half-way through the first term when Robbie Kruse was up-ended by former Melbourne defender Steve Pantelidis which caused agreat deal of pain to Kruse's right shoulder as well as a lengthy stoppage.

The visitors seemed somewhat toothless up forward at times and almost found themselves down when Caravella nipped one forward for Joel Porter but Langerak was again in the right spot to thwart the shot.

Moments later, the young stopper was at it again when another former Victory player, Michael Thwaite, let fly with a left foot but it was knocked away to safety.

On the half-four mark, Kruse could not go and had to be substituted for Scottish midfielder Grant Brebner which was another blow for Ernie Merrick's forward third.

The rain came down towards the end of the half and after four minutes injury time, scores were still 0-0.

Moments after the re-start, Gold Coast again went agonisingly close, this time from a long range Smeltz free-kick that whizzed inches past Langerak's upright.

On 56 minutes, it was Langerak yet again who saved the Victory when United skipper Jason Culina found plenty of space outside the area and worked his way into the box but his powerful shot was body blocked by the keeper and the visitors were somehow still in the contest.

Gold Coast finally got their reward in the 76th minute when a short corner fell to Caravella outside the area and whipped it into the back of the net past a helpless Langerak who had been so good all night.

The match lifted a notch after the goal as the Victory attempted to get back on level terms but they could not find any inspiration up forward and walked away with a defeat.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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