Melbourne Victory have eased to a 6-2 win over Perth Glory at Etihad Stadium tonight thanks to a Robbie Kruse hatrick. Led by a Robbie Kruse hat-trick, the 2009/10 A-League champions scored four of their goals in the first half and had to withstand a barrage from their visitors, Perth Glory, but managed to grab all three points after two losses in a row.
Melbourne Victory: 6 (Archie Thompson '5, Robbie Kruse '12, '26, '40, Kevin Muscat (p) '81, Carlos Hernandez '83) Perth Glory: 2 (Rodrigo Vargas (og) '20, Mile Sterjovski '52) Venue: Etihad Stadium Crowd: 20,448
The home side got off to the perfect start when the A-League's all-time leading goalscorer Archie Thompson netted in the fifth minute to give his side the ascendency for the first time in three matches.
The Glory defence had open holes and it was shown when Robbie Kruse was played in 12 minutes into the contest and the former Brisbane Roar striker managed to get the ball past Glory keeper Tando Velaphi to record his sides second goal and give the Victory a solid chance of taking the three points.
Perth managed to get one back when a corner was swung into the area but unfortunately for the Victory, goalkeeper Mitch Langerak missed the ball and the deflection off veteran Glory striker Jamie Harnwell bounced in off Melbourne defender Rodrigo Vargas, enabling the visitors to get themselves back into the contest.
Then, just over five minutes later, the Victory conjured one of the best team goals of the season when Nicky Ward played a long, speculative ball to Thompson who flicked on a brilliant volley into the path of Tom Pondeljak who then provided a perfect cross for Kruse to tap in his second and make it 3-1.
The visitors were pushing hard to get back into the match and substituted their best defender Chris Coyne but it was only a minute later when Kruse latched on to his hat-trick when his brother Jamie Coyne completely mishit a clearance and the Victory goal poacher was on hand to control the ball then finish comfortably past Velaphi for a 4-1 scoreline. It was the first trio of goals for a player for the Victory since Thompson netted five in the 2006/07 A-League final when they demolished Adelaide United 6-0.
There was not much left in the half and the Victory took a well-deserved three-goal lead into the break, making their intentions on reeling in the top-two very clear.
Melbourne were intent on a big win and were finding gaping holes in the Glory defence but it was a hole of their own that got capitalised on when Mile Sterjovski made a solo run from about the half-way mark then tucked a left-foot shot from outside the area past Victory keeper Langerak to make it 4-2.
Both sides were threatening in the second term with the Victory looking more ominous as they had done for the almost the entire proceeding and it should have been 5-2 in the 69th minute but Costa Rican midfielder Carlos Hernandez struck his shot from inside the area over the crossbar in a moment of fortune for the Glory.
Just over ten minutes from time, the Victory stormed forward led by substitute Marvin Angulo, who played in compatriot Hernandez but Thompson managed to nick the ball in the areaand that's when Perth's Jacob Burns brought the Socceroo down and referee Strebre Delovski awarded a spot-kick to the home side which skipper Kevin Muscat duly put away.
Moments later, the Victory had a sixth when Thompson and Angulo combined with the latter setting up Hernandez for the easiest of finishes, piercing another hole in the Glory defence.
There was little other action in the match as the reigning champions shot their way back to second on the table whilst the Glory remained in sixth position but with work to do to finish in the play-offs.