Kruse winner eases pressure on Victory as Glory rue missed chances
Robbie Kruse has marked his first start of the season with the winning goal as Melbourne Victory beat Perth Glory 1-0 in Leigh Broxham’s 300th Hyundai A-League appearance.
In an entertaining – and at times fiery – contest at AAMI Park, Kruse struck just after the half-hour mark for his first goal in the competition since 2011.
The win snaps a four-game winless streak for Victory, propelling the club into the top six and easing some of the pressure on coach Marco Kurz.
And it was the perfect way to honour club stalwart Broxham, who put in a typically composed performance in central defence as he became just the second player to reach the 300 mark in the competition.
Victory had to show all their resilience to hold on for the win, with Glory dominating possession and chances in a pulsating match.
Star striker Bruno Fornaroli and defender Alex Grant both rattled the woodwork in the second half as they defending premiers pushed for an equaliser, but it was to no avail.
Nabbout almost catches out Reddy
With plenty at stake for both sides it was perhaps no surprise that it was a cagey first 20 minutes.
The best moment in that period fell to the visitors as Diego Castro, Bruno Fornaroli and Ivan Franjic all combined before Neil Kilkenny tried a curler from distance which went just over the bar.
But it was Victory that went closest to getting the opener midway through the first-half, with Andrew Nabbout the main threat.
First the attacker’s floated cross almost caught out Liam Reddy, who had to scurry back to tip the ball over the bar, before his header from the resulting corner flashed wide of the goal.
Kruse delivers for Victory
Making his first start of the season, Kruse marked the moment with the opener to score his first Hyundai A-League goal since 2011.
It was a simple tap-in from close range for the Caltex Socceroo, finishing off after Adama Traore’s teasing cross was played back across goal from Nabbout.
Woodwork denies Fornaroli an equaliser
Like the first-half, Glory started the second on the front foot and it was only the width of the post that stopped them levelling the scores.
Juande played in a cross from the right which bobbled past a swathe of players before finding Fornaroli at the far post.
The Uruguayan’s slammed his volley into the ground with the ball bouncing up high onto the post and away from goal. Oh so close for the visitors!
Now Grant is thwarted by the bar
It was all Glory now with the visitors firing off the first eight shots of the second half, including another which struck the frame of the goal.
This time it was the crossbar that thwarted the visitors, with Alex Grant climbing highest to meet Kilkenny’s dinked cross.
The looping header was too good for keeper Lawrence Thomas but skimmed the bar on its way over.