Melbourne City is off to the perfect start to the 2017-18 Hyundai A-League season with its latest win coming at the expense of crosstown rivals Melbourne Victory.
City, the early pacesetter in the competition, made it two wins from two starts in a stirring 2-1 away triumph over Victory, who remain point-less and second-last after two games.
City were good for all three points at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, withstanding an overly physical Victory early and then executing the perfect smash and grab mission with delightful goals through first half substitute and marquee player Marcin Budzinski, just before half time, and the tireless Bruce Kamau, in the second half.
Victory’s equalising goal came through the energetic Leroy George, who powered home from close range, with the ball taking a deflection off City defender Manny Muscat and into the net.
But George’s finish had nothing on the goals scored by City.
Budzinski, subbed in for the injured Osama Malik in the 42nd minute, wasted no time making his impact, advancing through the Victory defence after a delightful through ball from Nick Fitzgerald and rocketing a shot into the roof of the net at the near post, leaving Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas powerless to stop to strike.
Budzinski’s goal was a cracker, but Kamau’s was even better.
In one for the season highlights reel, Kamau picked up the ball before the halfway line and seemingly had the whole Victory defence on his heels, but out-ran them all while maintaining control of the ball and powering a low and hard shot, which took a wicked deflection off the foot of Victory midfielder Carl Valeri and into the back of the net.
With Victory soon to be down to 10 men following an injury to James Donachie and all three subs having been exhausted moments earlier, it was game, set and match after the Kamau strike.
Victory would get one last chance in stoppage time, but Rhys Williams’ header went over the bar.
Melbourne City will be looking to maintain the rage when it hosts Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park on Saturday evening, while Melbourne Victory will be looking to break the duck when it travels to Adelaide United on Friday night.
Melbourne Victory 1 (George) lt Melbourne City 2 (Budzinski, Kamau)