Kruse ends 3,222 day wait as Victory finally kick-start their campaign
It was a night to toast Leigh Broxham’s 300th Hyundai A-League game but it was Melbourne Victory star Robbie Kruse who also had reason to celebrate the win over Perth Glory.
In his first start since re-joining with the club in the off-season, Kruse came up with the only goal as Victory prevailed 1-0 to snap a four-game losing streak.
Having spent the last eight years playing abroad since leaving Victory in 2011, it was the 31-year-old winger’s first goal in the Hyundai A-League in 3,222 days.
That long drought is the third longest period between goals of any player in the history of the competition, behind current Sydney FC defender Michael Zullo (3,304) and ex-Sky Blues star David Carney (3,257).
“It was a tap in but I’ll take it. They all count,” a delighted Kruse told Fox Sports after the match.
“I’ve been out for probably 12 or 14 weeks with my hamstring so it’s been difficult for me but I’ve worked hard to get fit again and I wanted to come back with the right attitude and mentality here in Australia.
“I’m really happy and obviously for Broxy [Broxham] tonight, really happy we could put on a performance befitting of what he has done for this club.”
Victory came into the clash with Glory under serious pressure and with questions being asked of coach Marco Kurz.
They were sitting second from bottom on the Hyundai A-League ladder having picked up just one point in their last four games.
But with Kruse finally getting the chance to start alongside skipper Ola Toivonen and Andrew Nabbout, there were signs the good times could be about to roll in.
The win propels Victory back into the Top Six – for 24 hours at least – and with no interstate games before the turn of the year, Kruse believes they have the chance to go on a run.
“It was a massive win. Football is about momentum and confidence is a massive thing,” the Caltex Socceroos star said.
“Maybe the confidence wasn’t as high the last weeks but we’re slowly getting a full playing squad on deck so tonight’s win was massive.
“We stuck to the structure, with the players we have we’re going to be really dangerous on the counter. We created numerous chances and we probably should have iced the game.
“It’s something to build on now.”
Toivonen added: “It’s been tough couple of weeks but I think an effort like this can change the whole season.
“It’s not perfect, it’s not beautiful but we’re standing up for each other and we showed the supporters that we are a team.”