Victory soar in 2-1 A-League derby win

Daniel Arzani's injury is an added blow to City in their Melbourne A-league derby loss to Victory.
Daniel Arzani's injury is an added blow to City in their Melbourne A-league derby loss to Victory.

Melbourne Victory have lit the fire under their A-League season with a determined 2-1 derby win over rivals Melbourne City.

Incisive goals from Kosta Barbarouses and Leroy George on Friday night lifted Victory to within a point of third-placed City on the table.

Bruno Fornaroli made his first start of the season and scored from a penalty but it was a dour night for Warren Joyce's side.

The loss was City's third in a row, with Daniel Arzani taken off on a stretcher with a calf issue after being cautioned for diving.

George, Victory's star winger, also had to be substituted after a hamstring problem.

Victory will sweat on his prognosis but bank the points from a second win in a week - and another controlled performance.

Kevin Muscat said time would tell whether the win, off the back of last week's 3-0 defeat of Adelaide United, would prove to be a turning point in their season, but admitted "it feels pretty good right here and now".

"We were very dynamic - unbelievably dynamic in attack," he said.

"A lot of that game ... we were allowing them to have the ball whilst we were in control."

Barbarouses' opener spared Besart Berisha's blushes after the frontman's poor positioning resulted in an early goal being chalked off for offside.

The Kiwi flyer put Leigh Broxham's cross in the net after 51 seconds, but Berisha's run distracted Dean Bouzanis sufficiently for the goal - correctly - to be overruled by the video assistant.

Victory ensured they took the lead 10 minutes later.

James Troisi won a contest with Manny Muscat to set up the Kosovo international, who turned and played in Barbarouses to finish strongly.

City forced Lawrence Thomas into three strong saves - two from Arzani - but Victory looked more likely.

City's frustrations boiled over on halftime when a spat between Scott Jamieson and Thomas Deng turned into a all-in touchline barney with Muscat and Deng booked for their aggression.

On 52 minutes, the derby took a twist and it was Victory's time to squirm.

When Dario Vidosic's cross struck the hand of stand-in captain Broxham at close quarters, Kris Griffith-Jones pointed to the spot.

Fornaroli sent an emphatic effort into the roof of the net for his first goal in 213 days.

Just as they did after their earlier setback, Victory settled and responded.

Broxham was given too much space outside the box just after the hour mark, and provided a centimetre-perfect pass for George to head home at the back post.

When Bouzanis went forward in the final moments of injury time, Troisi could have passed the ball into the City net only to blunder - but it mattered not as the final whistle sounded.

Bossing the possession but admitting City were "vulnerable" on the counter, Joyce said he thought his side deserved to at least draw.

"Second half, I thought we were good value ... it's obviously disappointing to end up with nothing out of the game," he said.

Australian Associated Press