Melbourne Victory vs. Wellington Phoenix Gestede double lifts Victory gloom and sends Phoenix bottom

Melbourne Victory vs. Wellington Phoenix Gestede double lifts Victory gloom and sends Phoenix bottom

Rudy Gestede thundered in headers either side of half-time as Melbourne Victory climbed off the foot of the A-League, overtaking opponents Wellington Phoenix, after a 2-0 win at AAMI Park. 

Melbourne Victory welcome Wellington Phoenix to the AAMI Park on Wednesday morning as the Australian A-League's basement sides go head-to-head.

The hosts are currently rooted to the foot of the table ahead of this one but could leapfrog their upcoming opponents with a positive result in midweek.

Ex-Premier League target man Gestede proved too hot to handle for the New Zealand outfit, powering in a pair of Jake Brimmer corners to score his first goals since arriving Down Under, on his second A-League start.

The towering 32-year-old nodded in Brimmer’s delivery to put Victory ahead three minutes into first-half stoppage time, his third headed attempt of the match, before racing over to celebrate his maiden competition goal with embattled coach Grant Brebner to close out a frantic first half.

The reason for the additional time was a continuation of Victory’s injury misfortune throughout the opening 45 minutes, as centre-half Dylan Ryan limped off after five minutes, Marco Rojas twisted an ankle midway through the first half, and Brebner’s other central defender, Ryan Shotton, was withdrawn at the interval.

The Victory have picked up just four points from their opening seven outings, leaving them in 12th position in the A-League standings.

A 1-0 loss to Newcastle Jets last time out means Brebner's side have lost three consecutive fixtures, piling the pressure on their 43-year-old head coach.

Much was expected of Melbourne ahead of the current campaign, but they have been falling way below those expectations so far. They will be viewing this encounter as the perfect opportunity to kickstart their season and surge up the division.

The Phoenix had a very successful 2019-20 campaign, finishing third in the top flight before being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

However, this season has been much more difficult. The New Zealand outfit are currently occupying 11th spot, just one point and one place above their midweek hosts. 

Louis Fenton's late equaliser against Western Sydney Wanderers over the weekend ended a run of two consecutive defeats for Ufuk Talay's men and will have given them confidence coming into this one.

The Sky Stadium side will have been aiming for another top-six finish on the eve of the season and will be hoping three points on Wednesday gets them back on course for another playoff push. 

The only potential injury concern for Brebner is with right-winger Marco Rojas. The 29-year-old picked up an injury last time out and remains doubtful for the visit of Wellington.

Melbourne will be hoping to see their summer signings begin to produce their best form and may hand Gestede his first start of the season as they search for some good results.

Former Brighton & Hove Albion striker Tomer Hemed is ruled out of this one alongside Jaushua Sautirio and Luke DeVere, who are keeping the Israel international company in the treatment room.

Manchester City academy graduate David Ball has served his one-match suspension and could return to the starting line-up on Wednesday.

Melbourne Victory possible starting lineup:
Crocombe; Roux, Shotton, Ansell, Traore; Butterfield; McManaman, Brimmer, Kirdar, Kruse; Gestede

Wellington Phoenix possible starting lineup:
Sail; Fenton, Payne, McGing, McGarry; Davila, Rufer, Lewis, Piscopo; Waine, Muratovic