Victory deny desperate AIS

Melbourne Victory have climbed to second on the National Youth League table with a 2-1 win against the AIS in Canberra on Sunday.

Melbourne Victory have climbed to second on the National Youth League table with a 2-1 win against the AIS in Canberra on Sunday.

Victory seized the opportunity in emphatic style with two second-half goals enough to leap ahead of the Newcastle Jets on the ladder following their 0-0 draw with Melbourne Heart on Saturday.

A cracking pace was set by the AIS early in the first half with some slick passing and ball control from the midfield which led to the first goal of the encounter.

Marc Marino was put through on goal by Liam Rose and opened the scoring, slotting home low to the goalkeeper's right from just inside the box on nine minutes.

The AIS kept the pressure on the Victory to create another opportunity shortly after with a shot from Rose curling ambitiously from outside the box to sail only whiskers past the target.

Rose proved difficult for the Victory defence to muster in the first half, controlling the flow of the game and finding runners off the ball to spearhead the AIS attack.

Following an accidental hand-ball from another menacing run from Rose, the AIS' Anthony Kalik received the first yellow card from the referee on 20 minutes for kicking the ball away.

Victory tried to expose the AIS defence on the counter-attack and fought hard to get into dominant field position.

A well-timed through ball presented Anthony Proia with the first clear goal-scoring opportunity for the visitors, his low shot gliding narrowly wide of the post.

A lapse in concentration by the AIS defence then allowed Victory to push forward, opening a chance for Francesco Stella to get away a thundering shot which forced goalkeeper Jordan Thurtell to pull off a theatrical diving save and push the ball wide.

Victory were unlucky not to score from the resulting corner as a tantalising cross met the head of Proia at the far post, making the goalkeeper scramble to see it go wide.

The AIS were then dramatically reduced to 10 men following a second yellow to Kalik for a poorly-timed crunching tackle late in the first half, leaving the referee with no choice but to send him off.

Stella came closest to levelling the scores as he found time to run into threating unmarked territory, enabling him to pull the trigger on a long-range effort that cannoned into the left post moments before half-time.

Victory used their advantage in numbers to create space and find rhythm early in the second half.

A looping ball saw John Maclean released down the wing with plenty of space to run into the box and pull the ball back for Proia to open the scoring for the away team on 54 minutes.

With pressure building on the AIS, Victory seized their chance to capitalise with Maclean neatly passing a bouncing ball over the goalkeeper's head to find the net following an innovative high through-ball.

The AIS squandered an excellent chance to hit back when Alexander Gersbach was fouled outside the box on 74 minutes. 

The resulting free-kick was well struck by Mark Ochieng, whose shot cannoned off the crossbar and back into the field of play.

The home team showed great resilience and continued to amount the pressure on the visitors despite being a man down.

A few careless tackles in the penalty box from the Victory in the dying moments of the match were waived away by the referee as the AIS desperately pushed to savour a point from the match which wasn't to be in the end.

STATISTICS Foxtel National Youth League Round 12 AIS 1 (Marc MARINO 9’) Melbourne Victory 2 (Anthony PROIA 54’, John MACLEAN 63’)

AIS: 1. Jordan Thurtell (GK) 19. Bright APPIA (8. Maskin DANIEL 60’) 18. Alexander GERSBACH 17. Anthony KALIK 11. Marc MARINO (25. Petrikles, FOTOKOPOLOUS 60’) 6. Matthew NTOUMENOPOULOS (15. Liam YOULLEY 58’) 12. Marc OCHIENG 23. Rocco PIZZATTA 16. Jordan PUDLER 22. Liam ROSE 21. George TIMOTHEOU

Melbourne Victory: 1. Keegan COULTER (GK) 2. Christian CAVALLO 12. Anthony DUZEL (5. Nick GLAVAN 60’) 8. Luc JEGGO (C) 4. James KARVELIS 14. Ethan MCGLINCHEY (6. John MACLEAN 45’) 15. Damien MISKULIN 19. Luka PRELEVIC (10. Kaan KORKMAZ 60’) 9. Anthony PROIA 3. Milos RIDESIC 20. Gian TAPIA 18. Francesco STELLA (OA)

YELLOW CARDS: 17. Anthony KALIK (AIS) 22’ 38’, 19. Bright APPIA (AIS) 55’, 15. Liam YOULLEY (AIS) 84’, Alexander GERSBACH (AIS) 89’, 15. Damien MISKULIN (Victory) 90’