It was a Gui Finkler special on Thursday night as Melbourne Victory recorded a 2-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners AAMI Park.
Finkler opened the scoring after 16 minutes after some fantastic build-up play with Oliver Bozanic. The Brazilian played it to Bozanic who had his back to goal, with the midfielder controlling the ball before a delightful flick set-up Finkler to slot past Paul Izzo.
Victory's attacking midfielder doubled their lead just three minutes later after Daniel Georgievski was fouled just outside the box. Finkler stood up and curled one of trademark free-kicks around the wall and past the helpless Izzo.
Central Coast were lucky to have eleven men on the pitch for the second-half after striker Roy O'Donovan escaped a red card following a late and reckless studs up challenge on Victory centre-back Leigh Broxham.
Star striker Besart Berisha was missing for Victory due to 'soreness', with 19-year-old George Howard making his starting debut up-front. The youngster put in a good shift and was replaced by Connor Pain on 69 minutes.
Victory had a few more chances to kill off the game but Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Connor Pain could not convert, with the Mariners scoring what proved to be consolation through Matthew Sim in the last minute of normal time.
The reigning champions held on in stoppage time in-front of their 16,669 supporters at AAMI Park to move top of the A-League table - albeit likely to be just temporary.comments