City sink Victory to the lowest ever ebb… again

For the second straight meeting, Melbourne City has made local foes Melbourne Victory look less an A-League entity and more a collection of part-time panal beaters: equalling the competition record for largest ever winning margin as they recorded a 7-0 victory.  

Somehow, Andrew Nabbout’s 11th-minute contender for the Puskas Award was a footnote by the end of Friday evening’s contest at AAMI Park; five goals to Jamie Maclaren and a further strike to Adrian Luna delivering a result that cannot be read as anything other than an outright humiliation. 

Ultimately, it was an indignity that cost Victory boss Grant Brebner his job.

Thanks to Western United’s 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners earlier that afternoon, the three points lifts the Citizens to outright first on the table and the four goals elevates their goal difference to +20: an astonishing 13 better than the next best Mariners. 

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Conversely, for a second-straight Melbourne Derby, the depressing levels of abjectness that Victory’s 2020-21 A-League side are capable of reaching was on full display; those assembled in navy blue, somehow, finding a way to lose in an even more listless, craven and undignified manner than their 6-0 thrashing earlier this season. 

City’s last four goals arriving in the final 15 minutes, three of those being delivered in a devastating three-minute burst, and Victory had by the end of the game utterly surrendered; their fans chanting that the players in the pitch were unworthy of the shirt.

If there were any doubts that City were now the big dogs on Melbourne’s A-League scene they should all be removed: the Victory that won four A-League championships, three premierships and an FFA Cup now existing as little more than a whisper of a memory.

Perversely, given what was to come, for a few fleeting early minutes it appeared as though Victory was actually capable of making a game of it: Callum McManaman and Jake Brimmer flashing warning signs with efforts on goal in the opening exchanges. 

But they were promptly put back in their box in the most ruthless of manners.  

Returning City captain Scott Jamieson blowing up an attempt to break quickly in the 11th minute, the ball was worked to Nabbout on the left flank, with the winger promptly driving at Storm Roux and letting loose from just outside the penalty area with an outside-of-the-boot effort that sailed over the head of Victory keeper Matt Acton.

While his meaning of it would have made it a great story, Nabbout promptly killed any possibility of debate off at halftime, when he told Fox Sports that he had, indeed, meant to cross it. 

Nonetheless, his strike, accidental as it proved to be, gave his side all sense of momentum, and his presence again came to the fore on the half an hour mark when he was collected both high and late by the boot of Adama Traore. 

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Much to the dismay, and fury, of the Victory left-back, the challenge proved enough to earn him an instant dismissal from referee Chris Beath; the Ivorian’s attempt to grab at the official’s armband and subsequent tantrum almost certain to earn him an extended stint on the sidelines.

Victory’s left flank left temporarily undefended as they scrambled to prepare a Brandon Lauton for Ben Folami substitution, City moved quickly to make them pay and Nabbout was right in the thick of it. 

Receiving a lobbed pass in acres of space on the right flank, the one-time Victory man’s tormenting of his former side continued when he drove into the area and induced a hapless looking challenge from Jacob Butterfield that immediately resulted in Beath pointing for the spot. 

The challenge represented one of the few occasions that Butterfield made a contribution to the contest in one form or another; the Englishman’s place in the Victory squad over younger players a significant question for whomever takes over moving forward.  

Having butchered a golden chance to make it 2-0 in the 28th minute, Maclaren made no mistake with the ensuing penalty as he thundered it beyond Acton to double City’s advantage. 

His foes reduced to ten, the brace came in the 65th minute when the striker took advantage of some statuesque defending from the Victory backline to nod home a Marco Tilio cross from close range, and the game ball was promptly secured when he fired home from the spot after Tilio was brought down by Brimmer in the 74th minute. 

More goals for the Socceroo spearhead arrived in the 84th and 85th minute, with Luna adding a cherry on the sundae with the game’s seventh in the 86th. 

City’s supporters, who had cheekily displayed signs with six on them before the game to taunt their foes, rose in celebration a few minutes later when full time was whistled, only to be drowned out from those up the other end.

For Victory fans, downtrodden and fed up, made clear their utter disgust at the moribond state their A-League side are in with a wave of boos and venomous chants.

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Header Image Credit: Melbourne City

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