Margiotta fires Victory to win over Glory

Ed Jackson |

A drought-breaking goal for Italian forward Francesco Margiotta has secured Melbourne Victory a 1-0 win over A-League Men’s strugglers Perth Glory at HBF Park.

Margiotta’s first goal in 12 matches in the 57th minute was enough to claim the win on Wednesday for Tony Popovic’s team against his former club.

The result lifts Victory up to third on the ladder, above Macarthur FC, and extends their unbeaten run to five matches heading into Saturday’s derby against league-leading Melbourne City.

It also came after a disrupted trip where the team’s flight into Perth was delayed, ensuring they did not arrive in their hotel until early on Wednesday morning.

“We’re very happy with the three points,” Popovic said.

“We had some real difficulties getting here. Flight was delayed for four or five hours … 3am our time in Melbourne by the time the players got to bed.

“We had some players that didn’t feel great, a couple under the weather. We had to take a few players off today that probably played a bit longer than they really should have.

“But, yeah, very happy with the character shown, the resilience through a real difficult 48 hours for us.”

The loss means Glory’s winless run has now hit 11 matches and they remain six points adrift on the bottom of the ladder and in serious danger of picking up the first wooden spoon in the club’s history.

Glory’s injury woes have also deepened with Spaniard Adrian Sardinero coming off after just eight minutes.

“The mentality and the effort, there’s been a massive shift,” Glory interim coach Ruben Zadkovich said.

“Whilst I’m extremely proud of the boys, I’m also still gutted for them because I feel they deserved more from that game as well.”

Despite relying heavily on inexperienced youngsters, Glory frustrated a near-full strength Victory in a goalless first half.

New Zealand international Marco Rojas smacked a post in the 26th minute with an effort from the edge of the penalty area that left Glory goalkeeper Liam Reddy stranded.

Just moments later Margiotta hit the same post with a stunning long-range free-kick.

The breakthrough eventually came for the visitors in the second half when Jake Brimmer ran in behind the Glory defence before cutting back to Margiotta, who emphatically slammed home his finish for his first strike since a 2-1 FFA Cup win over Adelaide United in January.

Perth battled hard for a equaliser with substitute Tyler Vecchio going closest with an effort which fizzed past the far post in the 74th minute.

Victory will now head back to Melbourne for Saturday’s derby while Glory face a trip to Zadkovich’s former club Newcastle on Sunday as they aim to end their winless run.