NPL report: Victory 3-2 City

Melbourne Victory recorded a thrilling 3-2 win over City in a Derby clash in the NPL2 West on Sunday.

Summary

A brace from Stefan Ristic settled the encounter at Epping Stadium, where Victory twice came from behind.

A Benjamin Carrigan own goal gave City the lead before Nuh Sehavdic, 19, brought Victory level, with Ristic later cancelling out Moudi Najjar's strike.

The midfielder scored what proved to be the winner in the 83rd minute to secure a deserved win for Victory.

Victory enjoyed the better of the opening half-hour, although most of its chances came via set-pieces.

Ristic, 18, tested City goalkeeper Ahmad Taleb with a free-kick before Carrigan and Aaron Anderson headed his set-pieces wide.

While Victory enjoyed most of the play, it fell behind approaching half-time, Carrigan turning a cross from the right past goalkeeper Branko Skocic.

Skocic was called into action again by Gianluca Iannucci, diving low to his left to push away a 25-yard strike.

Ristic's set-pieces continued to cause problems before the midfielder played in Sehavdic, whose strike was cleared off the line after rounding Taleb in the 58th minute.

But Victory deservedly equalised on the hour-mark, Sehavdic finding room in the area before picking out the bottom corner.

However, City restored its lead through Najjar, who tapped in a cross from Stefan Colakovski.

Victory struck back immediately through Ristic after Sehavdic's effort fell to him at the back post.

Ristic also found the match-winner, tucking away a cross from substitute Liston Diaz, 17, to earn Victory the three points.

Head coach Gareth Naven's post-match thoughts

"We talked about the importance of what we work on during the week regarding our collective pressure, things that are important that we need to do with possession and trying to penetrate in behind City, defensive structure needed to get better and more than that, we just wanted our players to want the contest more. I thought the second-half performance was a lot better, wanting to be in the game, wanting to contest every ball, wanting to improve our performance generally. Too many errors in the first half, not so many errors in the second half, got ourselves back in the game.

"Nuh Sehavdic played his first full 90 minutes since he damaged his ACL 12 months ago, which for me was really exciting to see him be aggressive, lead the team, demand things from his team-mates which I never saw in the first half collectively as a group, got really angry with the type of performance that's required and I thought he was the catalyst to drive the team forward. In youth football, people like that are so important to have ­– not one, but five, six, seven, eight, nine people like that. We need to learn that we need more people on the field to lead, set an example, be accountable, to drive the team through good and bad moments, to keep people in the match and I thought Nuh as a person and a player tried to affect everyone to keep them in the match which was good."

NPL2 West 2019 Round 16
Melbourne Victory 3
(Nuh Sehavdic 60', Stefan Ristic 71'/83')
City 2 (Benjamin Carrigan 36' og, Moudi Najjar 70')

Melbourne Victory: Branko Skocic (gk); Aaron Anderson, Benjamin Carrigan (c), Matthew Bozinovski, So Nishikawa; Thierry Iradukunda, Brandon Lauton (Liston Diaz); Jack Palazzolo (Daniel Aye), Stefan Ristic, Yazid Said (Jack Morton); Nuh Sehavdic.

Under-20s

Victory's league-leading under-20s edged City 4-3.