Melbourne Victory substitute Nishan Velupillay has scored the winner in a fiery 2-1 away triumph over bitter A-League Men foes Adelaide United.
Velupillay’s and Italian teammate Francesco Margiotta both scored their first goals in the league on a heated Saturday night in Adelaide.
Their feats delivered Victory a deserved win, though a fortunate goal from Adelaide’s Jacob Tratt briefly squared the score.
The Reds remain winless – now with a loss and three draws – while Tony Popovic banks a third win from four starts as Victory’s coach.
“It was a fair result,” Popovic said.
“Nothing comes easy here for any team … but I think, overall, we deserved it.”
The Coopers Stadium clash was punctuated by eight yellow cards – including four in a five-minute explosion – and two for the game to Melbourne’s Jason Davidson, who was sent off.
Margiotta gave Victory the lead in the 59th minute when the 28-year-old was in the right place at the right time.
His influential teammate Jake Brimmer launched a thundering 20-metre shot which forced a brilliant diving save from Reds goalkeeper James Delianov.
The rebound fell to the creative Marco Rojas near the far post who popped the ball over his head into the area where Margiotta was standing unattended – he duly converted.
Just 11 minutes later, Adelaide’s Tratt was fortunately awarded a goal when he wasn’t even looking at the net.
Reds winger Ben Halloran aimed a well-struck shot which flew into a crowded penalty area and just brushed Tratt’s head before plopping over the goal-line.
But two of Victory’s subs combined eight minutes later to seal the win with Robbie Kruse issuing a gold-plated cross to the 20-year-old Velupillay, who tapped-in from a metre out.
Earlier, a simmering first half boiled over midway through when five yellow cards were given in 13 minutes, including four in a five-minute span.
Adelaide striker Kusini Yengi was first into the book in the 26th minute for a blatant dive when charging into the box – Victory’s Roderick Miranda, Davidson and Adelaide’s Isaias soon followed as tensions erupted.
United winger Ben Halloran also was cautioned in the 39th minute by referee Adam Kersey, who marched Victory’s Davidson for his second yellow card in the 88th minute for a studs-up challenge.
“We gave away far too much cheap possession when we weren;t even under pressure at times,” Reds coach Carl Veart said.
“Melbourne Victory have got a lot of good attacking players and they punished us.”