Melbourne City FC squandered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Melbourne Victory in a frantic FNYL Melbourne Derby at Epping Stadium on Sunday.
Goals from Luka Prelevic and Anthony Rizk seemed to propel Melbourne City FC back to the top of the Foxtel National Youth League table, but a late double from Jesse Makarounas ensured the away side came away with a share of the spoils in a thoroughly entertaining Derby.
Joe Palatsides’ side made an energetic start to proceedings and nearly took an early lead in the fourth minute. Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas spilled Herman Espindola’s corner into the path of Prelevic, who saw his shot cleared off the line.
But the home-side were celebrating only three minutes later as Prelevic was on hand to tap in the opening goal after Thomas could only parry Wade Dekker’s shot into the path of the striker.
The home side continued to carve out dangerous openings early on in the match, with Stefan Zinni forcing a smart save from Thomas at his near post after a great through ball from Dekker.
Melbourne Victory had a chance to restore parity after Marko Stevanja’s clearance fell to Rashid Mahazi outside the area, but the midfielder narrowly blazed his effort over the upright.
Stevanja was twice called into action to preserve Melbourne City FC’s lead, first clawing away a cross-come-shot from Kieran Dover before making an excellent stop to deny George Howard from six yards.
Victory continued to press forward in search of an equalizer and were denied by the linesman’s offside flag in the 42nd minute as Howard’s tap-in from Makarounas’s cutback was correctly ruled out.
Prelevic had a chance to add a second goal just on the stroke of half time after being teed up inside the area by the lively Espindola, but his shot was wonderfully blocked by defender Milos Ridesic.
Melbourne City FC had Stevanja to thank for maintaining their advantage early in the second half when he stood tall to deny Andrew Nabbout in a one-on-one situation, with the striker also wasting a golden opportunity to level the scores when he blazed over from inside the penalty area after a lovely chipped pass from Dover.
The away side were made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal in the 68th minute when a lovely turn and pass from Espindola found substitute Rizk, who powered his shot past Thomas to double Melbourne City FC’s advantage. The striker nearly completed a quick- fire double only two minutes later after being released on goal again by Espindola, only for his shot to be beaten away by Thomas.
Victory pushed men forward in search of an avenue back into the match, with Makarounas ensuring a tense finale in the 81st minute after tapping home an excellent cutback from Nabbout. The midfielder then turned the game on its head when he finished emphatically past Stevanja only three minutes later to level the scores.
Victory were reduced to ten men after Dylan Murnane was given his marching orders, but had two golden chances to snatch the victory in the 89th minute, with Nabbout denied again by the brilliant Stevanja and Tyler James making a crucial goal line clearance.
Melbourne City FC had a chance to pinch a win only seconds before time, but Prelevic was denied by an excellent block from substitute Christopher Cristaldo.
Melbourne City FC 2 (Luka PRELEVIC 9’, Anthony RIZK 68’)
Melbourne Victory 2 (Jesse MAKAROUNAS 81’, 84’)