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Melbourne Victory cruise to defeat Wanderers

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Melbourne Victory overcame a host of absences to secure a 3-1 win in their midweek clash against Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park on Tuesday night.

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The match was originally scheduled for February but due to Melbourne Victory's Asian Champions League qualifying match, this encounter was brought forward to avoid the clash.

Victory were looking completely comfortable throughout the match, with a disappointingly lackluster performance from the 2013 Premiers.

Victory were missing Mitch Nichols and Pablo Contreras along with four young stars out on Under 22 duty, although the absence of Contreras may not have been a huge loss with his defensive work being hit and miss.

With all that in mind and the fixture congestion Western Sydney rested three star players including Shinji Ono but it turned out to be a poor decision as Melbourne Victory dominated the match.

Melbourne has been undergoing a heat wave, the kind that typically accompanies the tennis Australian Open in Melbourne in January, and so with over 40 degree heat but it didn't appear to effect the match as both teams still attacked with gusto.

It took just five minutes for the first chance to come as James Troisi was able to play Andrew Nabbout through but Dean Heffernan was able to get back for the Wanderers and clear the opportunity.

Six minutes later Nabbout was involved again as he cut the ball back for Kosta Barbarouses who was able to fool the Western Sydney defense but still shot wide.

The Wanderers had their first chance just ahead of the quarter hour as Kabena Appiah was able to get his shot away, which was cleared by Rashid Mahazi.

Gui Finkler came on for Victory in the 14th minute due to an injury to Nabbout which saw both sides lose their flow and struggle to get back in to the match.

In injury time Western Sydney went close to opening the scoring as Mark Bridge forced a save out of Nathan Coe before Nikolai Topor-Stanley headed right at Coe on the corner to leave it scoreless at halftime.

Melbourne Victory started the second half well and in the 52nd minute they had their goal as Rashid Mahazi sent the ball for Barbarouses and crossed to the far post where Archie Thompson scored the opener.

After the hour mark Victory made it two as Leigh Broxham found Barbarouses who left Nikolai Topor-Stanley mesmerized and then slotted past Ante Covic.

Western Sydney tried to attack but Melbourne Victory remained strong defensively keeping the visitors out.

Three minutes in to stoppage time Western Sydney grabbed a consolation goal as Tomi Juric, who started on the bench, came off the bench, and got behind the Victory defense.

Unfortunately for the Wanderers Victory put the lead back out to two one minute later as Finkler was able to make a run and poke home another goal to seal the 3-1 result.

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