Match Report: City 2-2 Victory

The 2021 Christmas Derby ended in a 2-2 draw on Saturday night, with Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory unable to be separated following a wild 90 minutes at AAMI Park.

Francesco Margiotta opened the scoring for Victory in the first half, but a quickfire double from City, courtesy of Socceroos Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout, saw the reigning Champions hit the lead in the second half. However, a late equaliser to Nick D’Agostino saw the teams settle for a point each. 

Starting XI 

Patrick Kisnorbo tweaked his starting lineup ahead of the huge clash, making two changes from City’s 1-0 win against Perth in Round 4.

Despite Florin Berenguer coming into the lineup, his replacement against Perth, Marco Tilio, kept his place in the starting XI, moving to the wing in place of Mathew Leckie who didn’t feature in the squad due to a slight niggle. Nathaniel Atkinson made his first league start of the season, replacing Scott Galloway at right-back.

What happened? 

From the first whistle, the atmosphere and contest itself were incredibly tense, with players from both sides giving everything in every duel. 

It was Melbourne Victory who would strike first though, capitalising on City’s lack of vigilance during a quickly taken free-kick, with Jake Brimmer playing Francesco Margiotta through on goal for the Italian to finish comfortably.  

Whilst chances were hard to come by early, City eventually gained the ascendancy and began to make inroads into the Victory penalty area with regularity over the latter stages of the half.  

Probably City’s best chance over that period was created by a brilliant Marco Tilio solo run to progress the ball into the final third, with the ball winding up with Andrew Nabbout who fired hard at Kelava but couldn’t find the back of the net. 

If the first half was intense, the second was utterly insane.  

After gaining the ascendancy in the latter stages of the opening period, City were rewarded for their performance with an equalising goal in the 60th minute.

Florin Berenguer burst through the middle of the park before shifting the ball wide to Nabbout whose pinpoint cross was met at the back post by Jamie Maclaren for his second goal of the season. 

Then, just three minutes later, City hit the lead as Marco Tilio floated a cross to Nabbout who had ghosted past his marker to head into the back of the net at the far post.

Nick D’Agostino’s introduction to the contest was a pivotal moment for Victory, with the young striker involved in several good moments for his side before netting the equaliser in the 81st minute. Kelava cleared the ball long over the City defence and D’Agostino was the first to latch on, with the substitute carrying the ball to the edge of the area and finishing past Glover – who got a hand to it – despite pressure from a back-tracking Curtis Good.  

The game had one of the most exhilarating finishes in recent memory, with several instances of penalty area pinball, including one in City’s attacking area that culminated in Maclaren being sent off.

A blockbuster Melbourne Derby packed with action from first whistle to last, the contest finally ended 2-2 with both sides sharing the spoils. 

What’s next? 

The draw sees City on eight points from its first five games of the 2021/22 season, but the City boys will need a better result when they return to the drama of knockout football this Wednesday as they take on Wellington Phoenix in an FFA Cup Quarter Final.