You’re never bored when you watch a match of the City Derby between Ange Postecoglou’s Melbourne Victory and John Aloisi’s Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park. The skills and fluidity may be lacking but the passion and competitiveness makes up for it.
On Saturday, the Victory were the designated road team against the Heart, and they needed to find some sort of revenge for a disappointing performance in their previous outing.
“I think everyone’s looking forward to it, everyone’s been talking about it. It’s a pretty important time for both teams,” Victory goalkeeper Nathan Coe said after training at Gosch’s Paddock on Thursday to Greig Johnston of Omnisport. “We’re looking to win and close the gap on the top two.
“Anytime you lose a derby it’s not a fun thing. So this weekend’s a chance to change that and go forward and set it right. The one’s in the past are in the past. What we can do is go out this weekend and move in the right direction and show who is the bigger club.
“Everyone’s been talking about it and telling me about it so I can’t wait to get out there. AAMI Park’s a fantastic atmosphere and so a derby’s going to even better.”
Postecoglou believes that the turnout for this contest will be one to remember.
“I’m sure our supporters are up for it,” Postecoglou told James Willoughby of Omnisport. “They are probably preparing at the moment. Whatever workplace they are in at the moment, they are probably making it hell for their work-mates preparing for tomorrow night.
“We hope that it’s a fantastic spectacle. We saw the Sydney derby last week and I thought the atmosphere was cracking. I’m sure tomorrow will be… our supporters have always set the benchmark and I’m sure that they will set a really good atmosphere.”
Marco Rojas opened the scoring in the 67th minute for the Melbourne Victory. After Heart’s Fred brought the match on level terms in the 81st minute, it was Archie Thompson who delivered a scintillating game-winner in the third minute of stoppage time to give the Victory a well-deserved 2-1 victory.
“If you’re outside at the end of the game there, I think everyone will appreciate what our fans do for the competition. Again, they were second-to-none,” Muscat told Luke Sheehan for melbournevictory.com.au. “(Our fans are) still the benchmark, without a doubt. (They) created an atmosphere here for us today … on paper it’s an away game for us, but it certainly felt like a home one.
“Today’s more about sending them home happy, it’ll be a nice Christmas for our fans.”
Melbourne improve to 6-2-4 (20 points) and remain third in the A-League ladder. The Victory continue their season on Dec. 28 against the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park in Melbourne. The club will have a short turnaround after that, since they face the Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium in Sydney on New Year’s Day.