Reds suffer opening round loss to Victory

Melbourne Victory have made an ominous start to their A-League Women title defence, thumping Adelaide United 5-1 at AAMI Park, but will sweat on a knee injury to captain Kayla Morrison.

Star signing Lynn Williams was sitting in the stands, as her international clearance hadn’t come through in time, but the United States forward would surely have liked what she saw as Victory made light work of the Reds.

Victory will await scans on Morrison who went down holding her knee in the 33rd minute and after initially returning to the field, was substituted in the 42nd minute and later headed down the tunnel in tears.

Victory snatched the lead in the 11th minute when Reds goalkeeper Annalee Grove mis-hit a clearance and Lia Privitelli pounced to bury a tap-in.

Grove made herself big to deny Privitelli a second goal in the 17th minute, but Victory doubled their lead a minute later.

Matilda McNamara bundled Catherine Zimmerman over in the area and while Grove palmed away Morrison’s penalty, the centre-back reacted quickest to bury the rebound.

In the 23rd minute, Victory added a third from a corner.

Zimmerman’s flick-on at the front post went past everyone but Claudia Bunge was on hand to bury it at the back stick.

In the 39th minute, Adelaide’s Fiona Worts, who caused Victory problems all day, hit the crossbar.

In the subsequent passage of play, Victory took the ball down the other end and Zimmerman looped home a delightful long-range strike.

Victory recruit Courtney Nevin was withdrawn at half-time with hamstring soreness.

Adelaide came out of the break with renewed intensity and scored in the 65th minute when Condon and Dawber caused some chaos in Victory’s defence and Worts coolly finished from close range.

But four minutes later, Amy Jackson found Bunge at a corner and while the defender’s shot hit the crossbar, the ball deflected to Privitelli to head home and round out Victory’s win.

Victory will hope Williams, who has joined on a short-term guest loan deal from NWSL club North Carolina Courage, and Melina Ayres (hamstring tightness) will be available for next Sunday’s clash with Melbourne City.

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