Gold Coast stun Victory

Undermanned Gold Coast United have claimed an upset 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night to stay in touch with the top two.

Undermanned Gold Coast United have claimed an upset 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night to stay in touch with the top two.

Playing without Bruce Djite, Tahj Minniecon, James Brown and John Curtis, against a Victory side boosted by the return of star striker Archie Thompson from an eight-month layoff, the visitors attacked for 15 minutes after half-time and grabbed their winner thanks to a Rody Vargas own goal.

Rewarded for their enterprising play straight after the resumption, Miron Bleiberg’s team then sat back again, much as they had in the opening half, content to get men back and attack on the counter.

Gold Coast’s third win on the road gives them 12 of their 21 points from six games away from Skilled Park and while they remain fourth, behind Central Coast on goal difference, their seventh clean sheet ensured they are still the best defensive team so far having conceded only seven goals in 12 matches.

Melbourne meanwhile had the positive of Thompson’s return from the knee injury he suffered in last season’s grand final but his fellow striker Robbie Kruse suffered a thigh injury that may force him to the sidelines.

After an uneventful opening 10 minutes a free kick against Jason Culina for fouling Kruse on the edge of the box gave Carlos Hernandez an early sighter and while he tested former team-mate Glen Moss, the shot-stopper made the save.

On the quarter-hour Moss was called on again when Kevin Muscat floated in a quick free kick, punching clear but after Vargas headed it back into the box Adrian Leijer’s shot on the turn was blocked by Michael Thwaite.

Kruse wound up for his first shot on goal on 21 minutes, drawing a fine diving save from Moss after going for the far corner of the net, while Kruse almost fed Tom Pondeljak sliding into the box but the defence beat him to the ball.

Gold Coast’s first chance came in the 26th minute when Culina crossed for Ben Halloran but Muscat got there first while Mate Dugandzic looked certain to score when Pondeljak put him through after Kruse had been blocked but the youngster’s shot deflected over.

Gold Coast’s best two efforts came in the closing stages of the half when firstly Culina chipped just wide of Michael Petkovic’s goal and then Halloran blasted a foot to the right while Hernandez had the final attempt after Muscat set him up but he too shot wide.

Thompson came on when play resumed but after receiving a rousing reception from the 15,534 in attendance, the home fans were left stunned within 10 minutes when Gold Coast scored.

Adama Traore charged up the left flank and his superb cross looking for Joel Porter was instead reached first by Vargas, who watched in horror as his bullet header intended to clear the danger beat a stranded Petkovic at his near post.

With 26 minutes left Kruse and Thompson linked up before Thompson crossed looking for Marvin Angulo but Caravella just reached it first to save the day and Kruse shot wide in the closing stages but there simply was no goal for the hosts.

Melbourne Victory 0
Gold Coast United 1 (Vargas og 55)