All square as Victory and City fire blanks in fiery Melbourne derby
The highly-anticipated Melbourne derby has ended in stalemate as Victory and City played out a goalless draw in front of more than 33,000 fans at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.
In a tense contest between the two bitter rivals, both sides had chances to win the match but were unable to land the killer blow.
Victory thought they scored the goal to take the lead 10 minutes after the break when Elvis Kamsoba coolly slotted past Dean Bouzanis for what would have been his maiden Hyundai A-League goal.
But the Burundi international was fractionally offside, seeing the goal chalked off by the VAR.
City had the best chance of a cagey first-half, with Lachlan Wales pulling his shot just wide of the far post when he was released by Josh Brillante.
Ola Toivonen fired just over the bar early in the second half before Kamsoba’s disallowed goal frustrated the home fans.
Both coaches made attacking changes to try and snatch all three points at the death, with City’s Moudi Najjar going the closest.
The youngster sprung the offside trap in stoppage-time to race onto a ball over the Victory defence but his finish was high and wide.
There was still time for a fiery exchange between Toivonen and City defender Harrison Delbridge but it was a minor flashpoint as it ended all square.
Tight contest in the first half hour
Andrew Nabbout was certainly up for the derby with the Victory winger the main threat for the home side in the early exchanges.
He twice created chances for Victory in the first 10 minutes with powerful runs down the right, with first Scott Galloway and then Harrison Delbridge needing last ditch challenges to thwart the attack.
Erick Mombaerts’ side were playing their part in a pulsating opening and went closest to scoring through Lachlan Wales.
Josh Brillante did superbly to find the young striker with a pass at full-stretch but Wales pushed his effort wide of the far post.
Roux almost storms City’s goal
Victory almost took the lead before the break from an unlikely source.
Jakob Poulsen’s corner created havoc in the City box, with Roux lashing at a bouncing ball just six yards out.
But his instinctive effort was blocked by Scott Jamieson and ballooned over the bar for another corner as the sides went to the break all square.
VAR denies Kamsoba a first Hyundai A-League goal
Victory produced a moment of quality as Ola Toivonen’s deft through-ball found the run of Elvis Kamsoba who finished coolly before producing a somersault to celebrate his maiden Hyundai A-League goal.
But the Burundi international’s joy was short-lived as the VAR intervened, cancelling out the goal for offside.
City respond after VAR reprieve
The disallowed Victory goal seemed to spring City to life as they created three chances in the space of five minutes.
First Craig Noone forced a smart save out of Lawrence Thomas with a curler from the edge of the box, before Connor Metcalfe’s wicked swerving effort needed another stop from the Victory gloveman.
And Lachlan Wales got in behind Victory’s defence and centred as Thomas came out to narrow the angle, needing defender James Donachie to clear the danger for the home side.
Fiery ending as Victory, City can't be split
Both sides tried their best to land a killer blow late on with substitute Moudi Najjar having the best chance in injury-time, only to fire over the bar.
Victory skipper Ola Toivonen and Harrison Delbridge were involved in some push-and-shove right at the end, picking up a yellow card in the process in a heated end to the match.
Round 1: Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City man of the match