Head Coach Warren Joyce made one change to City’s line-up that opened the season against Brisbane, with Luke Brattan omitted due to general soreness and Scott Jamieson enlisted into the starting eleven.
Tim Cahill also came into the squad, following his 120 minutes for the Socceroos on Tuesday night, playing a role off the bench for Ross McCormack.
In a frantic opening, Victory’s Carl Valeri set the tone for the tight contest, earning a yellow card inside the first minute of the match for a heavy tackle on City’s Michael Jakobsen. Scott Jamieson also finding his name on the caution list.
City started brightly with Ross McCormack creating two good openings. The striker forced two saves from Lawrence Thomas in quick succession, with the Victory stopper parrying both efforts.
A key point of conjecture emerged as Williams sliced through Osama Malik with a late challenge in the middle of the park. The tackle was sent to VAR to determine Williams’ fate with the defender being yellow carded for the controversial challenge.
Malik was forced off as Marcin Budzinski entered the field of play and it took little time for the Polish import to make an impact, rocketing home an effort at the near post.
Victory responded in the second half with Leroy George equalising after a swift counter-attack, finishing a low cross from Barbarouses.
City would bounce back moments later however as Bruce Kamau broke forward with a marauding run from his own half, netting the winner.
Kevin Muscat’s side pressed for a late equaliser and almost found it via the head of Rhys Williams but Marcin Budzinski should have put the game beyond doubt moments before time as he sprung the offside trap and was halted by Lawrence Thomas.
The City faithful weren’t too worried though, as the final whistle was blown only seconds later to wrap up the three points in the 23rd edition of the Melbourne Derby and the Club’s 200th match.
City host Wellington Phoenix, returning home to AAMI Park this Saturday, kick off 5.35pm. Kids go free with Adult tickets. Get your tickets and find out how to redeem your free junior tickets now!