Paartalu: Last-gasp Derby win the perfect tonic

Last-gasp match winner Erik Paartalu says Saturday night’s dramatic 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory was the perfect remedy for the team’s lost to its city rival in Round 3.

Paartlau rose highest to nod home a Mate Dugandzic cross in the 90th minute to seal a deserved three points, with the match seemingly destined for a 0-0 draw, despite both teams creating opportunities.

The midfielder said that the team was driven to register a strong performance and avoid a repeat of the 5-2 loss against Victory earlier in the season.

“Yeah, it was good waking up this morning after a good win, so all the boys were pretty happy at recovery this morning, so hopefully we can kick on from here,” Paartalu said.

“In the last game [against Victory] we didn’t do ourselves justice in the Derby, although we had a good first half in that game we didn’t out together a full 90 minute performance together.

“That’s what we did last night and it was pleasing to get a reward at the end.

“The boys were still stinging from the last Derby game and if anything that was what drove us to get a result." 

Paartalu, a clear aerial threat due to his height, netted his third headed goal for the season, with this his most memorable, and dramatic, so far.

“It was good a good time to score, I’d been well marked the whole game.

"The ball went from Paddy [Kisnorbo] out to Mate [Dugandzic] and it was a perfect delivery and I just managed to get on the end of it and keep it down, so it was nice to score the winner.”

Paartalu believed the team deserved the result, which also brought Victory’s unbeaten run in this season’s A-League to a halt.

“We had a few chances; Aaron Mooy had a great chance near the end there, I think [Victory ‘keeper Nathan] Coe made a really good save… so that was the good thing as well – we created chances and played some good stuff so overall, we were pretty happy."

With back-to-back wins, Paartalu said the confidence and winning mentality in the group had grown as a result of the two 1-0 wins in the past two matches.

“It’s a great city, I’m really enjoying my time at City now; it’s a club that’s going to go places... if want to be a serious contender in this city we need to win those games and the Derby and really make a stamp here,” Paartalu said.

But up next is league leaders Perth Glory, who moved six points clear at the A-League summit on Saturday night with a 4-1 win over Central Coast Mariners.

“It’s a big clash against Perth, they’ve been flying. [It was a] good result for them last night and it’s always a hard clash Boxing Day after Christmas Day, so we’ve now got to turn these results into back to back performances.”