Stacks on: Western United celebrate after scoring the game winning goal during their A-League match against Melbourne Victory at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night. Photos: DAVID CROSLING/ AAP IMAGE

Western’s Sanchez breaks Victory hearts

March 2, 2021 BY

VICTOR Sanchez was the hero as his ninety-fifth-minute strike secured a dramatic 4-3 win for ten-man Western United over A-League rivals Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.

Rudy Gestede looked to have grabbed at least a share of the points for Victory at Marvel Stadium when he took advantage of Tomislav Uskok’s sending off to level the scores with eight minutes left to play.

Uskok was controversially handed a second yellow card on 64 minutes when he was judged to have clipped Victory winger Robbie Kruse, and debated the decision as he made his way off the pitch.

It ultimately mattered little when Spanish midfielder Sanchez pounced on a loose ball in the box in the final minute of injury time to score his second goal of the match and put the full-stop on a night of high drama.

It sparked wild celebrations, with coach Mark Rudan charging onto the pitch to join in. He was subsequently shown a yellow card but could not wipe the smile off his face post-match.

“I didn’t think I was going to be one of those coaches that jumps onto the field and runs with his players but you get caught up in the emotion of it all and we love this game, each and every one of us,” Rudan said.

“I love my players and love my club and staff, and I felt the need to join in the celebrations with them.”

Victory’s Rudy Gestede heads truly in the 82nd minute to bring his side level.

Callum McManaman opened the scoring for Victory with a sweet volley on the end of a beautifully crafted move, which began with the impressive Dalibor Markovic.

Sanchez squared the ledger before the break and United were in the box seat with a two-goal advantage when Besart Berisha twice nodded home crosses from Italian magician Alessandro Diamanti in the second half.

At that point, Rudan felt Western were “cruising”.

But Jacob Butterfield breathed life back into the match with a long-range strike and the see-sawing derby took another huge twist when Uskok was given his marching orders.

Former EPL striker Gestede – the two-goal hero in Victory’s much-needed win over Wellington four days earlier – blew one chance when he fired a header straight at Western keeper Filip Kurto from close range.

He didn’t waste the second, making it 3-3 with time still left to mount a case for Victory to grab a second successive win.

It wasn’t to be as Sanchez bobbed up with one of the final kicks of the game to give his side all three points, leaving Victory coach Grant Brebner gutted.

“Everybody connected with the club is going to be feeling that as a sore one,” Brebner said.

“To lose it in the manner that we did is a hard one to take.”

 

-BY SHAYNE HOPE/ AAP