Nabbout's stoppage-time stunner keeps Victory's season alive
Andrew Nabbout kept Melbourne Victory's season alive with a sensational stoppage time winner against Adelaide United in Saturday's 2-1 win over their old enemy.
Nabbout provided a moment of magic in injury time by thrashing home an unstoppable shot from outside the box which left Adelaide 'keeper Paul Izzo beaten all ends up.
Victory had earlier fallen behind to Kristian Opseth's early strike and out-shot the Reds 15-5 at the break but could not find a way past Izzo.
That changed when Marco Rojas scored his first goal since rejoining the club in January for his third stint in Navy Blue but it did not inspire Victory to go on and claim all three points until Nabbout's late show-stopper.
Adelaide had conceded five goals against Western Sydney Wanderers last time out and had Izzo to thank for keeping their slender advantage intact in the first half as the Reds number one produced excellent saves from Nabbout and Rojas, while Ola Toivonen spurned a glaring opportunity to head home unmarked.
Adelaide hit the post twice in the second half through George Blackwood and would be leapfrogged on the ladder by Brisbane Roar if they beat Melbourne City tomorrow.
Victory, however, move onto 20 points, six away from Brisbane.
Adelaide broke the deadlock when McGree pounced on Giancarlo Gallifuoco's careless header and slipped in Norwegian international Opseth with a superb disguised pass, and the finish from Opseth was supreme - his first since mid-November, when he netted against Central Coast Mariners.
Andrew Nabbout retaliated with a superlative effort which nearly caught Izzo out at the near post, while Toivonen hit the side netting as Victory ramped up the pressure on the Adelaide goalkeeper.
Izzo pulled off a terrific block to deny Nabbout from point-blank range after Tim Hoogland found the Socceroo with a wonderful cross from the right, while Leigh Broxham poked his finish wide after it opened up for the stalwart following Elvis Kamsoba's darting run.
Rojas took it upon himself to drive at goal late in the half and forced Izzo into a fine low save after a bustling run through the middle from the Kiwi international, playing in his 100th Hyundai A-League game. Izzo then stood big when Nabbout found himself one on one but elected to round the Reds shot stopper.
Izzo parried Kamsoba's blast at the near post and Toivonen inexplicably headed wide from Traore's cross as Gertjan Verbeek's visitors entered the interval barely clinging on to their 1-0 advantage.
Victory kept knocking on the door in the second half and although Adelaide cracked the crossbar through George Blackwood, Rojas hauled Victory back into the contest with a neat first touch and finish past Izzo.
The goal was Rojas' first since rejoining the four-time Champions in January for his third stint.
Victory were back on level terms, but the hosts were made to breathe a huge sigh of relief when Blackwood thundered the crossbar for the second time in 20 minutes.
This time, James Troisi's cross found the Reds attacker peeling off at the back post and after taking a touch to set himself, the ex-Sydney FC youth blasted his finish into the woodwork.
Thomas pushed away Troisi's free kick, while at the other end, Izzo kept Nabbout's effort out at the near post as both sides traded blows. Neither, however, could deliver a knockout punch until Nabbout broke Adelaide hearts in injury time with a late stunner.
Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
Saturday, 7 March
Kick off: 7.30pm AEDT
Adelaide United v Western United
Saturday, 7 March
Kick off: 4.30pm local, 5pm AEDT