The Western Sydney Wanderers have been torn apart by clinical Melbourne Victory tonight at ANZ Stadium.
Josep Gombau faced a selection headache in central defence which he looked to solve by shifting fullback Jack Clisby into the heart of defence alongside Michael Thwaite. Marcelo Carrusca was elevated to the starting lineup with Roly Bonevacia forming an attacking midfield duo.
The changes did little to help the Wanderers on either side of the ball. After a half-hour of back & forth ineptitude from both sides, where neither side could do much to challenge the goalkeepers, the Victory put together the first moment of class in the 35th minute. On a counter-attack Besart Berisha found Kiwi international Kosta Barbarouses with an outlet ball after Herd missed a tackle, Barbarouses flew down the right flank and squared up Raul Llorente, then fired through the attempted block. The ball looked to have taken a deflection but it may not have made much difference to the end result.
The Wanderers thought they had an equaliser right after the break, as Josh Risdon fired in a cross to the 6 yard box that marquee striker Oriol Riera tapped home. Steven Lustica then destroyed great lead up work by Carrusca & Bridge when he skied a shot deep inside the Victory penalty area.
Melbourne went two in front with Berisha answering some of his recent criticism with an assist from Leeroy George. After the Wanderers turned the ball over in midfield, Mark Milligan lofted a ball over the top of the Wanderers defence who were caught square. George cut back onto his opposite foot twice to beat the cover defence of Llorente & Clisby then laid the ball off neatly to Berisha whose shot was helped home with another deflection.
Llorente's failure to close down hurt the Wanderers last week in Wellington, and having already been at fault for one goal due to his failure to mark, you would have thought he would have avoided getting caught out again. Instead when Barbarouses picked up the ball 20 yards from goal in the 92nd minute, Llorente stood back and watched as the man of the match blasted a shot into the top corner, giving Janjetovic no chance.
The action capped off an abysmal night defensively, and with the little quality the side had going forward wasted by poor positioning, a failure to attack the ball or wayward shooting, the 3-0 scoreline reflected the clear technical dominance of the visiting side. The loss leaves the Wanderers with little chance of finishing higher than 5th, and if they continue their slipshod football it's more likely they will drop out of the top 6.
The Wanderers play Perth Glory next Sunday in Western Australia and Perth will give themselves a huge chance of ending their 5 game losing streak.