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Dec 23, 2012   |  2:50AM AET

Victory take derby honours

Victory take derby honours

Melbourne Victory have claimed a 2-1 victory over rivals Melbourne Heart in their Hyundai A-League derby at AAMI Park on Saturday night, with Archie Thompson’s late strike sealing the three points at the death.

Melbourne Victory have claimed a 2-1 victory over rivals Melbourne Heart in their Hyundai A-League derby at AAMI Park on Saturday night, with Archie Thompson’s late strike sealing the three points at the death.

Marco Rojas scored the game’s opening goal on 67 minutes, after some swift lead-up play from Socceroo Thompson and Argentine playmaker Marcos Flores.

An equaliser from Brazilian Fred for Heart had seemingly cost Victory two points, but Ange Postecoglou’s men were persistent – and a sublime run and ball from Rojas fed Thompson through, and he chipped the winner into the net, albeit just, to send the Victory faithful into delirium.

Victory went into the clash unchanged from their 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar, while Heart striker Josip Tadic replaced Dylan Macallister in the only change for John Aloisi’s side from their 2-0 loss to the Central Coast Mariners.

Victory’s defence endured multiple set-piece attacks from Heart in the game’s infancy, with goalkeeper Nathan Coe experiencing some early derby nerves after dropping the ball on two occasions which almost let Tadic in on goal.

Victory began to produce some of their best chances of the first period approaching the half-hour mark.

Firstly, Thompson fired a powerful strike from inside the area in the 29th minute, but it was blocked by the Heart defence.

Moments later, Victory had their first corner – Gui Finkler’s ball in found centre-back Adrian Leijer, but the skipper could only head high and wide of the target.

Heart enjoyed a few moments of dominance themselves, however that period was symbolically ended by a goal-saving tackle by captain Leijer, who denied Heart winger David Williams a one-on-one with goalkeeper Coe.

Postecoglou made one change at the interval – and the man who came on, Spase Dilevski for Diogo Ferreira, made an immediate impact down the right side, linking with Thompson and Rojas, with the latter releasing a shot that was collected by Heart ‘keeper Clint Bolton, but would be a sign of things to come.

Victory were flirting with danger early in the second period also, as Dilevski and Leijer both picked up yellow cards prior to the hour mark.

It would be a goal gone begging in the 62nd minute for the Victory, after some fine work by Thompson out on the right created a mad goalmouth scramble, although Bolton eventually collected the ball, unfortunately for the Victory boys.

Then came Victory’s game-breaking goal. Flores played a ball into Rojas who got it out wide to Socceroo Mark Milligan, before New Zealander Rojas swept up the scraps of Milligan’s saved shot into the bottom right corner of the net with style.

The nimble attacker went on a stirring run on 70 minutes, and although it would come to nothing, he was looking to tear the derby apart.

Gun youngster Nabbout came on in the 74th minute for Flores, as Postecoglou searched for a sealing goal, which the Victorian Premier League graduate very nearly produced.

Victory would be forced to endure some more Heart pressure, before producing a counter-attack that looked to have conjured the winning goal from Nabbout, who tucked away Thompson’s saved one-on-one effort with Bolton, but it was ruled out for offside.

Fred’s headed goal added more spice to an already entertaining derby, with both sides then forced to push to find a winner.

Coe produced a sterling save from a Williams bullet volley, to well and truly prove the cobwebs were gone from his nervy start.

Rojas had a late chance to win it for Victory from a set-piece in the 87th minute, but he curled his attempt over the bar as he aimed for the top-left corner.

But he accounted for that miss in some style, feeding Thompson with the through ball to win it for Victory in the third minute of injury time.

Melbourne Victory 2 (Rojas 67, Thompson 90+3)
Melbourne Heart 1 (Fred 81)
Crowd: 26,457 @AAMI Park