A 96th-minute penalty from Mark Milligan saw Melbourne Victory beat City 1-0 in a dramatic Christmas Derby at AAMI Park on Saturday.
Milligan tucked away a late penalty to see Victory to a deserved win in the Round 12 Hyundai A-League encounter.
It came after quite a battle, during which Leroy George struck the crossbar for Victory in the first half.
Victory made a decent start as James Troisi and Rhys Williams both had opportunities, the former forcing City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis into a save, in the opening 20 minutes.
Kevin Muscat’s men should have had the lead just before the half-hour mark.
A wonderful move released Kosta Barbarouses down the right and the New Zealand international picked out George, who struck the crossbar.
— Melbourne Victory (@gomvfc) December 23, 2017
City went close just before the break as Iacopo La Rocca headed over a corner in first-half additional time.
Besart Berisha forced Bouzanis into a save from close range to begin the second half as Victory continued to look the more likely.
However, it needed Lawrence Thomas to make a brilliant save to keep it level just after the hour-mark, as the shot-stopper denied Bruce Kamau.
Thomas produced another fine save to tip away a Nick Fitzgerald effort before Victory claimed three points.
Bouzanis fouled Milligan after a set-piece and the midfielder sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to seal a thrilling win.
Player in focus
What they said – Mark Milligan
on the win…
“I think after the start to the season we’ve had, I think tonight was very important. We’ve had a couple of good performances, a good win last week. While tonight was a Derby, tonight was also about a little bit more in gaining some of that consistency again and the ascendancy on the table.”
on his week…
“I had a decent strain to the hamstring against Adelaide which was disappointing, but Will (Tardif, head of physiotherapy) and the doc and the rest of the medical staff, I’ve just kept it right on the edge the last two weeks just to make sure I gave myself every opportunity to be a part of tonight.”
Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Round 12
Melbourne Victory 1 (Mark Milligan 90+6′ pen)
City: Bouzanis (gk), Atkinson, Schenkeveld, Jakobsen (c), Jamieson, La Rocca, Brattan, Malik, Kamau, Mauk (McCormack 52′), Fitzgerald
Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk), Geria, Deng, Williams, Nigro, Valeri (c), Sanchez (Milligan 65′), Troisi, Barbarouses (Ingham 87′), Berisha, George (Theoharous 84′)
Yellow cards: George 60′, Schenkeveld 90+3′, Troisi 90+7′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: AAMI Park
Victory is back at home in Round 13, hosting the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Friday. Tickets available here.