The Decider: Why this Melbourne Derby is so crucial

There's more than just pride on the line when Melbourne City play host to Melbourne Victory in the final all-Victorian derby of the season on Friday night. 

While both clubs enjoyed a win apiece in the two previous meetings this season, the third clash could yet prove to be the most important of the campaign. 

Here's why the clash at AAMI Park is so crucial to both Melbourne clubs. 

CITY'S LAST CHANCE TO CATCH THE JETS

History tells us it's difficult to win the Hyundai A-League Championship from outside the top two.

Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets have the jump on the rest and the Sky Blues can't now mathematically finish lower than second.

But with the top two meeting this weekend, Melbourne City might sniff a chance to make a run for second spot.

Wins for them and Sydney FC would close the gap between second and third to just five points.

Furthermore, City still have the Jets to play in round 25.

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Bruce Kamau and Marcin Budzinski were on the scoresheet in Derby 1

VICTORY NEED TO KEEP THE CHASING PACK AT BAY

Victory are fourth, but not yet secure in the finals.

There are just nine points separating them and the five sides below.

And they haven't exactly been the model of consistency in the past month with Saturday's win over Adelaide United snapping a three-game losing run.

A derby win for Victory would ease their fans' concerns and send them confidently into three straight games against those in the chasing bunch.

City aren't mathematically safe either, but it would take a catastrophic drop in form for them to be overtaken by four of the sides below them.

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A Mark Milligan penalty was enough for Victory to claim Derby 2

HOME FINALS ON THE LINE

The prize for finishing third and fourth is home advantage in week one of the Hyundai A-League finals series.

While that didn't help City last season in their lacklustre loss to Perth, any coach and set of fans would far prefer some home comforts in week one of sudden-death football.

A derby win for City would almost lock up a top-four finish, while three points for Victory would go a long way towards securing their place in the top-four for the fifth time in the last six seasons.