City claim crucial three points in Melbourne derby

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Melbourne City have won their first derby against Melbourne Victory in more than a year after downing their crosstown rivals 2-1, as they cling to second place on the A-League ladder.

City scored the first two goals of the game through Florin Berenguer and Jamie Maclaren to establish the lead and despite a late Victory challenge, it was enough to claim three points.

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The win moves City four points clear of Perth Glory who have two games in hand.

Adrian Luna set up City’s first goal of the evening, surging down the right flank before playing the ball into Berenguer who waltzed in for the first goal of his A-League career, hammering it into the bottom left corner.

Moments later Victory almost responded with Ola Toivonen looping a long pass to the back post, however, a diving Tom Glover made the save.

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In the 25th minute Migjen Basha created another scoring opportunity for Victory, delivering a spot-on corner kick to the face of goal but Storm Roux’s header missed.

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A back pass free-kick against City almost ended in disaster when Tom Hoogland slid into a Toivonen assist only to be denied by a diving Glover save.

Up the other end, Craig Noone almost doubled City’s lead but before he could take his shot a last-gasp sliding tackle from James Donachie deflected the ball clear.

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In the half’s extra-time a crude tackle from City captain Scott Jamieson, on Elvis Kambosa, saw him awarded a yellow card.

The half ended with City up 1-0 and after the break they came out firing, eager to hold onto their lead.

Nathaniel Atkinson set sail from just outside the penalty area in the 49th minute however his strike was off target.

In the 55th minute Victory would inject Robbie Kruse and Marco Rojas into the game as they looked to change the dynamic.

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Minutes after entering Kruse unloaded a long-range strike at goal, forcing Glover to make the save.

Berenguer redeemed himself moments later, executing a brilliant back-heel pass to Maclaren who nailed the ball into the back of the net.

Victory struck back immediately, with Toivonen converting a free kick that slipped straight through the fingers of Glover.

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In the 84th minute Kruse limped off the field clutching his hamstring, forcing Victory who had already made all their substitutions to finish the game with ten men.

This would stall their momentum, allowing City to play out time and claim a much-needed 2-1 victory.

City will now turn their attention to a road trip to Wellington Phoenix’s home turf, who are also hunting a top-two finish.

Meanwhile, Victory will look to rest their form slump over the bye before travelling to Newcastle.

Melbourne City: 2 (Berenguer 8’, Maclaren 71’)

Melbourne Victory: 1 (Toivonen 78’)

AAMI Park
Referee: Shaun Evans
Assistant Referees: Wilson Brown, Andrew Meimarakis
Fourth Official: Jack Morgan

Melbourne City FC: Tom GLOVER (gk), Scott JAMIESON (c), Josh BRILLANTE, Rostyn GRIFFITHS, Jamie MACLAREN, Florin BERENGUER, Craig NOONE, Nathaniel ATKINSON, Markel SUSAETA, Adrian LUNA, Curtis GOOD, Lachlan WALES (Sub 72’), Scott GALLOWAY (Sub 82’)

Unused Substitutes: Joe GAUCI (gk), Denis GENREAU, Ramy NAJJARINE, Kerrin STOKES, Stefan COLAKOVSKI

Melbourne Victory: Lawrence THOMAS (gk), Storm ROUX, James DONACHIE, Tim HOOGLAND, Ola TOIVONEN, Elvis KAMSOBA, Migjen BASHA, Ben CARRIGAN, Adama TRAORE, Anthony LESIOTIS, Robbie KRUSE (Sub 55’), Marco ROJAS (Sub 55’), Jakob POULSEN (Sub 78’)

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne City

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