An Andrew Nabbout 90th minute screamer has rescued a priceless win over Adelaide United and kept Melbourne Victory’s season alive.
With the contest destined for a draw, Nabbout cut inside the box onto his right foot before firing an attempt past Paul Izzo, who at times looked unbeatable, into the top corner to record Victory’s fifth win of the season.
The Victory were forced to come from behind with Kristian Opseth opening the scoring in the seventh minute, before Marco Rojas equalised in the 57th minute with his first goal on return.
Coming into the match nine points outside the top six, Victory’s desperation showed throughout the match as they fluffed a myriad of golden opportunities to clinch all the three points.
After suffering a three-goal defeat last week, an injury ravaged Adelaide United wasted little time getting on the front foot at Marvel Stadium.
Finding space in the attacking third, Riley McGree slipped a ball through to Opseth who drilled home the opener from inside the box in the seventh minute with just his second goal of the season.
Victory captain Ola Toivonen then came close to executing the perfect response a minute later – firing his side’s first attempt on target from just outside the box into the awaiting arms of Paul Izzo, before having an attempt parried away after swiftly turning away from his marker from a Nabbout throw in.
Despite not equalising, Toivonen’s eventful opening ten minutes did have a positive effect on the rest of his teammates. Marco Rojas dazzled his way into the match – exciting the home crowd with several bursts with the ball – while Andrew Nabbout channelled his inner Paolo Di Canio, spectacularly scissor-kicking Tim Hoogland’s 22nd minute cross, albeit, straight into Izzo who – like the last time the two sides met – was almost single handily protecting Adelaide’s lead.
At the other end, Lawrence Thomas was perhaps lucky to stay on the park – escaping with a booking after cleaning up the counter-attacking McGree just outside the box on the right wing in the 33rd minute.
Yet to score on his return to the club, Rojas – for the second consecutive week – had another golden opportunity go astray, failing to slide the ball past Izzo after the Kiwi international broke through the Adelaide defence.
Andrew Nabbout then should have levelled the score in the 39th minute when he too found himself one-on-one with Izzo, only for the Socceroo to not pull the trigger – instead taking too many touches in his attempt to dribble past Izzo, only to allow the Adelaide defence to flood the box and see the chance slip through his fingers
Frustration then reached boiling point for the Victory fans as Toivonen produced a contender for the miss of the season right on half-time.
Unmarked and standing inside the six-yard box, the Swedish international failed to head home what looked like the easiest of finishes after Elvis Kamsoba’s attempt flew off Izzo’s body towards Adama Traore, who headed the ball centrally towards Toivonen, who will wish he had his time again.
After an uninspiring re-start, George Blackwood brough the half to a life when he struck the cross bar from close range in the 56th minute before Kamsoba fired yet another blank seconds later – losing and then re-gaining his feet before firing his attempt over the cross bar.
Though Victory’s frustration was put to rest soon after when Rojas wound back the clock to equalise in the 57th minute and grab his first goal since re-joining the club.
The 28-year-old pouncing on a loose ball inside the box, after a long Hoogland throw in, to slip the ball past Izzo inside a congested penalty area to draw the Victory level.
Meanwhile, Blackwood was not doing his side any favours – slamming the cross bar from close range a second time in the 70th minute, having brought the ball down with his chest before opting for power over placement and thus only finding the goal-frame.
In need of a spark Gertjan Verbeek injected Mo Toure into the game, with the 15-year-old nearly re-paying the faith when he burst forward only to be denied by Lawrence Thomas in the 87th minute.
But this match had one more twist, with Nabbout standing up when it mattered most to fire home the winner with minutes remaining and record the side’s first league win under Carlos Salvachua.
Melbourne Victory 2 (Rojas 57, Nabbout 90′)
Adelaide United 1 (Opseth 7′)
Lawrence Thomas (GK), Adama Traore (Brandon Lauton 46’), James Donachie, Tim Hoogland, Giancarlo Gallifuoco, Leigh Broxham (Anthony Lesiotis 58’), Migjen Basha, Elvis Kamsoba (Kenny Athiu 88′) , Marco Rojas, Ola Toivonen (C), Andrew Nabbout
Matthew Sutton, Storm Roux, Josh Hope, Ben Carrigan,
Paul Izzo (GK), Michael Marrone, Jordan Elsey, Michael Jakobsen (C), Michael Maria, Louis D’Arrigo, Riley McGree, James Troisi, Nikola Mileusnic (Mo Toure 78′) , Kristian Opseth (Kusini Yengi) 69’, George Blackwood
Ryan Kitto, Mirko Boland, Dakota Ochsenham