Sunday, April 21, 2019

A-League Review: Melbourne Victory edge Sydney in ´Big Blue´, Perth Glory leave it late

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 25 Nov 2018

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Ola Toivonen scored on his first A-League start for Melbourne Victory as a Keisuke Honda penalty sealed a 2-1 win over rivals Sydney in Sunday’s ‘Big Blue’, while leaders Perth Glory beat Central Coast Mariners late on to go four points clear.

Sydney – table-toppers at the end of the 2017-18 regular season – welcomed the Grand Final champions looking to avenge their defeat in last April’s play-off semi-finals, but Victory left Jubilee Stadium triumphant once again.

The early exchanges were even before Victory edged ahead in the 23rd minute – Toivonen finding the bottom-right corner from the edge of the box following good play by James Troisi.

Sydney levelled just after the half-hour mark, as Terry Antonis felled Paulo Retre in the box and Adam Le Fondre scored on the rebound after seeing his initial penalty saved.

The second spot-kick of the match ultimately settled the contest.

Honda was sent tumbling by Jop van der Linden and the Japanese midfielder converted to seal the points and inflict a first defeat of the season on Sydney.

In the day’s later kick-off, rock-bottom Mariners could not hold on to what would have been a commendable point away to Glory.

A Tomislav Mrcela own goal nine minutes before the break cancelled out Christopher Ikonomidis’ well-worked Glory opener.

Shane Lowry put Glory ahead again in the 61st minute when meeting a cross, but Aiden O’Neill – on loan from Burnley – found the top-left corner with a stunning 25-yard strike soon after.

Mariners’ Kalifa Cisse was given his marching orders in stoppage time for a late tackle on Ikonomidis, and the Glory midfielder capitalised soon after, netting the last-gasp winner from close range after Neil Kilkenny’s fine cross.

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