Melbourne City capped off their regular season campaign with a come from behind 4-4 draw at CB Smith Reserve on Sunday afternoon as Joe Palatsides’ side came from 3-0 behind then 4-3 behind to secure a point in the youth Melbourne Derby.
City rotated their side for the contest with Conference A wrapped up and the FNYL Grand Final next week against Sydney FC.
The fast-paced start to the match saw plenty of fire in the contest, with challenges flying in and City keeping the majority of the ball in the opening stages.
It was Victory however who opened the scoring as a defensive error from Zachary Bates opened the door for Pierce Waring as the attacker took advantage of the 2v1 to cut back to Lucas Derrick to open the scoring.
City were hit with a blow after 30 minutes as influential midfielder Connor Metcalfe went off injured with an ankle issue and will be in doubt for next week’s Grand Final against Sydney FC.
The change allowed Victory to continue their dominance in the first half as they doubled their lead after 42 minutes. A rash challenge from Lucas Portelli opened the door for Waring to finish from the spot, sending James Delianov the wrong way to make it 2-0 to the visitors.
The match looked all but over after the break as Victory made it three through Brady Quinn after 54 minutes. The winger beat his defender and slotted his effort low across Delianov’s goal, as the upset result looked complete at this stage of the contest.
City had two chances to peg one back shortly after the goal as two separated double saves from Victory keeper Lucas Spinella again affirmed the crowd’s belief the match would end in a Victory’s favour but City’s leading goal scorer Yusuf Ahmed had other thoughts.
The striker pegged his first one back after 75 minutes as his relentless press was rewarded. Ahmed pinched the ball off the defender as he waltzed in one-on-one with Spinella to finish clinically.
Ahmed would once again make the most of a defensive error as a stray backpass to Spinella was pinched by the striker and similarly to his first goal, the forward would bring his side back into the match, slotting his effort beneath the keeper.
The comeback looked complete after 85 minutes as a wonderful ball across the area from Stefan Colakovski saw Gerrie Sylaidos slide in to see his effort hit the post and fall into the path of Braedyn Crowley to tap into an empty net.
The drama would not end there however as Victory were awarded another penalty in the final minute of regular time which looked to be the winner. Waring would make no mistake from the spot once again as City’s comeback looked to be in vain.
However in the final minute of stoppage time, City were rewarded for their efforts as Victory couldn’t hold back the home side’s barrage, conceding another spot kick. Ahmed would round off his hat-trick, putting his penalty in the top left corner to finish a crazy night of youth football.
City will now prepare for the Foxtel National Youth League Grand Final on Saturday 28 January as they take on Conference B winners Sydney FC at Central Coast Stadium, kick-off 2pm. You can see the match on Fox Sports 505.