May 09, 2015 12:43:26 UK
Two goals in the first half-hour put Melbourne Victory on their way to a convincing 3-0 semi-final win over crosstown rivals City at a packed Etihad Stadium.
The A-League premiers had all the quality in front of goal, especially when they scored their decisive second goal through New Zealand international Kosta Barbarouses.
His superb volley gave keeper Tando Velaphi no chance as he executed it to perfection to fire Fahid Ben Khalfallah’s cross home despite the ball arriving at an awkward height for him.
City had more shots on goal than their rivals – 17 to 14 – but were guilty of some poor finishing. Their best chance arguably fell to the wrong man in the second half as defender Patrick Kisnorbo sprayed his shot wide.
John van ‘t Schip’s side were not helped by losing David Williams, Aaron Mooy and Harry Novillo to injury.
Victory kept up their record of having won all the 13 matches in which they have scored in the opening half-hour this season, taking the lead on 18 minutes through Besart Berisha.
He headed home decisively to send the vast majority of the derby-record 50,873 crowd wild, finishing off a good move that started with defender Matthieu Delpierre. The Frenchman’s ball found Barbarouses wide on the right, before the overlapping Leigh Broxham delivered a perfect low cross for Berisha to convert.
Victory’s final goal came three minutes from time as Archie Thompson, who had come on as a substitute nine minutes earlier, seized on a rebound to tap the ball home.
City had more of the possession, won more corners and made more passes on the night but went unrewarded as their rivals were superior in the only stat that really counted.
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