City come out on top in feisty Melbourne Derby

-

The contentious Video Assistant Referee emerged as the hot topic of the derby, as Melbourne City overturned a lone Keisuke Honda goal to win 2-1 against Melbourne Victory at Marvel Stadium.

A VAR call saw City awarded a penalty, nearly two minutes after referee Kurt Ams awarded them a free kick right outside the box. Ritchie de Laet followed up Berenguer’s failed effort from the spot to cancel out Honda’s goal, and added one more later in the game, courtesy of Riley McGree. Victory fans will feel aggrieved by the VAR call, but fans around the league were relentless to point out the helping hand the system gifted them in the 2018/19 Grand Final.

With the result, Melbourne City successfully maintained their record of winning in the opening week since the 2011/12 season.

Embed from Getty Images

Melbourne Victory lined up in a 4-1-2-1-2 formation, with James Troisi given the nod by Kevin Muscat to start in the hole further up the pitch. Captain Keisuke Honda was paired up deeper in the midfield with Terry Antonis instead.

It took less than 10 minutes for the derby to spark into life. Terry Antonis’ misplaced cross looked destined for top corner, but Galekovic was alert to tip the effort wide

An initially cagey affair saw Victory dominate large bouts of possession, until a certain Japanese player popped up shortly before the half hour mark. Following a series of unchallenged passes, Storm Roux floated in a ball into City’s box from the left flank. Honda rose the highest between two City defenders to head it past a hapless Galekovic, to open his account in the A League.

The controversy of the much-adored VAR arose again in the 40th minute. Fornaroli was brought down in Victory’s penalty box, and referee Kurt Ams rewarded City a free-kick. While players from both sides mulled around the box, the referee blew for the VAR to be called into action, two full minutes after the offence was committed. A penalty was subsequently awarded to the irritation of the 40,504 strong crowd. Lawrence Thomas saved Florin Berenguer’s initial effort, but could do nothing to stop De Laet finishing from close range.

Embed from Getty Images

City emerged from the half looking the hungrier side but Victory’s composure in the middle of the park soon saw the latter reign supreme once again, with James Troisi striking the woodwork in the 64th minute.

Against the run of play, City capitalised from a lethal counter attack in the 69th minute. Luke Bratten delivered a laser pass into Riley McGree’s path, and the Puskas nominee finished sublimely into the bottom corner with his first touch of the game.

Shortly after, Kenny Athiu came close to levelling the books, but his volleyed shot inside the box wide. Honda was also denied his brace by Galekovic, who was alert to tip the Japanese’s shot well outside the box.

Late in the game and through extra time, Galekovic’s services was repeatedly called upon to see City through to their first win of the 2018/19 A League campaign.

Embed from Getty Images

Melbourne Victory 1 (Keisuke Honda ’28)

Melbourne City 2 (Ritchie de Laet ’40, Riley McGree 70′)

Marvel Stadium

Referee: Kurt AMS
Assistant Referees: Wilson BROWN & Daniel ILIEVSKI
Fourth Official: Shaun EVANS
VAR : Craig ZETTER

Melbourne Victory: 20. Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 3. Corey BROWN, 5. Georg NIEDERMEIER (14. Thomas DENG 91′), 22. Nick ANSELL, 2. Storm ROUX, 15. Raul BAENA (5. Leigh BROXHAM 85′), 8. Terry ANTONIS (23. Jai INGHAM 87′), 4. Keisuke HONDA (C), 10. James TROISI, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 7. Kenny ATHIU

Unused subs: 1. Matthew ACTON (GK), 21. Carl VALERI

Melbourne City : 18. Eugene Galekovic, 2. Ritchie DE LAET (C), 4. Harrison DELBRIDGE, 5. Bart SCHENKEVELD, 15. Kearyn BACCUS, 17. Anthony CACERES (8. Riley MCGREE 67′), 19. Lachlan WALES (39. Anthony LESIOTIS 84′), 23. Bruno FORNAROLI, 25. Iacopo LA ROCCA, 26. Luke BRATTAN, 27. Florin BERENGUER (7. Rostyn GRIFFITHS 75′)

Unused subs: 1. Mark BIRIGHITTI, 51. Idrus ABDULAHI

 

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Ngau Kai Yan
Ngau Kai Yanhttp://ngaukaiyan.com
Journalism undergrad at Monash University, Kai is a multimedia journalist covering Melbourne Victory. Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund. Once "stole" Shinji Kagawa's plane ticket.

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required