Melbourne City FC continued its excellent start to the Westfield W-League season with a 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon.
Second half goals to Marianna Tabain and Aivi Luik proved to be the difference – despite Whitney Knight’s stunning late goal - as Joe Montemurro’s side turned in a dominant performance to win the first ever W-League Melbourne Derby.
With bragging rights and local pride on the line, City made a bright start to the match, enjoying the lion’s share of possession in the opening period as Aivi Luik, Alex Chidiac and Amy Jackson dictated play in the middle of the park.
The first chance of the match duly went to the home side, as Rebekah Stott saw her goal-bound header cleared off the line by a desperate Victory defence, as Tyla-Jay Vlanjic sent her follow up effort straight into the arms of Melissa Barbieri.
With majority of the play unfolding inside City’s final third the chances continued to flow, with Beattie Goad and Alex Chidiac linking up nicely to tee up Luik, whose shot was charged down outside the area.
Victory were posing a dangerous threat the counter attack and came incredibly close to taking the lead against the run of play in the 25th minute, with Vlajnic denying a certain goal with an excellent goal-line clearance to keep the scores level.
City continued to cause havoc from the wide positions, with the dangerous Chidiac fizzing an effort narrowly wide of Barbieri’s far post, before Goad curled an effort straight at the Victory ‘keeper after a darting run from the right.
As the contest opened up towards the latter stages of the half, Victory striker Laura Spiranovic was proving to be a nuisance in attack for the visitors, curling an effort in the 35th minute which was comfortably held by City ‘keeper Trudy Burke.
But it was an explosive run from Chidiac which nearly broke the deadlock, capitalising on a moment of hesitation from the Victory defence to fire a shot narrowly wide of the post as both sides entered the break on level terms.
City continued their dominance right from the restart and were ahead only two minutes into the second half. A clever flick-on from Rachael Quigley released the maurauding Amy Jackson, who played a neat throughball to the onrushing Tabain.
One-on-one with Barbieri, Tabain kept her nerve and coolly slotted the ball past the Victory ‘keeper into the far corner to fire City into the lead.
Quigley nearly doubled City’s advantage only three minutes later when she blazed a volley over the crossbar after searching cross from Chidiac, before Amy Jackson sent a speculative volley straight at Barbieri as the home side searched for a killer second goal.
And the opportunity came in the 70th minute when Tabain was up-ended in the box by Brooke Elby, with Luik sending Barbieri the wrong way to double the advantage.
Victory would pick up a sensational consolation goal in the last minute of the game, with substitute Knight scoring an early contender for goal of the season with a stunning long range effort.
But it would be to no avail as Joe Montemurro’s side held on to record a first ever W-League Melbourne Derby win.
Westfield W-League Round 2
Melbourne City FC 2 (Marianna TABAIN 48', Aivi LUIK 72')
Melbourne Victory 1 (Whitney KNIGHT 90')
Referee: Casey Reibelt
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Melbourne City FC line-up: 3. Alexandra CHIDIAC, 6. Aivi LUIK (C), 13. Rebekah STOTT, 15. Amy JACKSON (Olivia ELLIS 86’), 16. Beatrice GOAD (Tessa SERNIO 90’), 17. Marianna TABAIN, 18. Anisa GUAJARDO, 20. Trudy BURKE (GK), 22. Hannah BREWER, 23. Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC, 24. Racheal QUIGLEY (Melina AYRES 82’)
Substitutes not-used: 30. Kelsey QUINN (GK)
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
Melbourne Victory line-up: 2. Alexandra NATOLI, 3. Brooke ELBY, 5. Briar PALMER, 6. Annabel MARTIN, 7. Enza BARILLA, 8. Jamie POLLOCK (Jessica PITTS 79’), 9. Laura SPIRANOVIC, 11. Melinda BARBIERI (Whitney KNIGHT 68’), 13. Thea SLATYER, 15. Adriana TARANTO (Melissa TARANTO 33’), 20. Melissa BARBIERI (GK).
Substitutes not used: 1. Cassandra DIMOVSKI (GK)
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil