Victory grab first win
A skilful goal to Robbie Kruse in the 20th minute was enough to hand the Melbourne Victory their first win of the season with an entertaining 1-0 victory over Gold Coast United at Skilled Park.
Robbie Kruse has given the Melbourne Victory their first victory of the season with a skillful 20th minute goal that would prove the difference against Gold Coast United at Skilled Park
Kruse-s goal was the highlight of the entertaining first half, and while he showed exceptional control to beat the keeper and score the goal from a tight angle, the assist from Carlos Hernandez was of equally high quality.
The Victory were the more composed of the two sides, and after taking the lead their experienced defence was good enough to hold out the home-side who were lacking firepower without injured forward Joel Porter and departing striker Shane Smeltz.
After two draws and a loss to start the season, Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick was just happy to have a win, which he felt his team had thoroughly deserved.
"It-s never an easy game up here. We were just happy to control the game from position."
"We had the possession, more shots on target and more corners and I just felt that whoever I brought on would do a good job." Merrick said.
Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg gave the Victory credit for their composure and tactics in defending their early goal for the win, but said his side were always going to struggle with an inexperienced front-line.
"We struggled up front, yes we did," he said.
"Some times miracles happen, sometimes they don-t, and today we were unsuccessful."
"Their experience at the back was too much for our youth up front."
The Victory were out strong early and after just two minutes Gold Coast keeper Glen Moss was forced out of his box to head the ball clear with Robbie Kruse and Mate Dugandizic bearing down on goal.
But after it was all Melbourne in the opening ten, the home side began to find some rhythm and Michael Thwaite had United-s first shot of the match with a header from the corner.
Robbie Kruse had been ineffective and wayward in the opening exchanges, but his match-winning goal at the 20-minute mark was all class.
Carlos Hernandez showed brilliant vision to roll a through ball between the United defenders and into the area. Timing his run well, Kruse accepted the pass, jinked past Moss with exceptional control and fired the ball into the back of the net.
The Victory were playing with greater confidence in the lead, but Gold Coast had the perfect opportunity to equalise in the 27th.
Adama Traore beat one Victory defender along the byline and shot from the tight angle, Michael Petokovic-s parry looped to Golgol Mebrahtu in perfect position, but his header from inside the 6-yard box went wide.
Hernandez had a great opportunity to add to the Victory lead before the half-time whistle, but from a direct free kick right in front and just outside the 18-yard he rocketed the ball fractionally high and over the bar.
First half blunderer Mebrahtu didn-t return for United in the second and Anderson joined him on the bench shortly after the resumption of play.
With replacements Ben Halloran and Andrew Barisic on the pitch, the Gold Coast were looking a more competitive side in the middle of the park, yet frustrated skipper Jason Culina still wasn-t receiving the support in attack that he needed.
For their part, Melbourne were content to protect the one-goal lead, and with plenty of men behind the ball the visitors allowed United to work in good field position.
To the final whistle Melbourne defended well against the largely ineffective home-side attack, and though far from their most entertaining performance in recent memory, the Victory were content with their away win.
Gold Coast United: 0 Melbourne Victory: 1 (Kruse 20)