Melbourne Victory thrashed the Western Sydney Wanderers 4-0 at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.
From the first minute the hosts were on the front foot and opened the scoring after 15 minutes via a Keisuke Honda header, following a great piece of team play.
A first goal for midfielder Raul Baena extended the lead 20 minutes later, when the Spaniard found himself inside the box and did not hesitate before firing his shot into the bottom corner.
In the first half Alexander Baumjohann created a chance and came close with a free kick, but other than that Markus Babbel’s men were quiet.
Kosta Barbarouses broke his season duck after scoring a 39th minute penalty with a calm bottom right finish, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and all but sealing the result.
Kevin Muscat’s men dominated the possession with 63% and 11 shots with five on target, compared to the Wanderers’ six with three on target.
Western Sydney looked to have a lifeline early in the second half, but ultimately Jaushua Sotorio was offside in the buildup.
The Victory went on to score a fourth thanks to Terry Antonis, who smashed his shot past Vitor Janjetovic to seal a 4-0 Victory.
Coming into the match, four of the Wanderers’ five points had come from away fixtures, but come half-time any chance of causing an upset in Melbourne looked impossible.
Their tough start to the season continued, as the side have already made trips to Perth and Wellington as well as facing Sydney and Newcastle. The Wanderers played well in the defeat to the Jets and this tough task against the Victory was an opportunity to make a statement and show some promise and fight, which has been missing for the last couple of seasons.
The visitors were helpless in all aspects of the game and never looked like troubling Muscat’s squad. On countless occasions the Victory were able to cruise past the opposition midfield and defence, where no initiative or accountability was visible in the side and strangely very little attention was paid to Honda. Things need to change sooner rather than later if the Sydney side want any chance of appearing in the finals.
After losing the opening two matches the Victory now sit second on the table with 12 points and are playing like genuine contenders to go back-to-back. The class of marquee signings from the back to the top continue to impress.
The way Honda and Terry Antonis have complimented each other early in the season has been pivotal in controlling the tempo of matches. The Japanese international has assisted Antonis twice and the 25-year-old returned the favour by setting up Honda for the first tonight. Honda has already recorded four goals and three assists, while Antonis has racked up three goals and two assists. The pair have been directly involved in eight of Victory’s 14 goals, while tonight Honda finished the match with 70 passes at 85.7% accuracy.
For the fourth Honda, Barbarouses, Toivonen and Antonis all combined for a fantastic team goal. The Japanese maestro found the Kiwi international on the right-wing, who picked out the Swede to tee up Antonis’ finish.
Four wins in a row for the Melbourne outfit, coupled with the exceptional team performances as well as individual efforts from the likes of the quartet mentioned above, places the Victory in a strong position early in the season.