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Victory win big, but lose young gun


Melbourne Victory’s best regular A-League season result in their history has been tempered by the loss of one of their brightest prospects.

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Kevin Muscat’s side were rampant in the final stages of their 6-1 win over Wellington Phoenix last night, scoring four in the final 20 minutes.

Besart Berisha scored a hat-trick and Marco Rojas was involved in everything, including two of his own as Victory humbled the Phoenix at Etihad Stadium.

The win was Muscat’s biggest A-League triumph as coach and the biggest in the club’s history – except for their 6-0 grand final defeat of Adelaide United in 2007.

But the one player that wasn’t involved against Wellington was Sebastian Pasquali, who will be leaving the club in the coming days.

The Wangaratta teenager will sign with Dutch club AFC Ajax, one of the world’s best incubators of young elite talent.

It’s an incredible opportunity for the 16-year-old, who burst onto the scene with a stunning cameo against Juventus in the International Champions Cup in June.

He didn’t make a start for Victory but impressed in a string of substitute appearances, and set up Victory’s injury-time winner over Adelaide United a week earlier.

Under A-League rules, he is unable to sign a deal until his 17th birthday, which comes next week.

It means Victory has missed out on the chance to fight for Pasquali, who is free to head wherever will take him.

While Muscat is disappointed to be losing a midfield talent, and the chance to help nurture the Socceroos prospect in the A-League, he was magnanimous enough to see the other side of the coin.

“Naturally Seb’s not 17 so legally he can’t sign a contract with us,” he said.

“They’re the laws. Unfortunately for us but fortunately for the boy. He’s got a great opportunity.”

Pasquali will join fellow Victory youngster Thomas Deng in the Netherlands, after the defender agreed to join PSV Eindhoven earlier this year.


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