Kruse inspires first derby triumph

Melbourne Victory earned cross-town bragging rights and moved back into the Hyundai A-League's top six thanks to a dominant 3-1 derby victory over Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park.

Melbourne Victory earned cross-town bragging rights and moved back into the Hyundai A-League's top six thanks to a dominant 3-1 derby victory over Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park.

In-form ace Robbie Kruse inspired Victory to their inaugural derby triumph in front of 23,059 fans with a first-half brace that proved the difference between the city rivals.

The Hyundai A-League's leading marksman was joined on the scoresheet by reliable defender Adrian Leijer, who continued his happy knack of scoring important goals in the 54th minute.

The success moves Victory up to fifth on the ladder and stretches their unbeaten run to four matches.

Gerald Sibon's wonderful 25-yard strike in the 17th minute was the only bright spot on a tough night for the Heart, who now drop to eighth.

But back to the Victory and the dynamic Kruse, who broke the ice in derby no.2 with a tap-in that completed a move oozing of international class.

Thailand international Surat Sukha sparked things when he disposed Heart's Dutch winger Rutger Worm and subsequently spilled to Carlos Hernandez.

The Costa Rican star played in Archie Thompson down the right hand side and the Socceroo put in on a plate for Kruse, who did the rest.

Heart took just five minutes to respond in the best way possible thanks to a world-class free-kick from the mercurial Sibon.

The Dutchman's 25-yard effort bent wickedly around the wall and deceived Victory goalkeeper to go in the right hand corner.

But 11 minutes later, Heart were behind again when Matt Thompson's poor touch allowed Kruse to nick the ball like a thief in the night and slide it home on his left past Clint Bolton to make it 2-1 for Victory.

The double takes Kruse's tally for the season to 10, moving him two clear of Adelaide's Sergio Van Dijk and Brisbane Roar hitman Jean Carlos Solorzano.

Such was the quality of his performance, that he earned an early mark from coach Ernie Merrick with 15 minutes to go.

Kruse wasn't the only Victory star to exit early, with Hernandez's 68-minute cameo worth the price of admission.

Victory had a number of quality contributors, none more than Sukha, who impressed at right back after coming in for the injured Leigh Broxham.

Thompson, in his fifth game back from a knee injury, looks better with every hitout and turned provider for two of the goals, Kruse's first and Leijer's effort.

Leijer's goal was his first since the 2009-10 grand final against Sydney FC and while it wasn't the prettiest effort, it ended the derby as a genuine contest.

Victory were also well-served by Sukha, who impressed at right-back after coming in for the injured Leigh Broxham and industrious midfielder Grant Brebner.

Victory's next match is at AAMI Park against Perth Glory on December 18.