Melbourne City FC has recorded its first win of the Y-League season, taking out the youth derby 1-3 at Epping Stadium.
City went down 1-0 in the first half but a goal to Gianluca Iannucci minutes before half time along with second half goals to Lucas Byrns and Moudi Najjar helped City claim all three points.
City’s line-up was this week strengthened by a number of key players returning.
Joe Gauci maintained his place in between the sticks while Kerrin Stokes and Alec Mills were the central defenders in front of him and Daniel Lucente and Mark Karlic the full-backs. Jordi Valadon, Iannucci and Idrus Abdulahi were in midfield with Najjar upfront and Byrns and Yaya Dukuly the wingers.
Despite neither side having any big chances in the early stages, there was plenty of action with both teams were going into their challenges hard and making their presence felt on the opposition.
The return of Stokes shored up City’s defence and both he and Mills started the game well, making a few crucial interventions to deny goal-scoring chances.
The resilience ended in the 28th minute when a well-placed cross found Victory striker Ryan Lethlean alone at the back post and he made no mistake with his header.
Following this goal, the Victory pressed hard for a second, but City’s defence held strong and Gauci was able to make a couple of important saves to keep the scoreline at 1-0.
City’s patience and valiant defending were rewarded just before half time when an equaliser came from the boot of Iannucci.
His free kick from just outside the box couldn’t have been hit any sweeter and curled perfectly into the top corner leaving Victory keeper Matthew Sutton no chance.
City hit the lead less than two minutes after half time thanks to Byrns.
After receiving the ball in the box, he had the Victory defence bamboozled with some fancy stepovers and then made no mistake with the finish, placing it past Sutton.
Byrns turned provider just 14 minutes later, with the winger finding Najjar at the back post with a centimetre-perfect cross which the striker easily tapped into the back of the net to make it 1-3.
Chasing the game, Victory had more of the possession for the remainder of the match but the City defence, as it had all game, remained strong and were quick to stop any potential chances.
This was until the 95th minute when Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio unleashed a powerful strike from outside of the box, but with just seconds remaining on the clock, City held on for the win.
City’s Y-League season will next week come to an end when it travels to Perth to take on the Glory. The match will kick off at 1:30pm next Sunday at Dorrien Gardens.