In one of the most anticipated Melbourne Derbies yet, Melbourne City sent a strong message to the rest of the A-League. City continued their stellar form, managing a 2-1 victory over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
The match was tight throughout the first half as the two sides looked to shut things down and stop their city rivals. In the 14th minute Besart Berisha let off a shot from 10 yards which dipped before being saved by Thomas Sorensen who tipped it over the bar.
Melbourne City punished Victory for that missed chance seven minutes later after some nice work from Ben Garuccio. He made a great run down the left and crossed in for Stefan Mauk who hit a perfect diving header from close range.
In the 23rd minute Victory had a shout for a penalty as Gui Finkler and Oliver Bozanic linked up well to play in Jason Geria. He went to ground near Harry Novillo, with the Victory fans going up but Geria got up and played on.
On the half hour City doubled their lead with Aaron Mooy and Mauk linking up well to create the chance. Mooy played Mauk in on goal, but his shot was deflected before Paulo Retre ran on to the ball and slammed home the second.
It could well have been three in the 33rd minute as a Mooy free-kick seemed destined for the net. The ball headed to Erik Paartalu before Berisha ran on to it, acting in defence and headed the ball over the bar.
In the closing stages of the half, Victory started looking lively as they finally had chance in the match. Melbourne City paid the price for not playing the whistle as the defence stopped expecting a flag as Fahid Ben Khalfallah found Berisha wide open at the far post, making it 2-1 at half-time.
Victory came out from the break determined to get back on level terms as they went on the attack from the opening whistle. Three minute in, Finkler sent in a ball for Kosta Barbarouses who sent in a powerful header which was saved phenomenally by Sorensen.
Sorensen was on stellar form for City, making yet another save in the 52nd minute as Berisha sent it right to him. Four minutes later it was another Sorensen save as Finkler’s free kick went over the wall but it was well saved by Sorensen at full stretch.
The second half was all Melbourne Victory and in the 75th minute they were millimetres away from getting an equalizer. Khalfallah sent in a through ball for Berisha, who went for a shot but was denied by a great sliding challenge from Jack Clisby to keep City in front.
Victory kept up the attack and with ten minutes play they were a mere coat of paint away from equalizing. Things were getting more and more ridiculous and Archie Thompson sent a ball in for Khalfallah who sent in a powerful curling strike, which finally beat Sorensen but came off between crossbar and post and clear.
Four minutes from time was the moment of the match as Berisha was sent through and forced Sorensen off the line. Berisha rounded him, but sent the ball in to the side netting but it appeared that Sorensen handled the ball in the build up, but the referee disagreed, keeping it 2-1 and giving City a monumental win.