City move to top of the table after sinking Melbourne Victory
Melbourne City have capitalised on a horror first-half spell from Melbourne Victory to claim a 2-0 derby win and snatch outright top spot on the A-League Men’s table.
City took advantage of Nani conceding a penalty, a Cadete own goal, and Victory skipper Josh Brillante’s 35th-minute send-off to claim their first derby win in five attempts, in front of 23,489 fans at AAMI Park.
City skipper Scott Jamieson (groin) was a late withdrawal after a pre-match fitness test, with Curtis Good starting instead.
Mathew Leckie, centre, was strong for Melbourne City. Credit:Quinn Rooney
But it proved a rare low point as City dodged good Victory chances early, then took their own.
Mathew Leckie was excellent in attacking midfield while speedy young left-back Jordan Bos did a brilliant shutdown job on Victory marquee Nani.
Brillante should have scored from point-blank range in the eighth minute but headed right at Tom Glover.
Six minutes later, Nani stomped on Leckie’s ankle just inside the area, with a penalty awarded after a VAR review.
Flares are let off in the crowd during the round three Melbourne derby. Credit:Quinn Rooney, Getty Images
Jamie Maclaren coolly dispatched the 17th-minute penalty, his 10th derby goal, to overtake Besart Berisha as the all-time leading derby goal-scorer.
City’s Thomas Glover catches the ball. Credit:Quinn Rooney, Getty Images
Two minutes later, City playmaker Valon Berisha played a short corner with Marco Tilio then cracked a cross into the far post.
The ball clanged back into play but bounced off an oblivious Cadete and into the net.
Nani required treatment after a scything Tilio tackle in the 28th minute but played on.
In the 32nd minute, Brillante forced a good save from Glover in the 32nd but Ikonomidis couldn’t bury the rebound.
Three minutes later, Brillante inexplicably earned his second yellow card for a challenge on Aiden O’Neill, 10 minutes after his booking for a foul on Callum Talbot.
Shortly before half-time, Tilio dispossessed Stefan Nigro and forced a sharp save from Paul Izzo.
Victory didn’t fold despite their numbers disadvantage and in the 75th minute, Nick D’Agostino blasted a close-range chance over the bar.
Izzo denied Maclaren in the 85th and Tilio in injury time, but it proved little consolation as Victory sank to their second straight defeat.
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