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2018/19 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Ola Toivonen (22')

Ola Toivonen goal sees Melbourne Victory beat Western Sydney Wanderers

A towering header from Swede Ola Toivonen gave Melbourne Victory a 1-0 A-League away win over Western Sydney at a home ground the Wanderers will be happy to leave behind.

Finals-bound Victory, who had already secured third spot before the last round, created most of the first-half attempts. They weathered a spirited Wanderers' fightback in the second half to notch an eighth away win of their campaign.

It was the Wanderers' 13th loss in 22 games at ANZ Stadium over the past two seasons, during which they won there only five times.

The introduction off the bench just before the hour mark of retiring club appearance record-holder Mark Bridge cheered the majority of the 7919 crowd. Western Sydney fans will look forward to returning to Parramatta next season at their rebuilt stadium.

While Victory's position couldn't change whatever the result, coach Kevin Muscat took the opportunity to rest players and fielded a strong side including most of their stars. They thoroughly deserved a half-time lead earned by Toivonen's bullet header from behind the penalty spot after a pinpoint cross by Thomas Deng.

Keisuke Honda volleyed just wide, Terry Antonis had a shot cleared close to the line and Raul Baena and Georg Niedermeier were both off target just before the break. The Wanderers' best first-half chance fell to Alexander Baumjohann, who had a close-range attempt foiled by goalkeeper Matt Acton.

A more urgent and threatening Western Sydney had several shots at goal in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Bruce Kamau almost equalised within two minutes of the restart but his short-range effort was blocked again by Acton. Tate Russell and Baumjohannn both lifted shots over the bar and Roly Bonevacia had two attempts blocked.

Victory should have gone 2-0 up midway through the half when Kosta Barbarouses broke clear downfield on a counter attack, but goalkeeper Jack Greenwood kept his shot out.

Barbarouses put another effort in the net, but VAR confirmed an original offside call and Toivonen and substitute Elvis Kamsoba had headers off target as Victory looked to make the game safe. The Wanderers' Mitchell Duke put a diving header wide in the last few minutes.

Australian A-League Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS