March 02, 2015 12:32:17 UK
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat felt his side should have done better at both ends of the pitch after they lost 3-2 at home to Wellington Phoenix.
It was all set up for Victory to give their fans a treat at AAMI Park, with striker Archie Thompson making his 200th appearance for the club and top spot in the table the reward if they beat the Phoenix.
But despite twice taking the lead, through Scott Galloway and Kosta Barbarouses, Muscat’s side came away empty-handed as Wellington scored twice in the space of nine second-half minutes to secure their first A-League win away to Victory.
There was little the home side could do about the Phoenix’s first goal, when Roly Bonevacia curled a superb free-kick into the top corner.
But they failed to deal with a set-piece which led to Michael Boxall’s header to make it 2-2, and they left themselves vulnerable at the back to Boxall’s breakaway that set up Nathan Burns for the winner.
“It goes without saying that we’ve got to defend set pieces better,” said Muscat, whose side are 3.25 to win the Grand Final. “Having said that, we can’t just point the finger because we had a number of chances to score at the other end as well.”
Taking of the defending for Boxall’s goal, the Victory coach added: “Someone shouldn’t be unmarked in that area so close to goal. But there were a number of other things we could have done better as well.”
French central defender Matthieu Delpierre’s return to action encouraged Muscat, who has been left short-handed at the back by the sale of Adrian Leijer to Chongqing Lifan.
Out with a foot injury since October, Delpierre came on as a substitute with 15 minutes left.
Muscat said: “We were hoping they would have been better circumstances to get him on. He’s been making steady progress and another week of training should put him in a good position (to start).”
Victory face arguably their most important game of the season on Saturday against leaders Perth Glory, where Victory are currently at 1.72 and the Glory 4.60.
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