Brebner helps Victory to 1-0 win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brebner helps Victory to 1-0 win

By Guy Hand 09/11/2006 11:18:49 PM Comments (0)

It took 88 minutes to do it, but Melbourne Victory finally broke down a resolute Perth Glory for a 1-0 win at Telstra Dome to further increase its A-League lead.

After it looked like the struggling Glory was going to put a stick in the spokes of the freewheeling Victory, a wonder strike from Scottish midfielder Grant Brebner proved the decider.

Brebner rocketed a 25-metre right-footed thunderbolt into the net two minutes before fulltime to finally break down a Glory defence which looked like it would deliver the second-bottom side a much-needed point.

Winless for a month and without four key players, the Glory frustrated the Victory all night, defending desperately in numbers and successfully blunting the league's best attack.

So suffocating was the defence, the Victory rarely managed a meaningful shot on goal - Socceroo striker Archie Thompson having a few half chances at best.

Freed by a Danny Allsopp through ball, Thompson's lob over goalkeeper Tommi Tomich nine minutes before halftime went over the bar.

Then in the 78th minute, Thompson beat four defenders in a mazy run across the edge of the box before spraying his shot well wide.

But with time and patience evaporating, up stepped Brebner, sending the crowd of more than 22,000 into raptures with a cracker that gives the Victory a 12-point buffer at the top of the ladder.

Its margin may be cut by Saturday night though, when second-placed Adelaide plays third-placed Queensland in Brisbane.

Even with just under half the season remaining, the Victory could have virtually sealed a top four spot with Thursday's win.

Melbourne now has 31 points - a tally which would have earned it a finals berth in the A-League's inaugural year.

But despite being 18 points clear of the fifth-placed team with nine home-and-away matches to play, Victory coach Ernie Merrick refused to accept his side had made certain of a top four berth.

Only a catastrophic collapse will stop the Victory playing finals football, but Merrick was having none of it.

"Not yet, a couple more wins," Merrick said.

"We'll leave it (talking finals) for a couple more results to go our way."

It is the Victory's second great escape in as many weeks after a late equaliser with nine men for a 3-3 draw against Central Coast last week.

Glory coach Ron Smith admitted his side - minus Stan Lazaridis, Bobby Despotovski, Simon Colosimo and goalkeeper Jason Petkovic - had come with the express intention of grabbing a draw.

"The game plan was to get a point, and we almost did it," Smith said.

"It's not a great way of playing football, but under the circumstances ... at least tonight they had to work for it."

Hero Brebner said the Victory expected more teams to follow Perth's lead and chase a draw when visiting the league leader.

But he said despite that and the Victory's commanding league lead, Melbourne had no intention of changing its attacking style.

"Teams are going to be happy coming here and nicking a point because that'll give them a bit of belief," Brebner said.

"We've set ourselves standards. We won't settle for anything less than a win - home or away.

"Ernie's drilled into us that we keep going, as we did the other night, until the 90th minute."

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