Remarkable goals, fiery exchanges and a pulsating derby atmosphere; the spectacle of the Melbourne Derby is set to reach even greater heights in 2016/17.
A highly anticipated fixture which showcases the Hyundai A-League at its finest, Melbourne City FC will resume hostilities against its city rivals in Round 2 at Etihad Stadium on Saturday 15 October.
John van’t Schip’s side will aim to stretch its unbeaten home Derby record to five matches in the traditional Christmas Derby at AAMI Park on Saturday 17 December, before returning to Etihad Stadium in Round 18 for the final meeting of the regular season.
City will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the result endured in last season’s opening Melbourne Derby – also played in Round 2 – where a spirited comeback was halted by a late goal in a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat at Etihad Stadium.
A total of seven of the last eight Melbourne Derbies have been won by the ‘home’ team, with City taking home the spoils in three of the past four encounters at AAMI Park.
Thomas Sorensen displayed all of his derby experience to repel everything that came his way during a memorable 2-1 win between the sides last season, while the sheer genius of Bruno Fornaroli lit up AAMI Park in the final Derby of the 2015/16 season.
With contenders for goal of the season, flashy rabona passes, plenty of feistiness on the pitch and an electric atmosphere in the stands, the Melbourne Derby is undoubtedly one of the must-see sporting spectacles in the Australian sporting landscape.
It is only destined to get better in 2016/17.
Previous Meetings – Hyundai A-League 2015/16 Season
Victory 3-2 City - Saturday 17 October, 2015
With a massive crowd of 40,217 flocking to Etihad Stadium to witness the highly anticipated Round 2 clash, Victory appeared to be cruising when Kosta Barbarouses doubled his side’s advantage in the 57th minute, after Paulo Retre’s unfortunate own goal in the first half.
But John van’t Schip’s side responded in courageous fashion, completing a sensational turnaround when Bruno Fornaroli and Stefan Mauk both found the back of the net within the space of two minutes.
City looked destined to earn a share of the spoils for the second week running, until Berisha popped up in the last minute of the game to snatch the three points.
City 2-1 Victory - Saturday 18 December, 2015
Entering the 18th edition of the Melbourne Derby in red-hot form, it was understandable most of the pre-game talk was focused on City's potent attacking force.
Cue one of the most pulsating Derby clashes in recent history.
John van’t Schip’s side flew out of the blocks inside the opening half-hour, racing to a two goal lead courtesy of Stefan Mauk and Paulo Retre.
Besart Berisha pulled one back on the stroke of half-time, but it was goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen who resembled an impenetrable wall between the posts.
The Great Dane repelled a ferocious second half onslaught with a string of superb saves – including a stunning reaction save to tip Kosta Barbarouses’ header onto the post – earning City a memorable Derby win.
City 2-2 Victory - Saturday 13 February, 2016
With both sides locked in a firm battle for a spot in the top four of the Hyundai A-League table, the stakes for the final Melbourne Derby of the regular season couldn’t be higher.
Enter Bruno Fornaroli.
Fornaroli handed City the lead on two occasions in a frenetic first half-hour before Victory worked their way back after half-time.