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Late free kick gives Victory point

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It was a dramatic night at AAMI Stadium on Saturday night as a late goal salvaged a point for Victory as they managed a 1-1 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers.

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The match was always going to be hard fought, with Victory and Wanderers being two of the best teams in the league, and not much separating them on the table.

The match went in ebbs and flows with one side producing before their opponent would take over and the result was attacking football.

Victory got the first chance of the match, just three minutes in, as Connor Pain was able to cut inside and take a shot, which was well saved by Ante Covic.

Nathan Coe was then forced in to a save and it was from the top shelf as Labinot Haliti was left wide open to head in a cross from Jerome Polenz but was denied by a top save from Coe.

In the 19th minute Victory could have hit the lead as Kosta Barbarouses was able to beat several defenders before sending in a ball for Pain, that he just could not do anything with, missing the target despite having the goal at his mercy.

That started a purple patch for Victory as the crowd got more involved in the match with Mitch Nichols and Barbarouses continually threatening Covic's goal.

As the half wound down the Wanderers wrestled back control of the match, and were denied cries for a penalty after Labinot Haliti went to ground in the box.

It was the visitors who should have hit the lead on the verge of half time as Tahj Minniecon beat his marker and crossed in to the box, leaving a scrap for the ball that ended when Haliti could only poke the ball over the bar, ending the half scoreless.

Melbourne Victory started the half the better side and had a penalty shout of their own turned down as Mark Milligan's shot was blocked by Nikolai Topor-Stanley, appearing to come off his arm in the process.

Such has been the story for Victory this season, they had their chances throughout the half, but looked to take too many touches, searching for perfection, blowing too many chances and they were made to pay for that.

Some poor work from Gui Finkler allowed Minniecon to steal possession which saw him find Brendan Santalab who was able to score with his first touch, giving the Wanderers the lead with 19 minutes to play.

Victory were forced to go on the attack, and they did, but it just looked like the trend was going to continue as they kept proving to be wasteful.

That was all until the third minute of stoppage time when a foul allowed Gui Finkler to step up and, again, show his worth to the club as he hit an impressive free-kick that gave Victory the point.

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