21/04/2024

Rudy Gestede celebrates with his Victory teammates. Image: @gomvfc. Twitter

Steve Kean’s tenure as Melbourne Victory manager began in a chaotic 5-4 win over The Western Sydney Wanderers. In the process they may have restored the form of a key player.

Steve Kean’s tenure as Melbourne Victory manager began in a chaotic 5-4 win over The Western Sydney Wanderers. In the process, they may have restored the form of a key player.

Ben Fomali scored a brace and Robbie Kruse was dangerous but it was maligned striker Rudy Gestede that Kean singled out for praise.

“When you’ve got Rudy on the pitch, some people might not think he had an impact, but when he’s on there sometimes he ties up two or three defenders.” 

Kean coached Gestede previously at Blackburn Rovers and was effusive about his impact.

“It’s not a coincidence that Ben Folami’s got more into the game, Krusey’s looked good in the game, Callum McManaman’s looked good in the game.

That’s because Rudy is in there and he can retain the ball. He can hold it up and bring other people into the game so I thought he was great tonight”

Big Ambitions Did Not Go to Plan

Gestede arrived in the A-League full of confidence and hoping to dominate.

A combination of injuries and poor form has restricted him to nine appearances and three goals so far this season.

Against Western Sydney, he looked a different player. A beautiful piece of control teed up Jacob Butterfield for his goal and Victory’s fifth of the night.

Despite the win, Victory was nearly undone by familiar defensive problems. The Wanderers raced back into the game and nearly levelled the scores

Melbourne have conceded 46 times this season with three of those coming in the last 15 minutes on Friday night.

Incoming manager Tony Popovic has been given control over list management and recruitment. McManaman, Gestede, and Butterfield are all under pressure as underperforming high-profile signings.

Six games are remaining until he takes over. If Kean’s faith in Gestede is repaid it could restore the A-League reputations of both men and Melbourne Victory.

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