Nebojsa Marinkovic of the Glory and Rashid Mahazi of the Victory.
Nebojsa Marinkovic of the Glory and Rashid Mahazi of the Victory. Paul Kane

Victory pays price for failing to close out game

MELBOURNE Victory had the chance to go two points behind Sydney FC.

But losing two games in a week has left the gap at eight points at the top of the A-League ladder.

After taking the lead against Perth Glory in the second half, it looked as if Victory would be reducing the deficit and set up a bumper Big Blue on Australia Day at Etihad Stadium.

Yet a late collapse - to lose 2-1 - has highlighted the one difference between the two best teams in the competition.

"The biggest difference between first and second right now - and tonight's game proved it - when Sydney FC get in front they get the second one and they can hold off,” former Sydney FC captain Mark Rudan told Fox Sports.

"The only time they haven't done it was against the Mariners when they lost a 2-0 lead but they still ended up winning.

"Victory take a 1-0 lead away from home, in the second half mind you, and they allowed the opposition back into it. That's the biggest difference right now.”

Victory coach Kevin Muscat questioned the role of his goalkeeper in the collapse.

For the second time in just over a week, the positioning of Lawrence Thomas's wall has come under scrutiny after conceding free kicks against Brisbane's Dimitri Petratos and now Perth's Nebojsa Marinkovic.

"In general I'm in a bit of disbelief we didn't come away with the three points,” Muscat told Fox Sports. "We had a number of chances to increase the lead and we played really well.”

He said "some poor decisions” led to them giving away the two late goals.

In contrast, the Sky Blues will head to Thursday's A-League blockbuster full of confidence.

Key defender Rhyan Grant is suspended, but coach Graham Arnold is hardly concerned

"We've got depth,” Arnold said. "So it doesn't bother me.”


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