10-man Victory scrap out spiteful A-L draw

Victory and Phoenix players scuffle in a match in which 10 yellow cards and one red were handed out.
Victory and Phoenix players scuffle in a match in which 10 yellow cards and one red were handed out.

A 10-man Melbourne Victory have played out a spiteful 0-0 A-League draw with Wellington at AAMI Park.

Kristijan Dobras received a straight red card and was also one of seven Victory players booked - along with three Wellington counterparts - in an ugly, fiery clash largely controlled by the Phoenix without reward.

"I thought we dominated Victory from the first minute to the 90th minute. I thought we played some really good football away from home," Wellington coach Ufuk Talay said.

"I think we didn't create as many chances as we would have liked to but I thought we were the best team tonight."

Disappointed Victory counterpart Marco Kurz said he was not happy with how his team played.

Wellington controlled much of the first half but Victory's best chance came in the 17th minute when Ola Toivonen chested down a ball from Andrew Nabbout and forced a diving save from Stefan Marinovic.

The visitors should have capitalised on a poor turnover from James Donachie in the 28th minute. The defender sold Migjen Basha into trouble, with Jaushua Sotirio pinching the ball - only for the winger to pick the wrong forward option and allow Victory to scramble away to safety.

In the 45th minute, Victory had a good opportunity when Anthony Lesiotis found Robbie Kruse back-to-goal. The winger picked out Dobras, whose shot clattered off the post.

As the first half wound down, Sotirio dragged down Kruse just outside the box but Toivonen pulled his free kick wide.

The Phoenix almost took the lead in the 52nd minute.

Luke DeVere's header from a corner kick hit the crossbar and bounced on the line, with Adama Traore clearing it and Matti Steinmann blasting a shot over the bar.

The game looked set to be turned on its head in the 60th minute when Dobras was sent off.

Just outside his defence, Dobras ran under the ball and elected to kick it but, as he landed, his boot caught Cameron Devlin in the chest.

The midfielder was already on a yellow card but was given a straight red card by referee Stephen Lucas.

"I think it's not a red card," Kurz said.

"Two reasons - because he played with the side (of the boot) and not in this direction (with studs up facing forward) and he touched him when he came down and the opponent is not the tallest.

"For me, it's not a red card."

Victory's frustration was palpable - with Nabbout, Toivonen, Leigh Broxham and Jakob Poulsen all booked within nine minutes.

But Wellington failed to make the most of their numerical advantage and the home side held on.

Australian Associated Press