Meier off the mark as Wanderers snap Victory hoodoo with thrilling win
German marquee Alex Meier has scored his first Hyundai A-League goal to help Western Sydney Wanderers snap their Melbourne Victory hoodoo with a 2-1 win at Marvel Stadium.
After a goalless first half, the match sprung to life nine minutes after the break as Keanu Baccus hit a scorcher to give the Wanderers a shock lead.
Meier, who was criticised after his display against the Mariners last week, showed his class with sensational lob to double the lead just after the hour mark.
Skipper Ola Toivonen pulled one back for Victory soon after, converting a penalty to set up a frantic last 20 minutes.
But despite some nervy moments, the Wanderers held on for their first-ever win at Marvel Stadium and their first in 12 games against Victory.
It’s also the first time in the club’s history they have taken maximum points from the first two rounds, setting up a mouth-watering Sydney Derby against the Sky Blues next weekend.
For Victory, new boss Marco Kurz is still searching for his first win in charge, with the pressure sure to build ahead of their trip to Brisbane Roar next Friday night.
Wanderers denied by the woodwork
After a cagey first 20 minutes it was the visitors who were inches away from taking the lead.
Pirmin Schwegler floated a precise free-kick to the far post where Matthew Jurman met the ball with a firm header to the far post.
Agonisingly for the Wanderers, the ball hit the woodwork and bounced away, with the visitors unable to turn the rebound in.
Both sides waste glorious opportunities
Victory needed more cutting edge in the attacking third and got a chance just after the half-hour mark. Some sloppy Wanderers passing in their own half forced a turnover, with a quick pass forward releasing Elvis Kamsoba on the left.
The Burundi international surged into the box and fired a powerful low strike on target, but Wanderers keeper Daniel Lopar made himself big to block the ball out for a corner with his body.
The Wanderers had only last chance to the lead in the final minute of the half, as Daniel Georgievski, twisted Corey Brown inside and out on the right.
The defender hung a delightful ball up to the far post for marquee striker Alex Meier but he could only head the ball wide of the mark from close range.
Stunner from Baccus lights up Marvel
The Wanderers produce a bit of quality…and it’s the academy kids that get it done.
Just nine minutes after the break, Nick Sullivan starts the move with a clever flick over the Victory defence for Mohamed Adam to receive.
The 19-year-old shows great awareness to cut the ball back to the top of the box where Baccus hits a first-time strike which curls perfectly into the far, top corner.
It was Baccus’ first goal of the campaign and the fourth goal of his Hyundai A-League career.
Meier magic doubles Wanderers’ lead
A ball in behind Victory’s defence causes confusion between right-back Storm Roux and keeper Lawrence Thomas.
The gloveman can only scuff a clearance straight to Meier, who shows wonderful quality and composure to hit the ball first time and lob it into an open net from 25 yards out.
After his poor miss in the first half, it was just what the German marquee needed to produce as he registers his first goal in the competition.
Victory back in it through Toivonen
With just under 20 minutes left, Victory get a lifeline after Dylan McGowan’s outstretched arm was struck by the ball from Kenny Athiu’s header.
Referee Alex King pointed to the spot, with Victory skipper Ola Toivonen taking responsibility with the penalty.
And the Swedish striker made no mistake, sweeping the ball into the bottom corner to halve the deficit.
It was Toivonen’s fourth goal in as many games against the Wanderers, but not enough to help his side get anything from the match.