MATCH REPORT | Victory win Elimination Final classic

Melbourne Victory are through to the semi-finals after coming from behind with 10 players to beat Melbourne City in a classic Elimination Final

Victory started the game brightly, as they looked to take control early.

Daniel Arzani looked especially threatening, causing plenty of trouble for the City defence with his runs down the right wing.

However, the first major chance of the game fell to City.

A handball in the Victory penalty area led the referee to point to the spot, putting City in prime position to take the early advantage.

However, Paul Izzo was up to the task, making a superb save diving to his right.

The save lifted the energy around AAMI Park, but Victory’s respite was only brief.

Just before the half-hour mark, a City corner was sent in and found the head of Samuel Souprayen, who thumped the ball home to give his side the lead.

The first half would take another turn for the worse for Victory a few minutes later, as Zinedine Machach was shown a red card.

The single goal was all that separated the teams as half-time arrived, with Victory in need of a dramatic second-half turnaround.

The second 45 began as a tamer affair, as City looked to control the tempo of the game.

Victory continued to probe the City defence, but the numbers disadvantage left Victory vulnerable at the back when City counter-attacked.

Tony Popovic made full use of his bench as the half progressed, bringing Nishan Velupillay, Jordi Valadon, Chris Ikonomidis, Salim Khelifi and Kasey Bos into the action.

As the end of the 90 neared, Victory’s hopes of a revival appeared slim.

However, the substitutions would prove to be Victory’s saving grace, as with just minutes remaining a brilliant run down the left-wing from Bos followed by a cut-back into the box picked out Velupillay, who nailed the finish to equalise.

A dramatic late twist, which would send the game into extra time.

However, before the end of the 90, more drama ensued, as Victory appeared set to be awarded a handball penalty.

However, an extensive VAR review identified an offside prior to the ball arriving in the penalty area, ensuring an extra 30 minutes of football would be played.

The tension remained high throughout extra time, with Victory largely continuing to build on their momentum from the end of the 90.

However, both teams though looked capable of scoring as the match became increasingly stretched and bodies tired.

Izzo continued to make invaluable contributions, most notably a one-on-one save in the 111th minute.

Penalties though would be required to separate the two teams.

Izzo had already put together a stand-out game, but the penalty shoot-out would elevate his brilliant performance to legendary status.

Three penalties saved and one scored in the shoot-out cemented one of the all-time great goalkeeping performances.

Victory won the shoot-out 4-2, sealing a semi-final meeting with Wellington Phoenix.