Da Silva soars late for Victory derby win over City

Anna Harrington |

Damien Da Silva (2L) has headed home a late goal to settled the ALM’s latest Melbourne derby.
Damien Da Silva (2L) has headed home a late goal to settled the ALM’s latest Melbourne derby.

Melbourne Victory defender Damien Da Silva has scored a dramatic late winner to deliver a 2-1 comeback triumph over Melbourne City and keep his side in the hunt for the A-League Men premiership.

City playmaker Tolgay Arslan, wearing the captain’s armband, gave his side the lead in the fourth minute at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

Bruno Fornaroli restored parity from the penalty spot half an hour later before Da Silva headed home from a corner in the 86th minute, guaranteeing finals football in the process.

“I’m delighted that we came from behind, showed great character but also great football,” Victory coach Tony Popovic said.

“We should have had more goals but in the end, we had to be resilient, we had to suffer a bit at the end, but I thought over the whole game we deserved the win.”

Victory (41 points) sit behind Central Coast and Wellington (both 46 points) and next face the Phoenix away.

“We haven’t spoken about the premiers plate the last couple of weeks,” Popovic said.

“It’s an old cliche and it’s a bit boring, but we just want to keep winning.”

City (30 points) are four points outside the top-six, and next face Perth at home.

With coach Aurelio Vidmar unavailable through illness, stand-in City mentor Raffaele Napoli suffered a blow before the game started with Marco Tilio ruled out with a quad injury.

City were gifted the lead after a disastrous mix-up from Victory.

Tolgay Arslan (right) scores.
Melbourne City’s Tolgay Arslan slots home in the ALM derby loss to Melbourne Victory. (Will Murray/AAP PHOTOS)

Ryan Teague’s poor, heavy backpass caught Jake Brimmer unawares and Arslan pounced, brushing off the midfielder and bursting forward to finish past Paul Izzo.

It was the first goal in three derbies this season.

Victory put the hammer down and dominated from there with 22 shots (five on target) to seven (two), and at one point City went 59 minutes without recording an official shot.

“I felt we stopped playing, to be honest,” Napoli said.

“Our movement wasn’t great in possession.

“Whether we scored early and got a little bit complacent, I don’t know. We just stopped playing and everything we’ve been working on the last six weeks, we didn’t do it.

“So we need to reflect on why.”

Victory equalised in the 34th minute when City left-back Vicente Fernandez needlessly brought down Jason Geria and Fornaroli buried the penalty.

Bruno Fornaroli.
Bruno Fornaroli levels from the spot in the derby win over Melbourne City. (Will Murray/AAP PHOTOS)

Only a desperate intervention from Curtis Good stopped Fornaroli tapping home in the 45th minute.

Fornaroli appeared to have headed his side in front just before halftime but was marginally offside.

But Victory would not be denied and took the lead when Da Silva headed home from a Teague corner.

Three minutes later, Arslan was put through on goal but blasted over the bar, then sank to his knees.