Outplayed, yet Victory
Toivonen shows home side how to finish
THE cruelty of football was laid bare on the soaking turf of ANZ Stadium last night, as Western Sydney tasted another defeat, but one it really didn’t deserve.
Two goals for Swedish striker Ola Toivonen earned Melbourne Victory a 2-1 win over the Wanderers in a game the home side dominated.
After last week’s abject loss at home to Melbourne City, captain Brendan Hamill had demanded a reaction and he got one, in every manner bar the result.
Though the Wanderers slip further from the top six, this display suggested they can still earn a place in the finals.
Moving the ball with urgency and intent, Western Sydney set about Victory as if their lives depended on it — an analogy that in one or two cases might be true, for coach Markus Babbel has plans to reshape this squad.
Left back Raul Llorente paid the price for a hapless showing against City and in came 19-year-old right back Tate Russell to make a debut to remember, full of intelligent running and positivity.
Still, though, the home side misfired in converting the giltedged chances that came and went without the scoreline changing.
Alex Baumjohann’s elegant right foot was the creator in chief throughout, delivering crosses and set pieces that demanded conversion.
One free kick was headed back across goal by Patrick Ziegler but flicked over by Bruce Kamau, then Ziegler was presented with a free header from close range that he planted straight at Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas.
Perhaps most wasteful was Oriol Riera, meeting Baumjohann’s devilish cross with a 7062 at ANZ Stadium Jarred Gillett Janjetovic; Russell, Ziegler, Hamill, Elrich; Baccus, O’Doherty (Fitzgerald 71), Baumjohann; Kamau (Majok 71), Bonevacia, Riera. Thomas; Roux (Niedermeier 89), Deng, Broxham, Brown; Valeri, Hope (Akbari 60), Antonis (Baena 82); Troisi, Barbarouses; Toivonen. glanced header that went wide.
All of which made Victory’s first goal, right on halftime, even harder to stomach, though it illuminated the sheer quality in Kevin Muscat’s side.
The goal was all down to Toivonen’s movement — passing the ball inside to James Troisi and angling a run into the box to receive it straight back and finish clinically past Vedran Janjetovic.
For much of the second half the Wanderers probed without reward, until Baumjohanndrew in Storm Roux for a clumsy foul, and the German converted the penalty.
But as Babbel’s side pressed for a winner, they were caught on the break with four minutes left. Again Troisi was involved, surging into the box and squaring for the Swede to tap in.
Crowd: Referee: WANDERERS (4-3-3) VICTORY (4-3-2-1) The Wanderers’ Roly Bonevacia competes with Victory’s Storm Roux last night, while (inset) Victory players celebrate. Pictures: AAP