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Merrick delighted with gutsy Melbourne Victory win

Melbourne Victory have retained their place on the top of the A-League table after victory against Adelaide United at the Telstra Dome last night. The match was evenly poised when Victory's Brazilian import Ney Fabiano was sent off for misconduct in the 28th minute after a tussle with Reds defender Robert Cornthwaite.

Fabiano was said to have allegedly spat towards either Cornthwaite or referee Matthew Breeze who presented a straight red, stunning Fabiano and most of the 24,812 fans in attendance. He now faces a lengthy ban on the sidelines if the penalty Perth Glory's Dino Djulbic received for a similar incident is anything to go by.

However, the Victory did not hold back and play a defensive game, rather pushed forward on more occasions to try to clinch an unlikely goal.

It was an entertaining and at times spiteful match that produced numerous yellow cards and allegations of diving to win cheap free kicks.

Victory skipper and hard man Kevin Muscat scored the one and only goal of the high-energy contest after striker Archie Thompson was man handled in the area by Sasa Ognenovski and awarded a penalty.

Muscat stepped up to the spot, a place he has an affinity with after scoring 15 times in Victory colours from the same amount of attempts, but on this occasion was thwarted by former teammate Eugene Galekovic. But it was to be Melbourne's night as the ball bobbled from the keepers' hands and fell nicely for Muscat who followed up with ease and gave his side a handy advantage.

Adelaide played a free flowing brand of football throughout the match and were unlucky to score on a number of forward flurries with chances being squandered by veteran Paul Agostino and captain Travis Dodd but it wasn't to be and the Reds copped their first loss of the season, a disappointing result in the scheme of things.

Victory coach Ernie Merrick however was delighted with his team and told the Herald Sun, "I thought it was a terrific defensive performance. I just felt we played good football. There was certainly a good feeling in the dressing room at halftime.

"The boys didn't go out to play for a draw. Out of all our players, I couldn't pick a bad player."

Next week, the league leaders look to Gosford where they will come up against Central Coast whilst the Reds' run doesn't get any easier with an away fixture against second placed Sydney FC.

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Tribal Football Staff

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