Melbourne Victory handed debuts to new signings Besart Berisha, Carl Valeri and Matthieu Delpierre as they opened their pre-season with a 3-0 win against NPL side Bentleigh Greens.Victory largely controlled the early stages of the match as they had several shots on goal. Early chances fell to Carl Valeri, Kosta Barbarouses and Delpierre with each forcing good saves from the Bentleigh 'keeper.
The breakthrough was made in the 17th minute when a Berisha shot was parried into the path of Connor Pain, who neatly tucked it away into the bottom left corner.
Playing the match in a modified three 30 minute 'thirds', Muscat’s side continued to control play throughout most of the opening half-an-hour, with striker Berisha looking excellent upfront as he created a number of great chances, working well with Thompson who was playing in a central midfield position behind the striker.
But it was acting captain Leigh Broxham who scored Victory’s second as he curled a long range shot over the Bentleigh goalkeeper and into the top corner in the 38th minute..
The Bentleigh side struggled to breakdown Victory’s defence as new pairing Delpierre and Adrian Leijer showed strong signs throughout the first half. Both made key interceptions to keep Bentleigh goalless.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat made ten changes at the 45 minute mark, taking the opportunity to give Victory’s younger players a run, but it didn’t impact Victory’s control on the match.
This showed in the 56th minute when Christopher Cristaldo earned a penalty. Jesse Makarounas stepped up and converted into the bottom left corner, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.
Despite Melbourne having the bulk of possession for the final 30 minutes, they were unable to add to their tally on a chilly, but impressive opening pre-season night at Kingston Heath.
Melbourne Victory 3 (18' Pain, 38' Broxham, 57' Makarounas (pen)
Bentleigh Greens 0
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Image courtesy of Jason Heidrich Photography