Victory up and running courtesy of Antonis stunner
Terry Antonis scored a second-half stunner as Melbourne Victory edged Newcastle Jets 1-0 in Saturday night’s Grand Final rematch.
The Victory midfielder received a pass from Keisuke Honda before rifling in a fierce low drive – his second in as many matches – to settle an intense arm-wrestle at McDonald Jones Stadium.
That strike ensures Kevin Muscat’s side are up and running for the 2018/19 Season after commencing the defence of their Championship with back-to-back losses.
A barrage of Newcastle pressure evoked shades of May’s Grand Final in the opening stages, and the visitors were perhaps fortunate to escape unscathed.
Ernie Merrick’s side came closest when Ronald Vargas fired Lachlan Jackson’s cutback against the crossbar, while the Jets fullback also saw Victory stopper Lawrence Thomas gather his powerful header from a corner.
Having absorbed Newcastle’s swashbuckling opening salvo, Victory started the second half with purpose and broke the deadlock when Antonis flashed a powerful and precise drive past Jets goalkeeper Glen Moss from long range.
Newcastle tested Victory’s resilience to the maximum in their push to restore parity but, as it was in last season’s Grand Final decider, were left to rue their failure to capitalise on an early spell of dominance.