Two sublime goals from marquee man Shinji Ono has inspired the Western Sydney Wanderers to a thrilling win over Melbourne Victory at Parramatta Stadium.
Two sublime goals from marquee man Shinji Ono has inspired the Western Sydney Wanderers to a thrilling 2-1 win over the Melbourne Victory at Parramatta Stadium on Tuesday night.
Ono's two moments of magic came either side of a Spase Dilevski goal to make it a perfect start to 2013 for the A-League's new boys as they leap-frogged Victory into third spot on the ladder.
After Ono gave the home side a deserved lead at the break with a brilliant volley, Victory looked like they would escape with a point when Dilevski equalised 18 minutes from time.
But Ono was to have the final say seven minutes later, curling in a pin-point right foot shot from outside the box past the outstretched hand of Nathan Coe and into the corner of the net.
It was just reward for the home side, who dominated for long periods and created the best chances of a pulsating contest.
Ono was substituted out of the game in the dying minutes to a standing ovation from the 13,659 fans as the Wanderers made it five games without defeat.
Victory were dealt a blow inside seven minutes with playmaker Gui Finkler forced off with a knee injury.
And the home side should have compounded that setback by opening the scoring just a minute later through leading goalscorer Mark Bridge.
Youssouf Hersi's headed cross eluded the Victory defence and found its way to Bridge at the back post but he blazed over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Melbourne's best opportunity of the half arrived 10 minutes before the break to the in-form Marco Rojas, but his shot from the edge of the box was comfortably saved by Ante Covic.
It was the only real moment of concern for the Wanderers defence in the first half as they continued to apply the pressure and got the breakthrough four minutes before the break through a wonderful piece of skill from Ono.
After Coe's poor clearance up field was headed back towards the Victory goal by Nikolai Topor-Stanley, the former Japanese international's class took over.
Ono controlled the ball on his right foot, flicking it up twice before unleashing a left-foot volley that went through the legs of Victory skipper Adrian Leijer and into the bottom corner of the net.
It was Ono's third goal of the season and easily his best to give the hosts a deserved lead at half-time.
After some stern words from coach Ange Postecoglou, Victory showed more purpose after the break but were still struggling to create any clear cut chances.
If anything the home side should have extended their lead on a couple of occasions.
First, Victory were lucky not to concede a penalty when Bridge's shot appeared to strike the arm of Leijer inside the box midway through the half.
Three minutes later Hersi looked set to double the lead when he raced onto Mateo Poljak's through-ball and rounded Coe, only for Adama Traore to scurry back and clear his goal-bound shot to safety.
Victory looked to have salvaged something from the game when Dilevski was given too much space on the edge of the box to bury a sweet left-foot shot past Covic.
But Ono stepped up 11 minutes from time, with a sensational winner to complete a superb individual performance and continue the Wanderers' fairytale season.
Bet365 Man of the Match: Shinji Ono The Wanderers' marquee man showed why he is so highly thought of in world football circles with two stunning strikes, one a goal of the year candidate, Adrian Leijer meanwhile is still mesmerized.
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Ono 42, 79) Melbourne Victory 1 (Dilevski 72)
Crowd: 13,659 @ Parramatta Stadium