Gritty win for 10-man Victory

Melbourne has overcome the first-half dismissal of Ney Fabiano to record a gritty 1-0 win over Adelaide United at Telstra Dome on Friday night.

Melbourne has overcome the first-half dismissal of Ney Fabiano to record a gritty 1-0 win over Adelaide United at Telstra Dome on Friday night.

The Brazilian's petulant reply to a challenge from Robert Cornthwaite left Victory with just ten men for over an hour. But Melbourne chanced its arm, with Archie Thompson earning it a penalty on 62 minutes. Kevin Muscat missed a spot kick for the first time in his Hyundai A-League career but calmly slotted the rebound to secure all three points.

The win keeps Melbourne on top of the table with three wins and a draw, while Adelaide suffers its first defeat in any competition since the penultimate round of last season in its first match of a run where it plays five in the space of two weeks.

"I thought all round it was a tremendous Victory performance," coach Ernie Merrick said post-match. "We have been talking performance being a combination of skill and effort and I thought it was 100 percent on both counts tonight."

Adelaide had the best of it in the first 20 minutes. Shots from Lucas Pantelis and Sasa Ognenovski just went over the bar, while Travis Dodd should have done better with his close range effort on 24 minutes.

Ney Fabiano played Danny Allsopp through, but the Victory striker failed to produce anything to trouble Eugene Galekovic. The flashpoint then came on 30 minutes when Ney Fabiano and Cornthwaite had an altercation. Matthew Breeze didn't like what happened in the aftermath and gave the Melbourne marksman his marching orders.

Being a man down didn't temper Victory's attacking intent and after Allsopp almost seized on a Galekovic mistake, Carlos Hernandez hit the bar with a long-range free kick and then tested Galekovic out with one from closer in. Archie Thompson also produced a block from the busy stopper.

Angelo Costanzo and Muscat were both booked before a late first-half flurry from the Reds saw Jonas Salley have his shot blocked by Matthew Kemp and Dodd defied by a fine save from Michael Theoklitos.

The nature of the game changed early in the second half, with Melbourne preferring to sit back and create on the counter. That meant fewer attacking chances.

But Thompson, afforded more space, was the wildcard and the Adelaide defence was finding him hard to contain. On 62 minutes with his back to goal, he prompted a tug of the shirt from Ognenovski. Breeze pointed to the spot and while Galekovic saved Muscat's spot kick, the ball went straight back to the Victory skipper, who knocked it in on the second attempt.

Soon after, Hernandez repeated his first half effort by just going over from a free kick, while Dodd's dog of a day rolled on as he headed over twice early in the second half.

Hernandez departed for Grant Brebner and Cristiano was replaced by Diego, reflecting the respective mindsets of the coaches. Adelaide was intent on finding an equaliser, but continued to shoot over and wide. Pantelis was guilty of both within the space of minutes, while Dodd's headers continued to fail to find the target.

Breeze was kept busy, producing yellow cards for Evan Berger on Diego, while Thompson could have made it 2-0, when he charged clear only to have his shot deflected wide.

Adelaide's desperation to get something out of the game was matched by Melbourne's determination to hold on to all three points and the home crowd left with a smile on their faces.

Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar was particularly disappointed his team wasn't able to take anything away from a match where they had a man advantage for the better part of the game.

"We looked jaded. We made far too many errors, especially when they went down to ten men. We missed target after target just simple things. That's something we really need to rectify," he said.