Nabbout's goal enough as Victory spoil Fowler's Roar home debut
Andrew Nabbout’s early goal was enough for Melbourne Victory to win 1-0 and spoil Robbie Fowler’s first home game in charge of Brisbane Roar on Friday night.
Nabbout, who is set to become a father for the first time any day, scored the only goal on 20 minutes by racing onto Ola Toivonen’s lofted pass, holding off a defender and finishing calmly.
The goal proved enough to hand Victory their first win of the campaign and the first for new coach Marco Kurz.
It also continued Victory’s recent strong record in Brisbane, stretching their winning run at Suncorp Stadium to four matches.
The only sour note was a hamstring injury to goal-scoring hero Nabbout, who was forced off 10 minutes before half-time.
Roar toiled hard for an equaliser after the break and had their moments, with Roy O’Donovan wasting the best one when he blazed over midway through the second half.
But there was no repeat of their stoppage-time equaliser in Round 1 as Fowler’s first home game as Roar boss ended in defeat.
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Nabbout fires Victory in front
Victory’s lethal strikeforce combine to give the visitors the lead just short of the 20 minute mark.
Ola Toivonen plays a ball over the top of the Roar defence which allowed Nabbout to get in behind.
The Caltex Socceroos striker showed great strength to hold off the challenge of Macauley Gillesphey and then produced a composed finish beyond keeper Max Crocombe.
Nabbout departs as Victory look to double their lead
Victory’s recent dominance at Suncorp showed no signs of slowing down after their opener, almost adding to their lead twice in the space of a minute.
First Elvis Kamsoba broke in behind Roar’s line and raced through towards goal but as he looked to square to Kristijan Dobras, Crocombe read the pass to snuff out the danger.
Soon after Victory attacked down the opposite flank with Nabbout firing in a low cross but Kamsoba couldn’t steer his shot on target from close range under pressure from the keeper.
A hamstring injury then brought an end to Nabbout’s night 10 minutes before the break, replaced by Kenny Athiu.
“I felt the hammy tighten up a little the last 10 mins before I came off. I felt it pull a bit and signalled to come off,” Nabbout told Fox Sports during the coverage.
“I thought it best not to risk it this early in the season. I haven’t done one before so I’m not sure how serious it is.”
Thomas denies O’Donovan before the break
Roar had a great chance to equalise two minutes before half-time but Roy O’Donovan couldn’t take his chance.
After Stefan Mauk won possession just inside Victory’s half, he played an exquisite ball to the Irishman in a dangerous position in the box.
O’Donovan, who has never scored against Victory, fired a low shot on target but Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas saved with his legs.
O’Donovan blazes over as Roar up the pressure
The home side enjoyed the better of the first 20 minutes of the second half, with both Stefan Mauk and Gillesphey both having shots that flew wide of the mark.
But the best chance fell to O’Donovan just after the hour mark.
The impressive Jay O’Shea won the ball inside the Victory box and then cut it back to O’Donovan in the middle but he fired over the bar from point blank range.
Woodwork, goal-line clearance keeps Roar alive
Roar somehow survive two almighty scares in the space of a crazy few seconds.
First Toivonen struck a stunning free-kick which beat the wall and Crocombe but clattered onto the post and out.
Then from the next phase of play, Jakob Poulsen played in Athiu in the box and he dinked the ball over the keeper and towards goal, only for defender Scott Neville to somehow hack it away to safety just before it went in.