The Grand Final rematch did not recreate good memories for the Sky Blues who went down 3-0 to the Victory and remain strapped to the foot of the A-League table with no wins after ten matches.
Carlos Hernandez ran riot in midfield for the Victory as he gave the competition a strong reminder of what he is capable of with a sterling performance. He nodded home the Victory’s second goal after his earlier free-kick found the head of Roddy Vargas, allowing Melbourne to cruise to a 2-0 win in front of 17,229 fans at Etihad Stadium.
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Referee: Ben Williams
Yellow cards: MV - Billy Celeski 58’
SYD - Scott Jamieson 90’
The Victory were making their presence felt with most of the early running and should have hit the front in the 10th minute when Carlos Hernandez struck the underside of the crossbar after Sydney’s Sung-Hwan Byun failed to properly clear a Robbie Kruse cross.
The visitors then countered quickly but were denied by Michael Petkovic who had positioned himself perfectly to parry away an Alex Brosque strike.
The opening 20 minutes showed much more action compared to recent Victory matches and their solid start was rewarded GOAL when Hernandez sent a free-kick into the area for defender Roddy Vargas to glance home a header despite the best efforts of Sydney keeper Liam Reddy.
Straight away, things looked even more comfortable for the Victory who seemed to be advancing forward with relative ease but the Sky Blues rallied and managed to get back into the game by controlling the ball more in midfield.
Melbourne’s Hernandez was looking more like the player who won the Johnny Warren medal last season with some lovely supply for his strikers from the centre of the park but he was unable to conjure a second goal in the opening 45 minutes with Ricardinho coming inches away after the Costa Rican played him through just before the break.
GOAL Soon after the re-start, the Victory were 2-0 ahead when Hernandez netted his first goal of the season and his first Victory goal since February 18 when he found space in the box to head home unmarked from a floating Tom Pondeljak ball, giving Reddy no chance in goals for Sydney.
The Victory were definitely in the mood and could have easily gone three ahead just before the hour-mark when Hernandez, who was back in red hot touch, found Ricardinho with a searching ball but the Brazilian’s shot was smothered by Reddy who, this time, managed to keep out the home side’s forward foray.
The game started to lose its intensity as the second half went on with Melbourne seemingly happy with their lead whilst Sydney were at rock-bottom and were finding it extremely difficult to create any real chances of note.
Again it was close to being 3-0 when Billy Celeski’s 81st minute corner found Vargas at the back post but the centre-half’s header flew over the bar, denying him a rare double, but they finally got their third GOAL a minute from regular time when Tom Pondeljak’s long ball found Kruse in space allowing the striker to take it all the way into the area before dribbling past Reddy to send his side momentarily fourth on the table with three more games to be played this weekend.
Michael Petkovic (gk), Kevin Muscat, Mate Dugandzic (Kellaway 65’), Grant Brebner, Ricardinho (Broxham 69’), Roddy Vargas, Billy Celeski (Angulo 88’), Tom Pondeljak, Carlos Hernandez, Robbie Kruse, Adrian Leijer
Subs - Sebastian Mattei (gk), Leigh Broxham (69’), Marvin Angulo (88’), Geoff Kellaway (65’)
Liam Reddy (gk), Seb Ryall, Stephan Keller, Hiro Moriyasu, Stuart Musialik (Carle 51’), Bruno Cazarine, Shannon Cole, Alex Brosque, Terry McFlynn, Mark Bridge, Sung-Hwan Byun (Jamieson 78’)
Subs - Ivan Necevski (gk), Hayden Foxe, Nick Carle (51’), Scott Jamieson (78’)