A spirited comeback from Kevin Muscat’s Melbourne Victory ensured that arch-rival Adelaide United would go home empty handed after Saturday evening’s tense 4-3 encounter.
The visitors took a shock lead when Spaniard Sergio Cirio tapped home an early goal to put the in-form Reds ahead on their travels.
Cirio’s Portuguese team-mate Fabio Ferreira made a positive run down the wing before squaring the ball into the former Barcelona youth prospect’s path, and Cirio took care of the rest, giving Victory keeper Nathan Coe little chance to get to the ball from close range.
However, Adelaide’s lead failed to last beyond 14 minutes after a superb strike from Melbourne’s Gui Finkler.
Finkler’s goal came after Adelaide failed to effectively clear the ball from defence.
Archie Thompson pounced on the poor clearance and immediately found Finkler, who subsequently managed to neatly flick the ball into striking range before unleashing a thunderous volley which crept past Eugene Galekovic in the Adelaide goal.
Despite leveling the score, the Victory were unable to hold out Adelaide until half-time.
Bruce Djite held the ball up emphatically before slipping a through ball into Sergio Cirio’s path.
Cirio opted to execute a chip-shot past Coe and the decision paid dividends as the ball rolled into the goal on the stroke of half-time, as Adelaide’s lead was restored.
However, despite an impressive first period from the Reds, a roller-coaster of a second-half would not go their way.
Victory veteran Leigh Broxham danced into the box on the 57th minute mark before finding Gui Finkler, and the Brazilian managed to score his second goal of the night after his shot flew past Galekovic at his near post.
However, Finkler’s second goal past Galekovic wasn’t to be the Adelaide skipper’s most mediocre moment of the evening.
Just ten minutes later, Galekovic raced off his line to clear a back-pass but instead failed to make any connection with the ball, allowing Melbourne’s Archie Thompson to sprint through on goal totally unmarked before sliding the ball into an empty net.
The home fans’ delight reached fever pitch when a slick passing move from the hosts resulted in a fourth goal.
New Zealand international Kosta Barbarouses latched onto a ball from James Troisi to poke the ball past a sea of hapless Adelaide defenders.
Sergio Cirio became a hat-trick hero for the Reds on the 83rd minute mark when he skilfully wriggled his way into space and slotted the ball past Coe for the third time – ensuring a nervy end to the clash for the hosts.
However, the Muscat-led Melbourne, perhaps rejuvenated after success in an Asian Champions League qualifier last weekend, held out Adelaide to claim an enormously valuable three points.
The only sour aspect of the Victory’s night was young gun Tom Rogic’s substitution after the former Central Coast play-maker appeared to land awkwardly on the AAMI Park turf after rising for an aerial challenge.
Written by Ellis Gelios