Victory will host City in the 20th Melbourne derby on Saturday night with Tim Cahill set to make his Hyundai A-League debut for the ‘Cityzens’.
The first intra-city fixture in A-League history, the Melbourne derby started in 2010 with the inclusion of Melbourne Heart – as City used to be known – and although the newcomers dominated early, Victory have the edge overall.
Victory have won eight derbies, while City have six wins, and the other five games ending in draws.
Last week’s Sydney derby set a new A-League record for attendance – 61,880 – and although the Melbourne derby will be unable to surpass that figure at the 56,347-seat Etihad Stadium, the fans of Victoria’s top-tier clubs will no doubt want to make a statement in Round 2.
In the lead-up to Saturday’s clash between Victory and City, Goal Australia has nominated its top five Melbourne derbies.
5 – Heart rise from the depths
Melbourne Heart 4-0 Melbourne Victory
March 1, 2014
Having started the 2013-14 season with a 14-game winless streak, Heart made it five straight wins with this emphatic triumph and finally moved up from bottom spot in the table.
While Victory had to play over a half with 10 players following Nick Ansell’s 41st-minute red card, Heart were already in control after scoring twice in the first 15 minutes.
Orlando Engelaar started the rout for Heart in the 10th minute, while Mate Dugandzic was somewhat fortunate to double the hosts’ lead five minutes later when his cross found the net past a stranded Lawrence Thomas.
Heart dominated the second half, with Thomas making a number of fine saves for Victory.
But Heart broke through twice in the last 10 minutes with David Williams and Harry Kewell scoring to secure the biggest win in Melbourne derby history.
4 – Little brother stuns big brother
Melbourne Heart 2-1 Melbourne Victory
October 8, 2010
The inaugural Melbourne derby saw newly-minted Heart host Victory with both sides having only won two games in the first two months of the 2010-11 A-League season.
Victory had been unlucky to miss out on both the premiership and championship the previous campaign and seemed obvious favourites at AAMI Park, but John van ‘t Schip’s men had other ideas.
John Aloisi – who had denied Victory the Premier’s Plate while playing for Sydney FC the season before – gave Heart the lead with a strong header in the 10th minute from Alex Terra’s cross.
Robbie Kruse equalised for Victory before the interval, taking advantage of Kevin Muscat’s quickly taken free-kick, but Heart would secure the three points when Terra volleyed in the winner in the 56th minute.
It was a famous moment for the new A-League club, who would only lose one of the first seven derbies against Victory.
3 – Victory end drought
Melbourne Heart 1-2 Melbourne Victory
December 22, 2012
The Melbourne derby wasn’t always a happy hunting ground for Victory.
But three days before Christmas in 2012, Archie Thompson turned the tide for the Big V, who notched what would be the first of seven wins in the space of 10 derbies.
Heart had the better of the first-half chances, with Victory clearing off the line twice, but it was the visitors who hit the front just past the hour mark.
A flowing move involving Thompson, Gui Finkler and Mark Milligan ended with Marco Rojas’ cool finish but Heart equalised nine minutes from time thanks to a header from ex-Victory midfielder Fred.
Enter Archie – Victory’s talisman ran onto Rojas’ through-ball in stoppage time and dinked his shot over Heart goalkeeper Clint Bolton and in off the crossbar with the ball only just crossing the line.
2 – Fornaroli takes centre stage
Melbourne City 2-2 Melbourne Victory
February 13, 2016
The Melbourne derby arguably came of age last season, with the final of three matches underlining the growing equality between the two combatants both on and off the pitch.
This game was also a reminder of the impact Bruno Fornaroli was having in his first A-League season.
The Uruguayan striker scored both City’s goals, with the first underlining his quality as he started the move with a rabona and finished it with a delicate chip.
Fahid Ben Khalfallah equalised with another contender for goal of the season – a 25-yard chip into the top corner – before Fornaroli ensured City led at the break with a header in the 31st minute.
The second half added a touch of ridiculousness to the overall drama.
Finkler levelled in the 47th minute when he headed a scuffed shot past Thomas Sorensen, while Victory’s playmaker was incorrectly denied another goal soon after when his free-kick rebounded over the line off the crossbar but the referee didn’t see it.
1 – Berisha starts with a bang
Melbourne Victory 5-2 Melbourne City
October 25, 2014
Victory’s Besart Berisha is the leading scorer in Melbourne derby history with seven goals in just three seasons.
The marquee striker made an immediate mark on this fixture in Round 3 of the 2014-15 season as he scored a hat-trick, while Thompson added a brace in a pulsating clash.
City – in their first derby since being taken over by City Football Group – twice punished Victory via set-pieces in the opening half with Rob Wielaert and Jason Hoffman scoring.
Thompson’s first goal split City’s pair of headers but an impressive first half from the visitors ended in disappointment as Berisha got on the scoresheet – the Albanian lifting the ball into the net after Kosta Barbarouses’ initial shot was saved.
Berisha put Victory in front just 18 seconds into the second half and the home side never looked back as the former Brisbane Roar marksman added a penalty in the 67th minute and Thompson finished off a counter-attack with three minutes remaining.