Western United overcomes red card to beat Melbourne Victory 1-0

Josh Risdon scored the winner as Western United defeated Melbourne Victory 1-0 in the ALM.

Josh Risdon scored the winner as Western United defeated Melbourne Victory 1-0 in the ALM. Photo: AAP

Melbourne Victory’s first A-League Men game since its fans’ violent pitch invasion has ended in a whimper and a dour 1-0 loss to a 10-man Western United.

Victory marquee Nani was a surprise absence with an upper-leg injury and Josh Risdon’s header in the first minute of first-half injury time proved enough to make the difference at AAMI Park.

United’s second win on the bounce was gutsy, given Nikolai Topor-Stanley’s 32nd minute red card while Victory’s attack was largely toothless.

The defeat capped off a horror 10 days for Victory after its fans violently invaded the AAMI Park pitch on December 17, forcing the abandonment of their derby against Melbourne City.

Only United fans and members were technically permitted to attend Monday’s game under interim sanctions placed on Victory.

Amid a heavy police presence, there were no reports of Victory active fans attempting to sneak into the Boxing Day game, though there were some spectators, especially children and young fans, who entered the ground in Victory shirts.

The Victory active area was blacked out with tarpaulins while the first five rows at each end of AAMI Park were also blocked off.

Victory strikers Nick D’Agostino and Bruno Fornaroli dragged good chances wide in the 23rd and 30th minutes before the game had its first flashpoint.

Topor-Stanley needlessly leapt into a challenge for the ball with Chris Ikonomidis, catching the Victory winger in the stomach with his studs.

The veteran defender received his second red card of the season.

Seven minutes later, United striker Aleksandar Prijovic beat Broxham and appeared through on goal, but the Victory veteran just recovered in time to force the shot wide.

United struck courtesy of a Victory defensive lapse.

James Troisi swung in a corner and Victory full back Kadete went up for a header but the ball instead sailed over him to an unmarked Risdon at the back post, who headed home the easiest of goals.

In the 62nd minute, United came desperately close to doubling its lead.

Paul Izzo made a big save to deny Neil Kilkenny and the ball rebounded out to Troisi, who smacked his follow-up off the crossbar.

Victory pressed late and Stefan Nigro spurned a golden chance in the 86th minute while Jamie Young denied D’Agostino at the death.


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