Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Melbourne Victory two points ahead of second-placed Sydney FC

Melbourne Victory again took over top spot on the A-League ladder with a comfortable 4-0 win over Wellington Phoenix this Australia Day evening at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.

Melbourne are now two points ahead of second-placed Sydney FC, while sixth-ranked Wellington are four points in front of seventh-ranked Central Coast Mariners and two points adrift of fifth-placed Perth Glory.

The roof was left open at the stadium and the re-laid 120-yard pitch was in excellent condition.

Melbourne gave an indication of their intentions as early as the 11th minute when Rodrigo Vargas headed Leigh Broxham’s free-kick from the left against the crossbar.

The ball rebounded to Archie Thompson, whose shot was saved by Liam Reddy.

Wellington hit back three minutes later as Tim Brown fired just wide in a rare counter-attack by the visitors from across the Tasman.

The home side took the lead in the 16th minute through an own-goal by Brown.

Ben Sigmund fouled Thompson wide on the left and Carlos Hernandez’s free-kick glanced off the head of Brown and over Reddy and into the roof of the net.

Wellington had their second chance two minutes later, but Paul Ifill drilled his left-footed shot high and wide.

Ifill had another chance in the 21st minute when he beat Kevin Muscat and cut inside, but keeper Mitch Langerak got down to the ball and saved comfortably.

Langerak pulled off a fine save in the 38th minute after Eugene Dadi had put Brown through the home defence.

Five minutes after the resumption, Melbourne increased their lead with a beautifully contrived goal.

Marvin Angulo dispossessed Ifill deep in the Melbourne half and released Thompson, who outpaced Jon McKain down the middle before beating Reddy with a low shot with the outside of his right foot from 11 metres.

In the 65th minute it was 3-0. Robbie Kruse broke down the right and, with Muscat also charging forward as a decoy against an outnumbered Phoenix defence, Kruse played a delightful ball across the box to Hernandez on the far side and the Costa Rican side-footed his shot to the left of Reddy and into the far corner of the net.

Wellington still had some sting in their tail, however, and in the 69th minute Diego shot narrowly over the bar from 20 metres.

Matthew Kemp wrapped up the match with the fourth goal three minutes from the end after a clever back-heel by Nick Ward left him with only the keeper to beat.

Thompson’s goal was his 10th of the season and his 48th overall in the A-League.

The attendance was 18,819.

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