Derbies are labelled as such based-on geography, but are defined by moments that epitomise rivalry.
Each derby around the world is unique and has its own story.
This is Melbourne’s.
Heart draw first blood
Melbourne Victory despised the league’s new arrivals for the 2010/11 season from day one. To the Victory fans the club was built on the foundations of being anti-Victory, deprived of any authentic identity.
Heart was the red to Victory’s blue. A match made in heaven.
Up until this stage, Victory had secured two A-League championships and their place on top of the food chain.
Heart may have had Socceroo hero John Aloisi, but Victory boasted Archie Thompson who had only a few years prior scored five goals in a Grand Final.
There was no way Victory would be knocked off their perch – or so they thought.
October 8, 2010 marks the day the script was officially flipped, as John Aloisi scored the inaugural Melbourne derby goal and Heart made history by upsetting their highly-fancied opponents in front of 25,897 people.
That Kevin Muscat tackle
It comes as no surprise ‘Super’ Kev was loved ever so dearly by Milwall fans and hated by everyone else.
He personified the working-class South London club that prides itself on an aggressive and no-nonsense style of play and attitude.
Not only did Kevin Muscat’s tackle on Adrian Zahra exacerbate the former’s reputation, but it amplified the rivalry within this newly formed derby.
Zahra was sidelined for the rest of the A-League season and Kevin Muscat suspended for eight weeks, a moment that acted as a turning point for both players in their careers.
The tackle came at a pivotal moment in the match with Heart having levelled the score after trailing 2-0. But the tone of the match changed considerably after this moment, with it perhaps being the first time in a derby anywhere around the world where you could hear a pin drop.
No VAR required as Archie steals it late
Victory’s derby record was starting to look embarrassing.
They had not beaten Heart in five meetings, and to make matters worse Fred, a former Victory great, was playing in the red and white.
Step up Archie Thompson.
Despite his goal scoring prowess, he had only scored one derby goal in seven appearances against Melbourne Heart. But this was about to change.
With this game looking as though it was headed for another stalemate, Thompson was played through. He received the ball running onto it and chipped it over the goalkeeper.
The referee boldly and correctly awarded the goal that narrowly crossed the line in stoppage time, as Thompson ran towards the Heart supporters, celebrating a famous derby triumph.
Kewell and co. humiliate Victory
If Victory fans thought Fred signing for Heart was bad enough, they had seen nothing yet.
The 2013/14 season saw Harry Kewell sign for Melbourne Heart, after departing Victory the season prior. Victory fans accepted Kewell’s departure from the club due to personal reasons, but the decision to join their rivals did not sit well.
This fixture came at an awkward time for Victory, after feeling the effects of balancing an Asian Champions League campaign with the A-League. Heart took full advantage.
Victory looked a shadow of the side that had sat in the top half for most of the season, humiliated in a 4-0 defeat with Harry Kewell netting the fourth, capping off what remains the biggest Melbourne derby win.
Berisha makes his mark in Derby debut
The City Group’s takeover of Melbourne Heart injected an interesting subplot into this derby.
Melbourne City were no longer the new kids on the block, they were the rich kids.
To coincide with this takeover Spanish legend David Villa made his way to the A-League and was ready to set the Melbourne derby alight.
But to Villa’s surprise he found himself in the back pocket of Victory’s Scott Galloway, as Besart Berisha stole the show, scoring a hattrick to announce himself at his new club.
Berisha’s performance best personified by him taking the ball right from the kick off after half time, going on to score one of the best individual goals the A-League has seen.
Along with Thompson who scored a brace, Victory went on to record a 5-2 win.
Victory heartbreak as Paartalu wins it at the death
Erik Paartalu does not score too many, but when he does it’s in critical moments.
After an off-season of spending, City had only won two from their opening ten of the season.
The team needed inspiration, and that’s exactly what they received in this Christmas derby.
Former Victory winger Mate Dugandzic put a ball into a congested 18-yard box, and up stepped Erik Paartalu who headed home the winner and reinvigorated City’s season.
Melbourne Victory may have won this match convincingly, but the football was not the major talking point from this clash.
As a football ground, Etihad Stadium has been criticised for its lack of atmosphere in comparison to AAMI Park.
Despite such concerns, this derby amassed a crowd of over 50,000 people, becoming the biggest derby to date and the only time both Melbourne sides have met in a final.
Tim Cahill and City make a statement
It’s very rare Tim Cahill gets booed. It’s even rarer to find Cahill booed in Australia, a nation he has often carried on his back.
Cahill signed for City under a new marquee system, which saw the FFA chip in from a marquee fund when they identified the player as being beneficial towards growing the competition.
It didn’t take Cahill long to justify his price tag either.
While famous around the world for his heading ability, he shocked the system by scoring one of the greatest Melbourne derby goals with an audacious half-volley from distance.
This goal was merely the tip of the iceberg, as Melbourne City outplayed Victory, defeating them 4-1 in the opening round of the season.
Berisha and Bouzanis’ war of words.
In addition to moments, derbies are built on characters.
The tension between Dean Bouzanis and Besart Berisha added another layer to derby’s history, which by this stage was filled to the brink with subplots.
This all came to a climatic end in a Melbourne derby filled with late drama.
The match was turned on its head after an uninspiring 70 minutes, as Melbourne City opened the scoring courtesy of an Alan Baro own goal, kicking Melbourne Victory and Besart Berisha into gear.
Victory scored two goals in three minutes to find themselves in front with six minutes remaining.
In the process, Cahill who was preparing to come on as a substitute, was sent off before stepping onto the pitch for foul language. Suddenly Etihad Stadium became a cauldron.
In the space of five minutes the derby had turned from a tedious game of football, in to one filled to scenes only described as chaotic.
The two Melbourne sides will write a new chapter in the derby’s history when they meet this Saturday October 20 at Marvel Stadium.
Athos Sirianos, Nicholas D'Urbano, Josh Parish, Marissa Lordanic, Christopher Chrysostomou & Tim Sperliotis