Milligan gives Victory A-L derby delight

Dec 23, 2017 - 11:49 AM Dean Bouzanis' moment of madness has allowed Melbourne Victory to snatch a last-gasp 1-0 success in the A-League's annual Christmas derby.

Melbourne City were second-best at AAMI Park on Saturday night but looked on track to take a point out of the festive match.

That is, until Bouzanis' clumsy trip on Mark Milligan brought a penalty, which was converted by the Socceroo in the 96th minute.

Victory earned an injury-time free kick when Bart Schenkeveld brought down Christian Theoharous on the left wing, and Bouzanis strayed a mile from home while attempting to claim James Troisi's free kick.

Bouzanis clipped the Victory marquee's heel to bring him to the spot.

The result ends his side's 237-day wait for a win on home soil and sent the majority Victory crowd wild among the 22,515 in attendance.

On balance, Victory were the better side against an undermanned City.

It became desperately apparent that City, without striker Ross McCormack, were playing out of position and plenty confused as a result.

Bruce Kamau and Stefan Mauk took spells leading the line but neither looked comfortable, with in-form Luke Brattan often dragged out of his midfield tyro role as a result.

But Victory made heavy weather of converting their dominance into a goal.

An early James Troisi shot through a crowd of bodies was smothered by Bouzanis, who should have been beaten on 29 minutes.

Leroy George arrived perfectly to meet Kosta Barbarouses' cut back but the Dutch winger thundered his shot against the crossbar.

Victory's prolificacy almost cost them in injury time, when Iacopo La Rocca beat Lawrence Thomas to a corner but headed over.

After the break, Besart Berisha's acrobatic volley was palmed away - but City began to threaten.

McCormack's entry into the match on 51 minutes began a suite of City chances.

The best chance of a 15-minute hot spell fell to Kamau, who flicked and fired at goal only to be denied by Thomas' outstretched foot.

By the end of the match, the stats sheet showed City to have out-shot Victory but it was Muscat's side who laughed last.

"We were really proactive tonight ... I get a good feeling when we're in that type of mood," Muscat said.

"The three points is certainly justified."

Bouzanis' gaffe was his second-straight derby blunder.

When last in action against Melbourne Victory, he slurred Berisha and incurred a five-week ban.

City coach Warren Joyce refused to admonish Bouzanis, saying "everybody makes mistakes", but rued the outcome.

"We were second best in the first half ... in the second half, I thought we were the dominant side and created the best opportunities. So overall, maybe even stevens, but a cruel way to lose," he said.

Source: AAP

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