Melbourne Victory vs. Wellington Phoenix  3 - 2

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Defeat deserved, says Herbert

5 November 2012 15:21

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert says it would have been unjust if his side had avoided defeat against Melbourne Victory on Monday.

Victory dominated almost 70 minutes of Monday's A-League clash, taking a 3-0 lead one minute into the second half.

But a series of substitutions for both sides and a tactical switch by Herbert changed the game, with the Phoenix coming within a goal of stealing a point when Jeremy Brockie claimed a double.

Time ran out for the visitors, and Herbert agreed with reporters when asked after the match if the final 3-2 scoreline flattered his side.

"Absolutely. We weren't good enough tonight, and let's pay credit to Melbourne. I thought they were very good, and we were very disappointing," he said.

"… There's a few small positives. I think we did a couple of very good goals, and showed there's probably no team in the league that can dominate for long periods if you're prepared to have go.

"Melbourne were a little bit vulnerable and giving the ball away, and we gave ourselves a real shot at the end.

"But it would have been unfair. As I said, Melbourne certainly deserved to win."

Herbert said his side paid the price for the space they offered between their central defenders and full-backs.

Marco Rojas scored twice from crosses from fellow wide forward Archie Thompson, while Gui Finkler found plenty of room through the middle.

"If you don't get pressure in there, the wide players are going to do the damage - which they did," Herbert said.

"But we changed a little bit, and I think when we put three in midfield we started to compete.

"I think we managed to get a share of the game, which was always going to be important for us."

With Herbert doubling as New Zealand coach, he said he had praise for both 'Kiwi boys' Rojas and Brockie, with the latter to have a 'real weight off' his shoulders after scoring his first goals of the season.

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Postecoglou livid over late lapse

5 November 2012 14:22

Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou has blasted his charges for conceding two late goals in Monday's 3-2 win over Wellington Phoenix.

Victory dominated proceedings for the first 70 minutes, with a brace from Marco Rojas and a Marcos Flores goal handing the hosts a 3-0 advantage.

But Phoenix clawed their way back into the contest with two goals from New Zealand international Jeremy Brockie in the last 10 minutes.

Despite the late scare, Victory held on for their second win of the season, climbing off the bottom of the table to sixth place.

"You're left with a negative at the end and that sits in your gut a little bit," Postecoglou told reporters after the game.

"I don't want to take away from the football we played in the first hour or so, but it was really disappointing. It was unacceptable.

"We're working really hard on a style of play and being disciplined about it and we veered away from that."

Postecoglou said he was unsure whether the players had mentally switched off in the dying stages.

"It's pretty clear now we try to play a certain way and everyone's accepted that," he added.

"If you accept that you do it come hell or high water. You can't just take it upon yourself to do what you feel like just because a game's going a certain way.

"We were good for the first 60-70 minutes and I thought we'd be hard to handle for any team in the league if we played like that.

"But we're not just about playing some good football over a period of time, we want to be better than that and that's the lesson that comes out of tonight."

Postecoglou made two changes to the side that lost to the Newcastle Jets last week, with Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler replacing Jonathan Bru and Diogo Ferreira entering defence for Matthew Foschini.

Postecoglou said journeyman Finkler, who played for 12 clubs over six years before moving to Melbourne, needed more time to establish himself in Australia.

"I haven't seen one (foreigner) really hit the ground running and be outstanding from day one and I've dealt with probably some of the best ones that have come into this country," Postecoglou said.

"And that's a testament to our league. It doesn't matter about your pedigree or quality; you can't just stroll in here and dominate.

"It's a hard competition and he's getting used to that.

"From our point of view, we can see at training that he's a good player and he's a quality player. I think what we saw tonight is what we've been seeing in training."

Article

A-League: Melbourne Victory 3 Wellington Phoenix 2

5 November 2012 12:00

Melbourne Victory survived a late scare to earn three valuable points against their New Zealand rivals on Monday.

Inspired by Victory's South American duo, the hosts blew the Phoenix away early and then held on to clamber from the foot of the A-League table.

Phoenix had never won in Melbourne, and that seemed further away than ever when former winger Marco Rojas and Marcos Flores put the hosts up 2-0 by half-time.

Another goal to Rojas looked to seal Victory's second victory of the season, before Phoenix staged a late fightback, featuring Jeremy Brockie's outstanding double.

The hosts had stand-out performances across the pitch, but it was a result largely built on the craft of Flores and Guilherme Finkler.

Signs that better times are ahead for Victory were there from the eighth minute, when Finkler and Flores combined in midfield for the former to guide a through ball into Archie Thompson's path but his shot went wide.

Thompson had his second chance when Mark Milligan's lightning ball across the goalmouth just evaded him on 15 minutes, while Phoenix replied seconds later after Louis Fenton's superb ball from the right curled just past Stein Huysegems.

Soon after, however, it was 1-0, when Finkler's through ball found Thompson wide on the right. Presented with a one-on-one chance with Mark Paston, the Australia international instead elected to send a perfect ball across the goalkeeper and two defenders for Rojas to tap home.

Thompson and Brockie then brought saves out of their opposing goalkeepers, before Flores put the Victory up 2-0.

Retrieving the ball from the right, Flores and Finkler traded two passes apiece before the former finished with the outside of his right foot.

The second goal had been coming, but few of the 20,683 crowd could have predicted its quality.

One minute into the second half, Milligan's ball ensured Thompson again found a galaxy of space behind the Phoenix defence, and his precise ball across goal ensured an easy tap in for Rojas.

Application had not been in question for Thompson over a 13-game scoreless streak in the A-League, but he again showed his finishing was still somewhat off when he spooned a cut-back from Flores high and wide from close range on 51 minutes.

Meanwhile, the injection of Benjamin Totori for the Phoenix proved crucial to their attempts to save the game.

The Solomon Islands international was integral in the Phoenix's brightest spell of the game, which produced Brockie's first goal in the 81st minute.

He sent an unstoppable shot past Nathan Coe from outside the area after having been fed by the increasingly lively Totori, and then made it a double when his free-kick was clawed out by the Victory goalkeeper only after it crossed the line.

But time beat the Phoenix, with Victory's win certainly not the most impressive of the weekend but it did provide 60 minutes of exactly what Victory are capable of producing under coach Ange Postecoglou.

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Bertos, Muscat keen for century celebration

2 November 2012 06:11

Wellington Phoenix duo Leo Bertos and Manny Muscat hope to mark their 100th games for the club with a win against Melbourne Victory on Monday.

Bertos admitted the milestone had come a week earlier than he had expected but that it would be a proud moment when he joined Tim Brown, Daniel, Tony Lochhead and Andrew Durante in the Phoenix 100-club.

"There are only four players who have reached that at the club so far and it's nice to be part of that group," said the Wellington-born right-back.

"It's always nice to get little milestones individually and in a team game as well. But it would be nice to win. You'd put that aside for three points that's for sure.

"Melbourne away has been tough for us the last few years so hopefully this 100th is the bit of good luck and we can roll them."

The Phoenix have never won at either AAMI Park or Ethiad Stadium and in 15 matches against the Victory have notched two wins, six draws and seven losses.

But they head to the Victorian capital this weekend with perhaps the best chance they have ever had of claiming all three points.

Only defender Ben Sigmund (suspended) is missing from Herbert's first-choice starting XI and the fall-out from last weekend's controversial loss to Adelaide United, and the decision not to rescind Sigmund's red card and punish Jeronimo Neumann for diving, will only have galvanised the Wellington side.

Ange Postecoglu's team are languishing bottom of the table with just one win from four games this season. They have scored four goals but conceded 10 as they look to adjust to the possession-based style of game the former title-winning Brisbane Roar coach wants them to play.

It was an improved performance against the Newcastle Jets last time out, although they lost, and Bertos remains wary.

"They've got a brand of football that they are still trying to play there that's not come right yet," he said.

"Hopefully it doesn't come right against us. But Ange's record speaks for itself. The last couple of years (he's coached) champions.

"We do have to be wary. They've got players that are very good attacking and who can create opportunities and score goals from nothing.

"We really do have to make sure we're on our game. We have to concentrate and not let them have any chances."

Former Phoenix youngster Marco Rojas, Brazillian Gui Finkler, Marcos Flores and Archie Thompson are the big attacking threats.

"Marco has been doing really well. He's started really well and scored a few goals," Bertos said.

"Flores, he was the player of the year two years ago, so he's a talent. They've got a number of players – Archie as well. We've got to watch out for him because he's lethal.

"We can't underestimate them. They might have had a bad start but it's game by game in this league and anything can happen on the day. We've got to make sure we turn up, do our jobs and we should be fine."

But there have been cracks in the Victory defence which Bertos hopes Paul Ifill, Louis Fenton and Jeremy Brockie can exploit.

"From the games that we've watched so far this season a lot of teams have been putting them under pressure," said the Phoenix fullback.

"They do like to keep the ball really well and then take risks at the back. A lot of teams have been keeping them under pressure and putting them under pressure constantly and forcing mistakes.

"That's something we've got to try and emulate as well because it's been working."

A-League table

# Team MP D P
1 27 +20 57
2 27 +26 54
3 27 +3 44
4 27 +1 41
5 27 +4 35
6 27 -2 32
7 27 -10 32
8 27 -15 31
9 27 -9 27
10 27 -18 27