Victory regains top spot

A three-goal second half by Melbourne Victory has seen them beat Adelaide United 3-2 in their Hyundai A-League clash at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.

A three-goal second half by Melbourne Victory has seen them beat Adelaide United 3-2 in their Hyundai A-League clash at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.

The Victory trailed 2-1 after Cassio slotted a brilliant free kick at the 66th minute but they rallied and scored twice in three minutes to record an amazing win away from home.

At 81-minutes Kevin Muscat slotted his second penalty of the contest and then at the 84th minute Billy Celeski finally found an opening in a desperate Adelaide defence.

United blocked a couple of attempts but Celeski managed to shunt the ball across the line from close range.

Adelaide had initially taken a 1-0 lead after Cristiano earned his side a penalty kick midway through the first half.

Dodd stepped up to the spot and his shot just beat Michael Theoklitos' left hand.

The referee then called the kick back but Dodd had no trouble knocking it into the back of the net for a second time.

Melbourne lifted its intensity after the break and earned its first penalty kick in similar circumstances. Rody Vargas was met solidly by Cristiano in the box and took several minutes to get off the turf.

Muscat was more spritely in his actions however - he quickly took the penalty and hammered it straight for the equaliser.

After scoring, the Reds' perennial bogey man quickly collected the ball, ran to a pocket of Victory supporters and let loose with some almighty celebrations.

The result broke a two-game losing streak for the Victory while the Reds will have no time to reflect on the loss as it travels to Japan for the first leg of its ACL final on Wednesday.

Earlier it was a willing and entertaining first half with both sides putting together some menacing plays in attack.

Danny Allsopp and Tom Pondeljak were particularly dangerous for the visitors with both making 17-year-old goalkeeper Mark Birighitti earn his keep.

At the 25th minute Pondeljak's found some space only metres from goal but his shot smashed into the right hand post.

Allsopp's best chance came 12 minutes later with the nimble Victory player evading traffic to set up a free shot. He got good connection but his shot was blocked by Birighitti.

The Reds' Brazilian players were in good touch with Cassio giving off some deft passes, Alemao was controlling the ball under pressure while Cristiano was a good target around the 'D'.

Apart from the penalty, Cristiano had United's best attempt for the half. He weaved right and then left before getting a clear shot which he sent left of its desired target.

Melbourne came out all guns blazing in the second half with Evan Berger threatening the goals in the opening minutes after the break.

And then two shots in quick succession were stopped by the quick reflexes of Birighitti.

The young goalkeeper had no answer to Muscat's penalty however.

Cassio struck back for the home side but the Victory just kept on coming.

Victory coach Ernie Merrick said it was 'deflating' to concede the first penalty but added the players showed great character to come from behind twice to win.

"We decided to really go for it, it was three points or nothing. We really played with two central defenders and pushed Kevin into a defensive midfield role and said to the other three midfielders to just go for it," he said.

"We decided also to pressure the backline at every opportunity because we wanted to raise the intensity because we knew the Adelaide boys must be tired with their tremendous schedule and it worked well for us."

United coach Aurelio Vidmar said his players' performance was a dip from the norm but he couldn't fault their efforts considering their heavy workload.

"When you look at the course of the game, over the 90 minutes, we probably didn't deserve anything tonight. We were just a little bit flat which is understandable," he said.

"Melbourne played a very smart game, very quick tempo game and we were just a little bit late to just about everything tonight."

Adelaide United 2 Dodd 28- (pen), Cassio 66' Melbourne Victory 3 Muscat 55' (pen), 81' (pen), Celeski 84' @ Hindmarsh Stadium. Crowd: 13191