Two goals in three second half minutes from Melbourne Victory’s New Zealand international Marco Rojas proved the difference at AAMI Park on Saturday as Newcastle Jets fell to a 2-0 away defeat.
Rojas’ deflected free kick in the 52nd minute combined with his crisp 54th minute strike from close range ultimately separated the two sides in the Victorian capital.
Mark Jones’ outfit had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring in just the fourth minute of play when starting debutant Andy Brennan raced to the edge of the area but sent his strike from a good position wide of Matt Acton’s goal.
James Troisi threatened in both the 9th and 17th minutes of the match however on both occasions couldn’t trouble Jets custodian Jack Duncan.
Jets winger Andrew Hoole tested Acton with a free kick ten minutes before the half-time break, however the Victory ‘keeper did well to punch the ball away from danger.
Troisi had the first chance of the second stanza when he lifted a shot over Duncan’s crossbar three minutes after the break, however it wasn’t long after that Rojas made his mark on the match.
After Fahid Ben Khalfallah was fouled outside the area, Rojas sent a sizzling strike into the Jets’ wall that forced the ball to change course, wrong-footing Duncan before nestling in the back of the net.
Two minutes later Victory doubled their advantage. After a mix up in the Jets’ backline Rojas rampaged forward and made no mistake in dispatching a clinical strike beyond Duncan to make the score 2-0.
On the hour mark Duncan produced a huge save to deny Troisi from range, and in the 78th minute the impressive Jets ‘keeper dropped low to his left to gather Besart Berisha’s shot.
Between those efforts Devante Clut forced Acton into a fine stop from his left foot bomb from outside the box.
Hoole found Brennan in the 79th minute but the Tasmanian couldn’t direct his effort on target, while Nick Cowburn forced Acton into action again in the 81st minute of the contest as the Jets searched for a way back into the game.
Late on Jason Hoffman had an effort cleared off the line by James Donachie.
Morten Nordstrand was substituted at half time as a precaution due to tightness in his hip flexor, while Ben Kantarovski equalled Tarek Elrich’s Hyundai A-League appearance record for the Club when he entered the match in the 63nd minute for defender Iain Fyfe.
Melbourne Victory 2 (Rojas 52’, 54’)
Newcastle Jets 0
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Alan Milliner
Newcastle Jets: 3. Jason HOFFMAN, 6. Steven UGARKOVIC, 7. Andrew HOOLE, 10. Wayne BROWN (C), 12. Andy BRENNAN (8. Mateo POLJAK 81’), 16. Nicholas COWBURN, 19. Morten NORDSTRAND (18. MA Leilei 46’), 20. Jack DUNCAN (Gk), 23. Devante CLUT, 26. Iain FYFE (5. Ben KANTAROVSKI 63’), 28. John KOUTROUMBIS
Substitutes not used: 13. Ivan VUJICA, 30. Pierce CLARK (Gk)
Yellow cards: Nordstrand, Brown, Hoole, Ma
Red cards: Nil
Melbourne Victory: 2. Jason GERIA, 4. Nicholas ANSELL (17. James DONACHIE 72’), 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 7. Marco ROJAS, 8. Besart BERISHA, 10. James TROISI, 11. Mitchell AUSTIN (14. Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH 38’), 13. Oliver BOZANIC (9. Max BEISTER 76’), 15. Alan BARO, 21. Carl VALERI (C), 40. Matthew ACTON (Gk)
Substitutes not used: 16. Rashid MAHAZI, 30. Lucas SPINELLA (Gk)
Yellow cards: Baro
Red cards: Nil