Toivonen to the rescue as Victory, Phoenix play out thrilling draw
Melbourne Victory are back on top of the Hyundai A-League ladder after a pulsating 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix on Friday night.
Ola Toivonen tucked away his fifth goal in eight matches to cancel out David Williams’ splendid opener for Phoenix and extend Victory’s unbeaten run to eight matches.
Kevin Muscat’s side leapfrog Perth Glory onto the Hyundai A-League summit on goal difference, and will end 2018 on top of the pile should the Western Australians lose to Central Coast Mariners on Monday evening.
Wellington, meanwhile, are now five unbeaten and demonstrated why the New Zealanders might just be the real deal under Mark Rudan after an ultra-competitive showing at the home of the reigning Champions.
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The visiting Kiwi outfit caused the Victory all sorts of problems throughout the thoroughly entertaining AAMI Park clash.
Mandi curled a free kick agonisingly wide and Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas smothered the dazzling advances of Sarpreet Singh on the stroke of half time.
Kosta Barbarouses and Terry Antonis came closest for the hosts with speculative efforts, while James Troisi came within a whisker of latching onto a Barbarouses cross.
Roy Krishna flashed a left-footed effort wide after leaving Thomas Deng for dead on the hour mark, but strike partner Williams thrashed the visitors into a deserved lead after curling an unstoppable effort past Thomas minutes later.
Phoenix stopper Filip Kurto remained relatively untroubled until Toivonen steered in Antonis’ shot from close range to ensure Victory a share of the spoils.
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