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Victory sends Postecoglou off with a win over Brisbane

Melbourne Victory 1 Brisbane Roar 0

James Troisi scores the Victory's only goal.

James Troisi scores the Victory's only goal. Photo: Getty Images

For most inventors, Version 2 of a product is superior to Version 1. The manufacturing process has usually been tightened, the research and development refined and the marketing of the item enhanced as a result of the earlier success.

But for periods of this match it looked as though the first iteration of Ange Postecoglou's footballing prototype — Brisbane Roar — was at least the equal, if not at times the superior, of his second development, Melbourne Victory.

In the end the production process followed the usual pattern, and the re-worked model — Victory — proved too good for the original model.

Outgoing Victory coach Ange Postecoglou.

Outgoing Victory coach Ange Postecoglou. Photo: Getty Images

James Troisi's second-half goal was enough to give Melbourne its first win of the season at the third time of asking, and send Postecoglou off into the sunset to his new job as coach of the Socceroos with a smile on his face.

The fixture gods had certainly shown they had a sense of occasion — or mischief — when these two teams were matched together for round three in the circumstances that presented on Friday night, Postecoglou's last game in charge of an A-League team before taking over the national team.

Brisbane, the team he had created and led to two titles before leaving in controversial circmstances to join Victory, wanted nothing more than to send him on his way with his tail between his legs.

Victory wanted nothing more than to end the brief, 18-month Postecoglou era in style, and not just to make their old boss feel happy. After two draws in their opening two matches it already trailed Brisbane, the only side with a 100 per cent record, by four points, and Victory needed to make up the distance.

Postecoglou might have left Brisbane some 18 months ago, but his legacy lives on. Many of the players remain the same, and they have retained the close-passing, quick-moving style that he inculcated at Suncorp during his two and a half seasons north of the Tweed.

Victory is still a work in progress, with several new players having been drafted in this season to add to those who were tried and discarded in Postecoglou's first campaign.

It showed as the Roar looked more cohesive in their close-passing game in midfield, although Victory, with its two wide men and attacking midfielders coming forward from deep tried to impose themselves in the forward third.

For the first 45 minutes both sides huffed and puffed but neither could quite blow the other one down. Each had a period in the ascendency when it seemed a goal might come, although neither created anything resembling a gilt-edged opportunity.

Brisbane began in lively fashion, retaining posession and building in dangerous areas but it was Michael Theo, the Roar goalkeeper, who was the first shot stopper in action, coming out swiftly to block former Roar forward Kosta Barbarouses after another ex-Brisbane man, Mitch Nichols, played him through. Roar's best opportunities came late, when Liam Miller headed over and Ivan Franjic's shot was plamed away by Nathan Coe.

The first half was an entertaining if tactical affair, full of thrust, counter-punch, attack and parry as the two sides pressed and probed, trying to find space.

The second began in similar fashion.

What the game needed more than anything was a goal, and it eventually came ten minutes after the restart — with Postecoglou's upgraded model making the breakthrough. Nichols linked with Archie Thompson, whose through ball found James Troisi. The fringe Socceroo's first touch looked to have been too heavy and took him away from goal but, with Theo advancing, Troisi managed to screw a shot back that went under the goalkeeper and in from the tightest of angles.

A goal to the good, Melbourne visibly relaxed and played with more pace and poise and began to dominate proceedings as the Roar found it harder to impose themselves.

Nichols shot drew a fine save from Theo, who then thwarted Thompson as he bore down on goal as Victory took control.

Postecoglou has succeeded tremendously in what in comparative terms is a cottage industry.

He must now work hard to find some new products and patents — he will, after all, be competing against some highly refined and lavishly funded multinationals for the foreseeable future.

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