Melbourne Victory were confirmed as A-League premiers as they won the final match of the season to finally wrap up the title. Victory beat Central Coast Mariners 3-1 at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon to finish with a three point lead over Sydney FC.
Going in to the match it would have taken a 6-0 win for the Mariners to deny Melbourne Victory the title. Given the unlikelihood of that happening the match had a very jovial atmosphere with Victory fans already celebrating before kickoff.
Unsurprisingly Melbourne Victory started the match well, looking dangerous up front with Besart Berisha and Kosta Barbarouses looking likely. But there was also a solid performance at the back, with the defense keeping the Mariners locked in their own half.
Central Coast looked more in to the match as the half went on but they were never really able to get some great possession together. Despite that Victory just could not create any real clear cut chances rarely threatening Matthew Nash.
But after the half hour Victory really went for the match and they opened the scoring in the 31st minute. Daniel Georgievski was able to find space at the top of the box which allowed him to send a beautiful strike past Nash and in to the back of the net.
Just two minutes later Victory doubled their lead as a corner gave the Premiers their opportunity. The corner came in and found Archie Thompson who was able to get enough on the ball, nutmegging Nash to double Victory’s lead.
Now 2-0 down the Mariners started to look in the match and pushed to try and find a goal as the half wound down. The Mariners had their goal before the break as a free kick from Eddy Bosnar went through the wall which took a heavy deflection and beat the keeper to make it 2-1 at the break.
Victory came out from the break determined to restore their buffer and they scored straight away with Besart Berisha finally scoring his first goal at AAMI Park. Gui Finkler caught out Nash with a chip over the Mariners defense, allowing Berisha to run on to the ball and slide it in to an empty net to make it 3-1.
There was nearly an instant response for the Mariners as they had a golden opportunity in the 48th minute. Nick Fitzgerald was played through on goal, allowing him to have a chance but Lawrence Thomas came out and stole possession for Victory.
The second half was proving a more open affair as both sides were matching each other’s counter punches. It created an entertaining match as both sides were pushing for a goal with Nick Fitzgerald looking creative for the Mariners and linking up with Josh Rose who had a number of chances.
The Mariners were looking more dangerous in the middle of the half, but as time was running down Victory looked the more likely team. Despite that, the Premiership was already stitched up for Victory they didn’t quite go for it as the match ended 3-1.