Melbourne Victory’s five-game unbeaten run in the Foxtel Y-League came to an end with a 3-2 Derby loss to City on Sunday.
Ryan Lethlean opened the scoring for Victory at Epping Stadium, but it trailed after goals from Gianluca Iannucci, Lucas Byrns and Moudi Najjar for City.
Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio struck in stoppage time, but Victory was unable to find an equaliser.
Sitting third in Conference A, Victory will play in the Foxtel Y-League Grand Final if it beats Adelaide United in the final round.
Victory made the brighter start – Birkan Kirdar firing a free-kick over from 30 yards in the 10th minute – before City went close.
Iannucci curled a free-kick from the edge of the area onto the post in the 24th minute.
But Victory took the lead four minutes later, Lethlean heading in from close range after Zaydan Bello’s good run and cross from the right.
City equalised before half-time through Iannucci, who curled a free-kick into the top corner from 20 yards.
The visitor took the lead shortly after the break, Byrns producing a fine finish from an angle inside the area.
City went 3-1 up just after the hour-mark, Najjar tapping in a cross from the right.
Victory created a great chance with 10 minutes remaining, but Lawrie-Lattanzio was denied by City goalkeeper Joe Gauci after William Wilson’s through ball.
Just two minutes later and Wilson squandered a chance, firing wide after Lawrie-Lattanzio’s cutback from the left.
Lawrie-Lattanzio’s powerful effort in additional time pulled one back for Victory, but it proved to be too late.
Head coach Gareth Naven’s post-match thoughts
“I think it comes down to we should stick our foot in more often. Just get stuck in more, more energy in the contest, harder in the battle. At times we did it, I thought at times we got bullied a bit and it brings it down to one last game to be honest and it’s good for the players. It’s a final, simple as that. Our energy seems to increase when we’re chasing the match. I said to the players why chase the match? We start at 0-0, let’s have the same energy straight away. It makes no sense to wait until you get behind to increase the intensity and I encouraged our players to stick their foot in more often in the right way and we need to do more and be ready to be more competitive.”
Foxtel Y-League 2019/20 Round 9
Melbourne Victory 2 (Ryan Lethlean 28′, Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio 90+5′)
City 3 (Gianluca Iannucci 43′, Lucas Byrns 47′, Moudi Najjar 61′)
Melbourne Victory: Matthew Sutton (gk); Zaydan Bello, Benjamin Carrigan (Matthew Bozinovski 45′), Aaron Anderson, So Nishikawa; William Wilson, Jack Morton; Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio, Joshua Varga (Jack Palazzolo 60′), Birkan Kirdar; Ryan Lethlean (Dalibor Markovic 76′).