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Jan 7, 2012

Victory in top six after beating Jets

Melbourne Victory showed incoming coach Jim Magilton he will have plenty to work with, climbing temporarily into the A-League top six with a 2-1 win over 10-man Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

Two own goals to luckless Jets defender Byun Sung-Hwan sealed the Victory's win as the home side put aside Friday's sacking of coach Mehmet Durakovic to snap a three-match losing streak.

While there was luck in the goals, there was class in the performance and promise for the newly-appointed Magilton he can potentially guide Victory to the finals in the club's remaining 12 games.

With ex-Northern Ireland international Magilton watching on from the stands ahead of starting his role on Monday, assistant coach Kevin Muscat took the reins and his tactical tweaking added some cutting edge.

Danny Allsopp, promoted to the starting line-up and used as a wide attacker by Muscat, was excellent all night while Kewell played mainly on the left and was busy and inventive throughout.

The duo combined for the Victory's opener on seven minutes - Kewell's superb cross turned by Byun into his own net under pressure from Allsopp.

In an end-to-end match with chances galore, the Jets had two excellent chances to equalise within a minute midway through the first half.

Goalkeeper Ante Covic made two important saves, stopping Ryan Griffiths header before snaffling a Labinot Haliti volley after a deft Griffiths chip set him free.

Soon after Victory striker Archie Thompson hit the post to cap a frenetic few minutes.

But with the Jets still in the match, it changed complexion in the second half when defender Tarek Elrich was sent off in the 53rd minute for a foul on goalbound Allsopp.

Referee Ryan Shepheard brandished a red card, convinced Elrich had denied Allsopp a clear goalscoring opportunity as the last defender.

Then Byun had the misfortune to find himself in the way of another dangerous cross - this time from Thompson in Kewell's direction in the 74th minute.

The ball across goal struck Byun running at full pace, deflecting the ball into the net to give the home side a 2-0 lead.

Newcastle gave themselves a glimmer of hope with Byun creating a goal with five minutes remaining, superbly taken by Ryan Griffiths.

But the Victory hung on, and climb into the top six, though there are three matches this round scheduled for Sunday.

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