Kamsoba at the double as Melbourne Victory smack Western United for six
Elvis Kamsoba hit his first A-League double as Melbourne Victory smashed state rivals Western United, 6-1, following a first-half demolition job at an empty AAMI Park.
The Navy Blue claimed their first ever win over the Green and Black in six attempts after scorching out to a four-goal lead in 36 minutes as Mark Rudan's side were blown away and their faint hopes of a top-six finish ended in a match played behind closed doors due to Melbourne's recent COVID-19 outbreak.
Thirteen points separated these Victorian clubs in ninth and 10th spots in the A-League ladder at kick-off, but early goals from Jake Brimmer and Premier League veteran Rudy Gestede got interim coach Steve Kean's struggling outfit off to a flying start in an opening 45 minutes played at breathless pace on Friday night.
United continued to surge forward, searching for a route back into the game, but Ben Folami was tearing the Green and Black to shreds on Victory left, first setting up Kamsoba to make it three from six yards out and then getting himself on the scoresheet three minutes later following another marauding run.
Alessandro Diamanti gave the hosts a lifeline on the brink of half-time, scoring his first goal of the season from the penalty spot after Folami was judged to have handled after a VAR review, but Kamsoba cut off any comeback hopes five minutes after the break, doubling his tally from Callum McManaman's return pass.
By the time United stabilised, a sixth straight defeat was inevitable and their finals ambitions crushed. Jacob Butterfield had the final word with a stunning 82nd-minute strike, lifting Victory four points clear of the basement-dwelling Newcastle Jets as the four-time champions aim to avoid a first ever wooden spoon.
With their hopes of reaching the Finals Series hanging by a thread, United made an encouraging start with Dylan Pierias and Seb Pasquali firing shots off target and Diamanti testing gloveman Matt Acton. But Victory soon took control when Brimmer first saw a shot parried away by home keeper Ryan Scott and then the midfielder made no mistake when Storm Roux’s cross was half-cleared into his path in the 12th minute.
A rampaging Folami steamed forward and set up Kamsoba to drill a strike at Scott on the quarter hour, before Iker Guarrotxena headed over from Diamanti delivery moments later. It was end-to-end stuff as McManaman lashed a strike at the angel of post and crossbar and the Navy Blue struck again in the 22nd minute when Gestede redirected Adama Traore’s driven cross into the corner of Scott's goal.
Still United threw caution to the wind as Pasquali's dipping attempt was deflected wide as Acton scrambled across his goal but matters started to get out of hand in the 33rd minute as Rudan's side were once again exposed at the back. Folami charged into an open space on the Victory left and rolled the ball across goal for Kamsoba to tap into the Green and Black net from close range.
It took less than three minutes to become a four-goal advantage as Folami continued to run riot. Picking up ball up across the halfway line from a simple short pass, the 21-year-old thundered past United's right-sided centre back Tomoki Imai and Pasquali could not catch the runaway train as Folami cut inside and tucked the ball into the corner at Scott's near post.
United earned themselves a glimmer of hope on the cusp of half-time when, two minutes into first-half stoppage time, Folami was penalised for handball while attempting to clear a Victory corner. Diamanti stepped up to open his account for the campaign and put a silver lining on and otherwise devastating opening stanza for the home side, but United were not able to build on that momentum after the restart.
Victory opened the second half in a similar vein to the first, punishing Western United after Diamanti's sloppy pass turned over possession around halfway. Following another rapid-fire counter-attack, this time led by Kamsoba, the Burundi international exchanged passes with McManaman and tucked in his second of the night and fifth of the season to restore the four-goal cushion in the 50th minute.
Rudan sent on Steven Lustica, Nicolas Milanovic and Adisu Bayew as a triple substitute to stem the flow but Butterfield ensured the Navy Blue would have the final say when his stinging left-footed shot rocketed into the roof of the net. Connor Pain's last-gasp strike shaved the frame of the goal as United left AAMI Park shattered, while incoming Victory coach Tony Popovic will be no doubt be impressed with what he saw.
Western United v Macarthur FC
Monday, 31 May 2021
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEST
Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
Sunday, 6 June 2021
Venue: Marvel Stadium
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEST
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