THE Western Sydney Wanderers have continued their fine start to the new campaign with a stunning 2-1 win over the Melbourne Victory at Marvel Stadium.
In front of a crowd of 17,231, a second-half blitz from Markus Babbel’s men started with a superb-finish by Keanu Baccus in the 54th minute before moments later Alexander Meier opened up his account in the A-League.
The Victory gave themselves a chance late-on when Ola Toivonen dispatched a penalty in the 72nd minute setting up a grand-stand finish but Babbel’s men were able to hold on and win their first two games in an A-League campaign for the first time in their club’s history.
The Wanderers have ended an eleven-game drought against the Melbourne Victory – beating them for the first time since December 2015 and the first time in Melbourne since January 2013.
Victory came out of the blocks the strongest in the opening minute as Toivonen squandered an open header from an Andrew Nabbout cross.
Before seconds later, Elvis Kamsoba tested Wanderers keeper Daniel Lopar with an over-hit cross from a set-play.
The Wanderers had their first taste of goal in the 22nd minute when Pirmin Schwelger’s free-kick found Matthew Jurman whose header rattled the post.
Moments later, the Wanderers were on the attack again as Meier got on the end of a well-timed cross from Mohamed Adam with his resulting goal-bound effort was blocked by Thomas Deng.
Western Sydney’s youth continued to make an impact as Nick Sullivan tested Lawrence Thomas after a lovely one-two with Baccus on the edge of the area.
Marco Kurz’ men had to be patient for their next goal-scoring opportunity and it came when Kamsoba dazzled around two Wanderers defenders to force a nice save out of Lopar after 31 minutes.
As time winded up in the first half, former Victory full-back Daniel Georgievski’s looping cross found Meier in a load of space at the back-post with the ‘Fussballgott’ missing a header from point-blank range.
The Wanderers continued to carve opportunities after half-time and they were dually rewarded after 54 minutes.
Sullivan once again found himself involved in the build-up as his flick found Adam in space on the right-hand side with his cut-back finding Baccus – who slammed the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area.
Soon after, their lead was doubled after a long-ball from McGowan put Victory defender Storm Roux and Lawrence Thomas under pressure with their failed clearance falling to Meier outside box – with the German placing the ball home to open up his A-League account.
It was almost three when Schwelger’s free-kick fizzled past the post on 68 minutes as the Wanderers looked to put the final dagger in the Victory coffin.
However, the contest was far from done as substitute Kenny Athiu’s header was hand-balled by McGowan leading to a Victory penalty which Toivonen dispatched with ease to bring the game back to life with 18 minutes still to play.
With the minutes ticking down, Kurz’ charges continued to pile on the pressure as Kamsoba wriggled his way past a few Wanderers players to tee up Nabbout who was unable to convert his long-range effort.
The Victory continued press as a corner fell to substitute Migjen Basha but his shot went straight at Lopar with five minutes to play before Toivonen tried his luck with a late free-kick which went well wide.
Western Sydney will look to continue their fast-start in the Sydney Derby next Saturday night while the Victory travel north to face the Brisbane Roar on Friday night.