Melbourne Victory scored from the game's opening sequence and strolled past Western Sydney Wanderers 3-0 on Sunday at Kingston Twin Ovals in Tasmania. Mitch Nichols scored the opener and Kosta Barbarouses scored later in the first half before a bizarre Ante Covic own-goal left the final difference at three. Pablo Contreras and James Troisi both made their Victory debuts with the former starting and playing sixty minutes.
Straight from the opening kick off, the Victory went down the field, forcing a Covic save within seconds of the opening whistle. Archie Thompson retrieved the deflected ball, passed across the box where Nichols hit a one-touch shot, curling over the stranded goalkeeper. In the 27th minute, Connor Pain used played a low, bending cross to Barbarouses, whose shot across goal gave the Victory a two-goal lead before the half-hour.
The Wanderers were not without chances, with Shinji Ono's 30th minute free kick coming as the best in the first half, requiring a diving save from Nathan Coe. Aaron Mooy, a second half substitute, kickstarted Western Sydney's attack, and nearly scored on a late free kick, but this match was all about the Victory. The back pass and subsequent mishit by Covic in the 76th minute confirmed the comprehensive defeat for the Wanderers.
Here are highlights from the Victory website, including Ange Postecoglou's press conference:
Western Sydney have one final pre-season game, on Thursday October 3 at Jensen Oval in Sefton against Bankstown City Lions. The Victory host Adelaide United in a closed door match at AAMI Park, also on October 3. Both sides begin the A-League season on Saturday October 12.
MV Nichols (Thompson) 1'
MV Barbarouses (Pain) 27'
MV Covic (og) 76'
Melbourne Victory: Coe; Contreras (Ansell 61'), Traore, Geria, Leijer; Milligan, Nichols, Broxham (Jeggo 61'); Barbarouses, Thompson (Troisi 61'), Pain (Stella 80')
Western Sydney Wanderers: Covic; Beauchamp, D'Appuzzo, La Rocca (Trifiro 72'), Topor-Stanley; Ono (McGing 81'), Poljak (Mooy 53'), Polenz (Cole 84'); Juric (Haliti 56'), Hersi, Bridge (Fofanah 84')