The Brazilian’s magic with the dead ball was on display once more as he handed his side the three points in the dying minutes at AAMI Park.
With only five minutes remaining, Finkler stroked a free kick into the top corner from the edge of the area as Victory finally broke down a resolute Jets unit.
It appeared if the Jets were going to earn a deserved point with their defensive formation containing Victory’s attack until the Brazilian free kick expert struck.
1-0 Finkler (85′) – After Besart Berisha was fouled on the edge of the penalty area, Finkler stepped up to curl the free kick into the top right corner to send Victory fans delirious. Newcastle goalkeeper Ben Kennedy was standing on that side of the goal but free kick was placed with pinpoint precision.
The late goal sparked the Jets into action with Victory goalkeeper Nathan Coe forced to make saves from Jeronimo and Scott Neville; the latter a brilliant save to his right from a stinging low shot just before referee Ben Williams blew the final whistle.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
Victory’s win broke a run of three consecutive score draws in this fixture with the Jets last defeating the blue side of Melbourne in October 2012.
During Victory’s onslaught of attacks in the early stages of the second half, Fahid Ben Khalfallah cut inside from the left hand side to smash a stinging shot off the crossbar with Kennedy well beaten.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
Jets coach Phil Stubbins deployed his side in a 3-5-2 formation with young wingers Andrew Hoole and James Virgili playing in unfamiliar wing back roles. The setup was designed to contain Victory and create attacks on the break. Ben Khalfallah gave Virgili a torrid time on Victory’s left with the young Jets wing-back conceding the foul on Berisha that led to the winning goal.
THE FINAL WORD
Victory has the chance to close the gap on league leaders Perth when they host the Glory in Geelong on Friday while the Jets host Melbourne City on Tuesday after only a three-day break.
Melbourne Victory: Coe (GK), Geria, Ansell, Broxham (C), Galloway, Mahazi (Makarounas 33′), Valeri, Finkler, Khalfallah, Barbarouses (Thompson 71′), Berisha
Newcastle Jets: Kennedy (GK), Welsh, Madaschi, Neville, Hoole, Kantarovski, Virgili, Caravella, Pepper (Jeronimo 87′), Griffiths (C) (Carney 74′), Montano
Scorers: Finkler 85′
Red cards: None
Yellow cards: Madaschi 2′, Finkler 22′, Virgili 57′, Ansell 59′, Montano 71′
Conditions: 21C, Dry
Attendance: 20,801 @AAMI Park