Melbourne derby provides mixed fortunes

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The Melbourne derby reversed the fortunes of the two sides, with Melbourne Victory securing an unlikely 2-1 win over second-placed Melbourne City.

Victory played with a passion and verve throughout the evening, an attribute that has been lacking all season long, while City appeared underprepared and lacking the commitment to detail, particularly in the back third.

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Victory coach Marco Kurtz praised his team’s intensity, which was apparent both physically and mentally, particularly at the start of the game.

“I saw a really strong game in the first half, I think we stayed really compact and controlled the game and we scored two fantastic goals,” he said.

“It was what the players wanted to invest in the game that was the key for me today – as a team to be stronger than their opponent.

“In the end, we have to perform in every game in this way.

“We can do this, it’s hard work, it’s good to see the development from the team is going in the right direction.

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The only concern for Kurtz was Victory’s inability to further the lead in the second half.

Poor play from the City defence coupled with concentration lapses from keeper Tom Glover created opportunities for Victory all afternoon.

City coach Erick Mombaerts was fuming after the game with the nature of the two goals conceded – both to Ola Toivonen who positioned himself on the far post for two header goals, a trademark of the Swede’s style.

“We made some big mistakes,” he said.

“We know that [for] the cross Toivonen is always in the far post.

“We know this, we work on this, and we conceded, so that’s terrible.”

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Mombaerts also addressed the lack of mental toughness exhibited by his team, a trait that has plagued them in losses.

“We started without mental intensity,” he said.

“For me, it wasn’t a good performance.

“A game is a duel, and Victory, they wanted the challenge.”

City will now be looking to address the nature of their last two losses at home against teams outside the top six.

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Meanwhile for Victory the question moving forward will be whether they can replicate this intensity and passion without the extra motivation of a derby.

Whether this game remains a ‘Christmas miracle,’ uncharacteristic of these two teams season, or whether it’s a turning point of their fates will play out as the season enters the middle portion of the campaign.

Next weekend, Victory will have their first bye of the season, while City travels to Sydney to take on the Sky Blues in a battle of the top two sides.

The third and final derby of the season will take place in round 18 at AAMI Park.

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Michael Patane
Michael Patane
Student at Monash University and lover of all things football covering Melbourne City in 2019/20.

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