Wanderers bounce back with win over Victory

A-League men, featured, football

Western Sydney Wanderers have breathed life into their A-League Men campaign with a crucial 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory.

Second-half goals from Tate Russell and Dimi Petratos, who converted an 80th-minute penalty, gave Mark Rudan’s side their second win of his tenure.

The result moves the Wanderers to one win outside of the finals spots and weakened the Victory’s position in the table.

Tony Popovic’s outfit barely laid a glove on his old club and they have not won a league game since Boxing Day.

In fairness, both teams were pretty uninspiring in the opening 45 minutes.

In what must have been one of the most drab first halves in A-League Men history, the Wanderers mustered just two shots on target to Victory’s zero in front of a crowd of 4231 at Commbank Stadium.

James Troisi’s long-range effort in the tenth minute was comfortably dealt with by Ivan Kelava before 30 minutes of lethargic play.

The only interruption came at the end of the half when Kelava was forced to palm away a Tomer Hemed header from a free-kick.

The Wanderers thought they had got the breakthrough just after halftime when Troisi made a darting run down the byline before crossing to Terry Antonis.

Antonis fired past inside Kelava’s near post but the celebration was short-lived after Troisi was ruled to have taken the ball dead in the build-up.

But Troisi’s misfortune mattered for little when Russell popped up to open the scoring in the 55th minute.

Making his first A-League Men start, 20-year-old centre-back Phillip Cancar played a long ball over the top of the Victory defence with Kelava undecided whether to come or stay on his line.

His hesitation worked in Russell’s favour as he cushioned his header past the Victory keeper and into the net. 

The goalkeeper’s worst was yet to come when he raced to cut down a through ball to Bernie Ibini only to bring the Wanderers striker down in the box. 

Petratos stepped up from the spot and buried the penalty with ease before wheeling away to celebrate with the home supporters.


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