Victory still challenging for second
Georg Niedermeier scored his first goal for Melbourne Victory to seal a 2-1 win over A-League bottom club Central Coast Mariners.
Victory ended their home season by rebounding from their midweek 4-0 drubbing in the Asian Champions League at the hands of Guangzhou Evergrande.
They will go into the final two rounds of the season two points behind Sydney FC in the battle a second-place finish that would earn a place in next year's Asian Champions League preliminary round.
Niedermeier delivered the win 11 minutes from time at AAMI Park as he converted a cross from Kosta Barbarouses.
Ola Toivonen had given the home side the lead, with Matt Simon levelling from the spot for the Mariners.
Keisuke Honda had a 25-yard effort well saved by keeper Ben Kennedy in the 12th minute, with the Japanese star then finding the side netting from Barbarouses' cross.
Victory went ahead with Toivonen's 12th league goal of the campaign midway through the first half, as he finished off after playing a one-two with Elvis Kamsoba in the penalty area.
Kennedy saved from Barbarouses and James Troisi before the break, but it was the Mariners who scored next when Thomas Deng tripped Simon who took the penalty himself and beat Matt Acton.
Leigh Broxham's strike flew just wide midway through the second half, with Victory then going ahead for the second time through Niedermeier.
Acton made a superb save late on to deny Stephen Mallon and preserve the home side's lead.
Coach Kevin Muscat was pleased what he saw from his team, particularly after the disappointment of their Chinese trip.
"It was a massive response from the playing group and in the end we got our just rewards with the result, but first and foremost it was a performance that gives you that opportunity," he said.
Victory are 2.75 to win their next game against Adelaide United, who are 2.50, with the draw 3.50.
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