Having been in amongst everything prior to the match being abandoned in December, Aiden O’Neill picked up from where left off, putting in a masterful performance to ensure city ran out 2-1 victors at AAMI Park.
With the game picking up from the 21st minute with City 1-0 ahead thanks to a stunning strike from the 24-year-old midfielder, O’Neill would be in the thick of it again in the game’s resumption, doubling the home side’s advantage inside the opening 15 minutes of the second half.
Being teed up perfectly by Valon Berisha, O’Neill would go on a clever run and put in a brilliant strike from the edge of the box, finding the middle of the net.
After a lacklustre opening half, it would provide a much needed spark to the game in what would ultimately prove to be the sealer.
Two goals ahead and looking in control of the game with more than half an hour to play, City would lose their foothold on the game as the second half wore on with the Victory wrestling momentum, pushing hard to salvage a point out of the game.
Bruno Fornaroli and Lleyton Brooks both had good chances to peg on back for the Victory, with Fornaroli shooting just wide of the target and Brooks shot skimming over the crossbar.
In the 88th minute, Nishan Velupillay would score via a tap in to give the away side a sniff. Spotted by a brilliant low cross, Velupillay was front and centre and would make no mistake from close range.
Though it’d come too little too late, City running out 2-1 victors and extending their unbeaten run to three games. Meanwhile for the Victory, the loss likely ends their finals hope with the side still lingering second-last on the table and losing touch with the rest of the pack.
Aiden O’Neill caps off an incredible month of football
Putting in one of his best performances of the season, the Melbourne Derby would mark an impressive past four weeks for the midfielder who’s been in stellar form.
Having impressed enough to earn a Socceroos call-up in their recent friendly series against Ecuador, O’Neill would be impressive in his two appearances and his form would continue again tonight, proving to be a problematic match-up for the Victory.
Having been crucial with his forward pressing and creating chances for his side, finishing with a brace and finishing the game having not been dispossessed, he was also solid out of possession, finishing the game with seven recoveries.
An all-round impressive showing, O’Neill looks to be in the form of his career, with his performance against the Victory one of his best to date.
Glover gets last laugh in impressive showing
Having been struck by Victory fans causing the match to get called off back in December, Thomas Glover didn’t appear phased to be stood behind a hostile crowd in the resumption of the derby.
With boos ringing from the Victory fans whenever he made a save or ball went in his direction, the City shot-stopper ultimately came out of the game with the last laugh with his side taking out all three points, possibly putting a dagger in their rivals finals chances, while putting in a decent performance in the win as well.
Finishing the game with three saves and going close to keeping a clean sheet, he’d save the derby for one of his better performances of the season.
Finals hopes done for the Victory?
With a decent run of form opening the door slightly ajar for the Victory to make finals, though the loss now would likely dash the hopes of them making finals.
Though finals is still mathematically possible, sitting four points adrift with four games to go, sitting in eleventh spot with competition for spots extremely tight, it looks to hard of a mountain to climb.
Having struggled for consistency for most of the season, the Victory look set to miss the finals for the second time in three seasons.