February 16, 2013
Wanderers extend win streak to six
The A-League's form side Western Sydney have strengthened their hold on a top two berth with an impressive 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.
Iacopo La Rocca and Shinji Ono scored the Wanderers' goals as the visitors notched their sixth straight win - the best streak in the league this season - to move five points clear of the third-placed Victory.
It was the Victory's first home defeat since crosstown rivals Melbourne Heart downed them to open the season and their second straight loss, after falling to fourth-placed Adelaide United last weekend.
The Wanderers' win, in front of 21,638 fans including a noisy throng of their own supporters, was well-deserved.
They put the Victory under constant pressure, not letting the home side develop fluidity or freedom at any stage.
The Victory's speedy New Zealand attacker Marco Rojas, who has been in dazzling form this season, was given little room to move and with the injured Archie Thompson missing the Victory lacked inspiration.
La Rocca gave the visitors the lead in the 11th minute, after Ono sent a free kick from about 30m deep into the box and La Rocca showed poise in a goalmouth scramble to put it home.
While the Wanderers had two more dangerous attacking thrusts soon after, the Victory didn't look like scoring in the first half.
They showed a few positive signs early in the second.
Argentinian play-maker Marcos Flores forced Wanderers keeper Ante Covic into his first save of the match four minutes into the half.
Covic had to work even harder two minutes later, when a slick Flores pass allowed Rojas to penetrate deep and cross to the goalmouth, where Covic did well to block Andrew Nabbout's shot.
The Wanderers looked to have snuffed out Victory's rally when Ono pounced on a rebound to goal in the 72nd minute after Nathan Coe had parried a Youssouf Hersi shot.
Young Victory substitute Connor Pain gave his side a flicker of hope when he scored his first A-League goal on the counter-attack three minutes later but the home side couldn't fashion another.
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was delighted with the performance against a side of Victory's quality.
"They don't always match, performances and results, but we continue with a long run of games now where we've been performing well," Popovic said.
He made special mention of the throng of Wanderers fans who travelled for the game and were so vocal in support.
Victory coach Ange Postecoglou was in a dark mood post-match and reluctant to lavish much praise on the winners.
"They were okay. It was a tight game, they won," he said.
He angrily dismissed suggestions the Victory had blown their chance of finishing top.
"What do you expect me to say? That we're going to finish third," Postecoglou said.
"We're a football club that tries to win every game we play and if we win six in a row and the others drop six in a row we'll finish first."
|Melbourne Victory||Western Sydney FC|
|39 Nathan Coe||1 Ante Covic|
|5 Mark Milligan||5 Michael Beauchamp|
|23 Adrian Leijer||3 Adam D'Apuzzo|
|33 Daniel Mullen||4 Nikolai ToporStanley|
|13 Diogo Ferreira||18 Iacopo La Rocca|
|31 Scott Galloway||17 Youssouf Hersi|
|14 Billy Celeski||8 Mateo Poljak|
|6 Leigh Broxham||6 Jerome Polenz|
|11 Marcos Rojas||21 Shinji Ono|
|9 Marcos Flores||19 Mark Bridge|
|26 Andrew Nabbout||9 Dino Kresinger|
|1 Tando Velaphi||Jerrad Tyson 20|
|32 Connor Pain||Shannon Cole 2|
|8 Jonathan Bru||Labinot Haliti 7|
|17 James Jeggo||Aaron Mooy 10|
|18 Francesco Stella|
|James Jeggo for Daniel Mullen (65)||Aaron Mooy for Iacopo La Rocca (73)|
|Jonathan Bru for Andrew Nabbout (74)||Labinot Haliti for Youssouf Hersi (77)|
|Shannon Cole for Shinji Ono (86)|
|Nathan Coe (61)||Youssouf Hersi (58)|
|· Squads: Melbourne Victory | Western Sydney FC|