- Written by Walter Pless
- Published: 28 December 2012
Photo: Marco Rojas scored twice and made the other Melbourne Victory goal [PlessPix]
(A-League, AAMI Stadium, Melbourne, Friday, 28 December 2012)
Melbourne Victory 3 (Rojas 34, 74, Thompson 45)
Newcastle Jets 2 (Zadkovich 64, Heskey 73)
HT: 2-0 Att: 21,054 Ref: K Griffiths-Jones
Melbourne Victory: Coe - Foschini, Broxham, Ansell, Traore - Bru (Dilevski 64), Finkler (Cernak 83), Celeski - Rojas, Flores (Nabbout 77), Thompson (Sub not used: Velaphi)
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti - Gallaway, Chapman, Mitchell (Brown 87), Ritter - Zadkovich, R Griffiths, Brillante (Pepper 85) - Virgili, Heskey, Goodwin (Taggart 85) (Sub not used: Kennedy)
Photo: It was Billy Celeski's brilliant pass that enabled Marco Rojas to set up Archie Thompson for a goal [PlessPix]
Melbourne Victory are in third place and just 4 points behind A-League leaders central Coast Mariners after beating seventh-placed Newcastle Jets 3-2 in a thrilling match at AAMI Park this evening.
Melbourne Victory were without Adrian Leijer and Mark Milligan, but it was the brilliance of attackers Marco Rojas and Archie Thompson that inspired the home side to an important win.
Rojas scored two outstanding goals and set up the other for Thompson.
The Jets struck back in the second half after being 2-0 down at the interval, with goals by Ruben Zadkovich and Emile Heskey making it 2-2 with just over a quarter of an hour remaining.
Both sides missed gilt-edged chances, and both goalkeepers made vital saves in a game that saw end-to-end action with quick counter-attacks.
Ryan Griffiths and Craig Goodwin missed two relatively easy headers in the first half, while keeper Mark Birighitti saved brilliantly from Thompson in the 19th minute.
Rojas opened the scoring in the 34th minute when he cut in from the left and unleashed a dipping, swerving right-foot shot from outside the box that beat Birighitti all ends up and flew into the far top corner of the net.
A well-worked routine on the stroke of half-time made it 2-0. An inch-perfect pass by Billy Celeski from deep in midfield put Rojas away on the right and he did not even have to look up as he cut the ball inside for the unmarked Thompson to fire home from dead in front.
Zadkovich pulled a goal back for the Jets in the 64th minute with a 30-metre right-footed drive that nestled inside the left-hand post.
Heskey kept up his impressive scoring record when he equalised in the 73rd minute. A shot from the left was partially blocked and, when the ball rebounded to Heskey, the powerful striker volleyed home off the underside of the crossbar.
Photo: Melbourne Victory's Spase Dilevski came on as a substitute for Bru in the64th minute [PlessPix]
Thompson launched a lightning counter-attack for Victory within a minute of that goal and involving Guilherme Finkler and Marcos Flores. In attempting to play Finkler through - the Brazilian was in an off-side position - Flores’s pass ricocheted off a defender and the ball flew to Rojas, who in the blink of an eye spun on the ball and unleashed a marvellous right-footed volley that gave Birighitti no chance and made it 3-2 for the home side.
Both defences lived precariously after that but there was no further score and Melbourne Victory collected the three points from their seventh win of the season.