The Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season gets underway with a bang, with the Melbourne Derby on Saturday night the standout fixture from the opening weekend.
Melbourne’s two bitter foes – Victory and City – have built up an intense rivalry over the years and it promises to be another blockbuster at Marvel Stadium.
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It’s been a fixture that has delivered plenty of drama, from late winners to full-blooded, physical tackles and long-range screamers.
Victory head into the new season with bragging right as defending Hyundai A-League champions but City will look to lay down an early marker of their credentials with a win in this one.
Ahead of the Round 1 blockbuster, we look back at five of the best Melbourne derbies from the first eight years of the fixture.
Heart-starter in first ever Derby
The big-city derby in the Hyundai A-League came in October of 2010 as newly-formed Melbourne Heart hosted Victory at AAMI Park.
The majority of the 26,000 fans that turned up expected Victory – who were unlucky to miss out on the double the previous season – to take care of business against the league’s new-boys.
But Heart had other ideas.
Looking to make an imprint in Melbourne against their big brother, the Red and Whites flew out of the blocks with John Aloisi putting them in front inside 10 minutes with a powerful header from Alex Terra’s cross.
Robbie Kruse drew Victory level before the break but Heart weren't to be denied, as Terra volleyed in a winner on 56 minutes to give the newcomers early bragging rights.
While success didn’t follow immediately in the league for Heart, they would lose only one of the first seven derbies against Victory.
Archie’s late strike breaks Heart
The pre-Christmas Derby in 2012 was Victory’s chance to turn the tide and give their fans an early present for the festive season.
Heart was unlucky not to strike first with two goal-bound efforts cleared off the line, before being made to pay for the wastefulness just after the hour mark.
A brilliant build-up involving Thompson, Gui Finkler and Mark Milligan saw Marco Rojas open the scoring for Ange Postecoglou’s Victory.
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It looked like Victory’s wait for a win would go on when their former star Fred equalised for Heart nine minutes from time. But there was more drama to come.
A man who always had a sense of occasion – Archie Thompson – finished off a speedy counter-attack, running onto Rojas’ through-ball before dinking his shot over keeper Clint Bolton.
The ball hit the crossbar and just crept over the line for a spectacular stoppage-time winner to the delight of the Victory supporters.
WATCH THOMPSON'S LATE WINNER BELOW
Berisha makes an immediate impact against City
There were so many intriguing storylines in what was the first derby clash after Heart’s takeover by the City Football Group.
Both sides went into the clash – played in front of more than 43,000 fans at Etihad Stadium – with two new star strikers.
City had Spanish FIFA World Cup-winner David Villa playing the penultimate game of his guest stint, while Victory’s marquee recruit Besart Berisha got his first taste of the Melbourne Derby.
And it was the latter that stole the show.
Despite falling behind twice in a pulsating encounter, Berisha scored a hat-trick as Victory stormed home to prevail 5-2, with Thompson bagging the other two.
It was the catalyst for Victory to go on and win the Premiership-Championship double that season.
Fornaroli takes centre stage
One of the most thrilling derbies came late in the 2015/16 Season, with a certain Uruguayan dominating the headlines.
In his first season in the competition, Bruno Fornaroli had already shown he was a striker of immense class, but his performance in this clash confirmed his brilliance.
Fornaroli scored both of City’s goals – either side of a Fahid Ben Khalfallah stunner – with his first included a move he started with a rabona and finished with a delicate chip.
City lead 2-1 at the break only for Gui Finkler to level the scores on 47 minutes before a hugely contentious moment soon after.
The Brazilian thought he’d put Victory in front when his free-kick hit the crossbar and rebounded over the line, only for the officials to miss it and deny the goal.
It finished 2-2 in arguably the most entertaining and controversial Melbourne Derby of the lot.
Cahill lives up to the hype
All eyes were on Caltex Socceroos star Tim Cahill has he made his City debut in the white-hot furnace of the derby early in the 2016/17 Season.
And it took just 27 minutes for Cahill to show – yet again – how he always seems to deliver on the biggest of stages.
With the ball bouncing seemingly harmlessly about 40-yards from Victory’s goal, Cahill hit an audacious half-volley which sailed over keeper Lawrence Thomas into the top corner.
Welcome to the Hyundai A-League – and the Derby – Super Timmy!
It inspired City to an emphatic 4-1 win in front of 43,188 fans at Etihad.
While Victory won the next two Hyundai A-League derbies that season, City eliminated Victory in the semi-finals of the FFA Cup on their way to winning the club’s first piece of silverware.
SEE CAHILL'S STUNNING GOAL BELOW