Melbourne Victory have confirmed their status as Melbourne’s top dogs, demolishing Melbourne City in a comprehensive 3-0 derby success.
Goals from Besart Berisha, Kosta Barbarouses and Fahid Ben Khalfallah returned Victory to second place on the A-League ladder
City simply weren’t in the same class during a match that saw 40,042 fans brave stifling conditions at Etihad Stadium for the first derby where both teams were inside the top six.
While City handed a substitute debut to Socceroos striker Josh Kennedy, John van ‘t Schip’s team returned a performance unrecognisable from their last derby win.
Conversely Victory were class across the board.
A new casualty in City’s injury-plagued season was revealed pre-match, with Erik Paartalu ruled out with a calf niggle.
That meant a baptism of fire for newly signed Singaporean international Safuwan Baharudin, given the task of shielding City’s back four.
Unfortunately for the debutant, it took just ten minutes for Victory to unlock City’s defence.
Patrick Kisnorbo’s missed tackle allowed Kosta Barbarouses to waltz towards goal, unselfishly slipping through Berisha for the opener.
The Albanian might have had a first half hat-trick but twice he fluffed his shots from close range.
A penalty for Victory might also have been forthcoming on 15 minutes, when Khalfallah’s shot was clearly blocked by Jack Clisby’s arm.
Victory didn’t suffer for their wasteful ways as too often City were guilty of impatience in attack, shooting from distance instead of crafting their attacks.
Robert Koren was the chief culprit but Iain Ramsay paid the price, making way for David Williams after less than half an hour.
The introduction of Williams and Kennedy didn’t improve City’s attack, with Victory running rampant in the second half.
On 53 minutes, a well-practiced free-kick from Gui Finkler found Barbarouses at the near post, who looped his finish over Andrew Redmayne for Victory’s second goal.
Ten minutes later, Berisha broke away down the right side before sliding the ball across to Khalfallah who netted at the back post despite close attention.