Wanderers claim ALM win over Victory

Western Sydney Wanderers have breathed life into their Isuzu UTE A-League campaign with a crucial 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory.

Second-half goals from Tate Russell and Dimi Petratos, who converted an 80th-minute penalty, gave Mark Rudan’s side their second win of his tenure.

The result moves the Wanderers to one win outside of the finals spots and weakened the Victory’s position in the table.

“I’m really happy with the result but football’s a funny game because I thought the performance wasn’t as good as the last few games,” Rudan said.

“I think you saw a difference in attitude and personnel. It was very tight and we knew it would be a tight game.

“I was really happy with their output and their effort.”

Tony Popovic’s outfit barely laid a glove on his old club and they have not won a league game since Boxing Day.

Popovic’s side lifted the FFA Cup earlier this month but ever since have struggled to find their groove. 

“It’s been three games since the cup win and we are making some mistakes and teams are punishing us,” he said. 

“They’re soft goals that we conceded today so in a game like this, a tight game, we need to be better in those details.” 

In what must have been the most drab first halves in Isuzu UTE A-League history, the Wanderers mustered just two shots on target to Victory’s zero in front of a crowd of 4231 at Commbank Stadium.

The Wanderers thought they had got the breakthrough just after half-time when James Troisi made a darting run down the byline before crossing to Terry Antonis.

Antonis fired past inside Ivan Kelava’s near post but the celebration was shortlived after Troisi was ruled to have taken the ball dead in the build-up.

But Troisi’s misfortune mattered for little when Russell popped up to open the scoring in the 55th minute.

Making his first Isuzu UTE A-League start, 20-year-old centreback Phillip Cancar played a long ball over the top of the Victory defence with Kelava undecided whether to come or stay on his line.

His hesitation worked in Russell’s favour as he cushioned his header past the Victory keeper and into the net. 

The goalkeeper’s day went from bad to worse when he raced to cut down a through ball to Bernie Ibini only to bring the Wanderers striker down in the box. 

Petratos stepped up from the spot and buried the penalty with ease before wheeling away to celebrate with the home supporters.