PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 30: Storm Roux of Melbourne Victory Jason Davidson of the Perth Glory and Ola Toivonen of Melbourne Victory all go up for a header during a corner kick during round 23 match between Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory at HBF Park on March 30, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 30: Storm Roux of Melbourne Victory Jason Davidson of the Perth Glory and Ola Toivonen of Melbourne Victory all go up for a header during a corner kick during round 23 match between Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory at HBF Park on March 30, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

Victory beat Glory in A-League title race

The A-League premiership race is still on with Melbourne Victory scoring a goal in each half to beat league leaders Perth Glory 2-0 at HBF Park.

Glory had the chance to move nine points clear of the second placed Sydney FC with a win on Saturday in their first home match in six weeks with four rounds remaining.

Instead, Melbourne moved to within a point of the Sky Blues ahead of next Saturday's clash at the SCG with their arch rivals.

It was Perth's second loss of the season in front an A-League record crowd for the venue of 17,856.

Perth might have taken 19 shots to 10, but only got six on target with Melbourne scoring the only two goals.

The first came courtesy of a wonderful free-kick from Ola Toivonen in the 25th minute.

The second came when Keisuke Honda converted a penalty given for handball against Scott Neville courtesy of the VAR in the 67th.

Glory might have created plenty of opportunities in the opening half, the best thanks to Chris Ikonomidis and Joel Chianese, but only one shot was on target with Victory up 1-0 at halftime.

 

Keisuke Honda of the Victory (second left) celebrates a goal with teammates. Picture: AAP Image/Tony McDonough
Keisuke Honda of the Victory (second left) celebrates a goal with teammates. Picture: AAP Image/Tony McDonough

 

That was on the back of the brilliant free-kick from Toivonen. The Swede curled it up and over the wall giving Liam Reddy no chance to save it from sailing into the left corner.

That remained the only goal of an eventful first half before Chianese continued to create chance after chance for Perth, but failed to convert them.

Diego Castro went a lot closer with a free-kick that rebounded off the top crossbar but then Melbourne made the decisive play of the match.

A Terry Antonis cross cannoned into the upper arm of Glory defender Neville with VAR determining a penalty. Japanese legend Honda had no trouble keeping it along the ground to wrap up the scoring.

Victory coach Kevin Muscat couldn't fault his team's performance that has them breathing down the neck of the top two teams Sydney and Perth.

"We knew we would have to earn anything we get from here and I thought we played with some real courage and heart," Muscat said.

"To score first and then apply pressure in the appropriate moments was important, and we defended resolutely at the appropriate moments. We earnt everything we got."

 

James Troisi of the Victory and Diego Castro of the Glory compete for the ball. Picture: AAP Image/Tony McDonough
James Troisi of the Victory and Diego Castro of the Glory compete for the ball. Picture: AAP Image/Tony McDonough

Glory coach Tony Popovic also was happy with how his team played, but it was just one of those nights where they couldn't find the back of the net. "There are positives but obviously the negative for us is that when you create that many chances you don't score," Popovic said.

"We've had many good days here and this isn't a bad day in terms of performance. It's a shame that the fans go home pleased and proud of how the team is playing but not happy without the three points.:



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