Victory keeps pressure on Sydney by downing Jets
MELBOURNE Victory is on the verge of becoming the A-League's most prolific team after firing a shot across the bows of pacesetters Sydney FC on Monday night.
Another Victory goal spree secured a 4-2 win over the plucky Newcastle Jets at Simonds Stadium, to return to second and draw within seven points of Sydney FC.
Victory's 30 goals - 26 of which have come in the last nine games - leaves it just one goal behind barnstorming Sydney FC, which has had a superior defence.
The Geelong crowd was treated to an attacking exhibition, with Besart Berisha surpassing Archie Thompson's A-League record of 90 goals and James Troisi and Marco Rojas tearing up the Jets, with the midfield and central defensive pairing of James Donachie and Alan Baro providing a solid backbone.
There was no catching focused Victory players off-guard, who alerted an unsuspecting groundsman that his penalty box measurements were off, forcing a remark his narrow original effort.
The game took a while to get going but the caginess vanished once Victory was awarded a penalty on 29 minutes when Jets defender John Koutroumbis left his arm outstretched from Fahid Ben Khalfallah's cross.
Berisha stepped up and blasted high left, with keeper Jack Duncan picking the right way but unable to get there.
The striker was then involved in a heated exchange with Wayne Brown after a strong challenge from the Englishman, but the striker's determination set the tone as they surged forward.
He released Troisi, who fired in a high, hard cross that Rojas acrobatically volleyed in five minutes after the opener.
Heated words were exchanged on the benches, which resulted in Victory assistant Jean-Paul de Marigny being sent off for the second time in a few weeks.
Victory pushed for a third before the break with Baro sending a header from Rojas' corner just wide.
Ben Khalfallah finally netted a third just after the restart, but the referee disallowed it for an earlier foul.
The Jets were then unlucky not to get their own penalty when the ball seemed to striker the hand of captain Carl Valeri.
Ruthless Victory showed no compassion, netting a third on the hour when Duncan fumbled Ben Khalfallah's shot over the line.
The Jets scored within a minute when Chinese substitute Lei Lei Ma struck caught Victory's defence off-guard with a strike from outside the area.
But Victory were unperturbed, with Troisi capping a brilliant display by blasting the ball into the top right corner after shoddy Jets defending.
The Jets persisted and reduced the margin to two when Brown's distance strike deflected off Valeri and into the net.
There were nervy moments thereafter but Victory held out.