Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory. It’s one of the Hyundai A-League’s original rivalries dating back to the opening weekend in August, 2005 when Dwight Yorke and Archie Thompson hit the net in a 1-1 draw at Allianz.
Since then, these two proud clubs have formed an intense respect – and hatred – towards each other which has often delivered excitement and fireworks on the pitch.
Ahead of Saturday night’s 32nd meeting between these two superpowers, we look back at three of the most memorable clashes between the two.
1: January 26, 2014 – Melbourne Victory 0-5 Sydney FC
The huge Australia Day crowd crammed into Etihad Stadium had no idea what was about to unfold over a stunning 90 minutes.
With both sides in a mid-season rut it was expected to be a tight and tense affair but turned out to be anything but.
Ranko Despotovic’s early goal sent the Sky Blues on their way before Italian veteran Alessandro Del Piero doubled the advantage from the spot inside 20 minutes.
It got worse for the home side five minutes later when former Victory defender Sebastian Ryall came back to haunt his old club, capping a scintillating individual run with an exquisite finish to make it 3-0 by half-time.
Further goals to ADP and Nick Carle after the break completed the rout and a sorry day for Kevin Muscat’s side, who got their revenge in the opening week of finals that year by knocking Sydney FC out.
But for Sydney, it was revenge for the 5-0 humiliation in Season 1.
November 10, 2012 – Sydney FC 2-3 Melbourne Victory
Sydney appeared to be cruising, up 2-0 early in the second half thanks to goals from Yairo Yau and defender Pascal Bosschaart.
But then Victory coach Ange Postecoglou pulled off a masterstroke by sending on unknown teenager Andrew Nabbout off the bench midway through the second half.
Nabbout pulled a goal back on 78 minutes before Archie Thompson levelled things up soon after. The visitors weren’t done there, Nabbout scoring with a brilliant header at the death to complete an incredible turnaround at Allianz Stadium.
Sky Blues boss Ian Crook kicked his chair away in anger at his side’s meltdown and then just a day later resigned due to the stress of the job.
March 20, 2010 – Melbourne Victory 1-1 Sydney FC (Sky Blues won on penalties)
Arguably the biggest game in the history of the rivalry came in the 2010 Hyundai A-League decider. Victory had got the better of Sydney just two weeks earlier to earn grand final hosting rights and had a huge crowd behind them hoping to see a third Hyundai A-League title.
But Mark Bridge stunned the home crowd by giving the Sky Blues the lead on 63 minutes after a classic counter attack, before Victory defender Adrian Leijer levelled things up inside the last 10 minutes.
A frenetic and tense 30 minutes of extra-time couldn’t separate the sides, sending the decider to penalties. Victory club legend Kevin Muscat – the player Sydney fans loved to hate – hit the post from the spot to give the Sky Blues the advantage with South Korean import Byun Sung Hwan nailing the winner to win the grand final at the home of their bitter rivals.
What a day. What a rivalry. See you at Allianz this Saturday for another chapter.
Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory will contest the beyondblue Cup at Allianz Stadium on Saturday 15th November.