2019-20 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Florin Berenguer (8')
  • Jamie Maclaren (71')
  • Ola Toivonen (78')

Melbourne City dent Melbourne Victory's finals hopes after derby day win

Melbourne City claimed A-League derby bragging rights and struck a hammer blow to Melbourne Victory's finals hopes in the process with a 2-1 win at AAMI Park.

Florin Berenguer handed City the lead after just eight minutes, then delivered a delightful assist for Jamie Maclaren in the 71st minute, before Ola Toivonen responded with a 78th-minute free kick.

City consolidated their hold on second place, while Victory will remain at least five points outside the top six -- and also saw star winger Robbie Kruse limp off late.

Both sides made a number of changes. Tim Hoogland slotted into Victory's back three, and coach Carlos Salvachua opted to start attackers Marco Rojas and Kruse on the bench. City reverted to a back four, while Tom Glover replaced Dean Bouzanis (personal reasons) in goal.

It took just eight minutes for City to open the scoring. Latching on to a long ball, Adrian Luna flicked a header past Ben Carrigan and followed up his own work to find Berenguer, who powered a shot past Lawrence Thomas.

Victory came close to equalising from an indirect free kick in the 30th minute, when Glover was penalised for handling the ball from a back pass.

Toivonen powered the ball to the near post where a sliding Hoogland attempted to toe-poke home, but the ball hit the post and fortuitously bounced into Glover.

Salvachua summoned Kruse and Rojas in the 55th minute, to rapturous applause, but it would be City who broke through.

Craig Noone slipped a pass to Berenguer, who cleverly backheeled for Maclaren to smack the ball into the roof of the net.

Victory responded seven minutes later when Toivonen stepped up to take a free kick when Rojas was brought down outside the area.

Toivonen looked set to be denied by Glover, but the City goalkeeper fumbled a relatively straight-forward stop into his own net.

Victory were unable to find an equaliser, and Kruse headed gingerly down the tunnel in the 84th minute to further sour their night.