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Melbourne City survive a late scare to hold out a defiant Melbourne Victory

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5th April, 2023

A 110-day postponement didn’t stop Melbourne City from picking up where they left off, taking bragging rights in a 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.

Melbourne’s 40th edition of the derby restarted from the 21st-minute mark due to the ugly pitch invasion scenes, resulting in the match becoming abandoned back in December. 

Matthew Leckie and Richard van der Venne were the biggest absentees for the Rado Vidosic to find solutions for, while Tony Popovic made seven changes from the interrupted clash, including the unavailability of marquee signing Nani.

City took a 1-0 lead into Wednesday night, having settled into the contest after some early pressure applied from Victory. 

It took just four minutes after the restart to witness the first yellow card after a challenge from goalscorer O’Neill on Bruno Fornaroli, reigniting the expected derby passion. 

Once again it was Tony Popovic’s men stamping their authority early and gaining more attacking territory, only to hand over possession to City as the match progressed.

A chorus of boos aimed towards goalkeeper Tom Glover from the Victory faithful wasn’t enough to throw him off, making some critical saves as well as his opposite number one in Paul Izzo to keep it 1-0 at the break. 


The game was crying out for a moment of brilliance, and in-form midfielder Aiden O’Neill provided just that with his second goal of the game, driving into the box and doubling City’s advantage after 56 minutes. 

With Victory chasing the game, Popovic opted for a triple substitution with 25 minutes remaining, introducing forwards Nishan Velupillay and Lleyton Brooks as well as midfielder Rai Marchán in order to salvage a result. 

Bruce Kamau’s rugby tackle on Valon Berisha summed up the frustration amongst the Victory players trying to mount any sort of comeback, as City kept their composure while controlling the play.

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Despite being second-best for the majority of the encounter, Victory was right back in it thanks to some brilliant build-up play finished off by super-sub Velupillay to restore any hope of a sensational revival.

That was the spark that the four-time champions needed, as moments later Velupillay showed his class once again by dribbling his way near the penalty area, providing a pass to Brooks who blasted his shot over the crossbar.


A late surge wasn’t enough for Victory meaning their hopes of finals football hang by a thread, while City managed to survive and go five points clear of second-placed Adelaide United and move one step closer to claiming another premiers plate.