Rivalries and traditions evolve naturally in football and the Christmas Melbourne derby is one such example.
Some of the Melbourne derby’s best and most memorable moments have happened during the December fixture and there is no doubt more classic moments will be added to the folder on Saturday night.
The Archie Thompson goal
It’s one of the goals Heart/City fans want to forget. It was 1-1 late in the piece thanks to two second half goals – one from Marco Rojas and one from Fred.
Adama Traore’s defensive work created the turnover which unleashed Rojas. The Kiwi played through Archie Thompson who chipped Clint Bolton. The ball hit the crossbar and bounced over the line before being cleared by a Heart defender.
The celebration is iconic; Thompson running down the sideline, taking off the highlighter yellow away kit, Heart fans almost exploding with fury telling him to stop celebrating and that the goal hadn’t been given.
The goal was given and the 93rd minute strike was the winning goal for Victory.
In the grand tradition of late Christmas derby winners, Erik Paartalu’s 90th minute winner was emphatic. A scoreless draw looked likely though not for a lack of trying, with both sides testing the respective ‘keepers and the goal frame providing some intervention to boot.
Mate Dugandzic’s ball into the area was always going to be difficult to deal with considering the sheer number of bodies in the box. However, the ball fell perfectly at Paartalu’s feet who had enough space to smash it home from very close range.
It was City’s first derby win under its new name.
An impenetrable wall
Thomas Sorensen is unarguably one of Melbourne City’s best ever players and he proved that with his performance in the 2015 edition.
The Dane was an absolutely colossus, denying shot after shot from a rampant Victory. It was a matter of quality and quantity when it came to the saves.
Down the other end, Stefan Mauk and Paulo Retre ensured Sorensen’s good work wasn’t in vain, securing City a 2-1 win over their crosstown rivals.
Milligan (P) 90+5
The latest and most dramatic of the Christmas derby goals comes from the most recent fixture. Scoreless in injury time a Dean Bouzanis brain fade saw City’s ‘keeper at the edge of the box, attempting a fly kick clearance and ultimately tripping Mark Milligan.
The decision was easy for the referee and Milligan stepped up, converting the spot kick. It was one of the last actions of the game and ensured it was two Christmas derbies in a row for Victory.