The season’s first Melbourne derby has ended in a goalless draw at Marvel Stadium, as the VAR denies Elvis Kamsoba of his maiden A-League goal.
A crowd of 33,532 packed into Marvel Stadium for a contest where chances were few and far between.
The Victory did find the back of the net in the 56th after Kamsoba finished off an impressive through ball from captain Ola Toivonen.
While fans got a good glimpse of the former Avondale forward’s back-flip celebration, they will still have to wait for his first goal as it was ruled out by the VAR after being found to be offside.
Tension was quite high from the kick off, as City captain Scott Jamieson’s off-the-ball bump to Leigh Broxham in the first minute set the tone for an intense opening few minutes to the derby.
Socceroo Andrew Nabbout looked lively in his return to the club, escaping Jamieson’s grasp twice in the first ten minutes as he looked like Victory’s most dangerous player.
But despite Victory’s early dominance, it was City’s Lachlan Wales with the best of the early chances, striking the ball low in the 11th minute across his body after finding space behind the Victory defence.
From here City took control of the first half, dominating possession and looking far more comfortable on the ball.
In defence, Harrison Delbridge limited the influence of Ola Toivonen, who failed to create or get on the end of any chances in the first half.
City’s two Uruguayan imports looked at home in their new surroundings, while Connor Metcalfe showed plenty of composure – combining well with midfield partner Josh Brillante.
Victory’s only shot on target for the half came in the 40th minute when Roux’s close ranged attempt deflected off Jamieson after the ball spilled loose from a Victory corner.
The home side sought to rectify an uninspiring opening half in attack, as Elvis Kamsoba broke on the counter in the 47th minute but saw his attempt blocked by an equally desperate Curtis Good running back.
City sprung to life with a chance of their own the very next play with Craig Noone finding space on the left-wing but was forced to his attempt deflected for a corner as Adama Traore jumped in-front of the shot.
Frustrated by a poor first half, Toivonen sought to inspire his team with an audacious attempt from 30 yard which skimmed the top of the net in the 50th minute.
It took a moment of class from the Victory captain with a defence splitting through ball to set-up the pacey Kamsoba, who found the back of the net in the 56th minute
Though the former Avondale player would have his debut goal ruled out, as the VAR found him to be offside.
At the other end 19-year-old Connor Metcalfe nearly put away his debut goal after he forced Lawrence Thomas into an awkward save in the 64th minute – with Thomas nearly going the wrong way after the shot picked up a slight deflection on its way through.
Metcalfe would have a similar chance six minutes later, before miscommunication among the Victory attackers saw them blow a golden chance to open the scoring after a Bouzanis turnover.
The City cleared the ball straight to Nabbout out on the right wing, but the Socceroo was unable to capitalise – opting to centre the ball to Toivonen instead of going in on goal himself in the 71st minute.
With the match heading into stoppage time, Metcalfe combined with fellow youth product and substitute Moudi Najjar, who dribbled inside the box but fired his attempt well over the cross bar in what would be City’s last chance for the match.
The crowd found its voice in the second half as the 33,000 in attendance attempted to spur their side on for a late winner.
This was matched by an increase the intensity on the field as tempers began to flare between Delbridge and Toivonen, resulting in a scuffle between several players in the City penalty area.
The final whistle blew to a chorus of boos, mainly from the Victory supporters who felt as though Toivonen should have received a free kick in the fight, as both teams leave Marvel Stadium with a point.
Feature Image: Herald Sun