Ange Postecoglou hailed Saturday’s derby as a ‘cracking night of football’ after watching his Melbourne Victory defeat local rivals Heart 2-1.
Heart started strongly at Etihad Stadium, going close through Eli Babalj and Josip Tadic, but it was Victory who struck first through Archie Thompson on 29 minutes.
Mark Milligan doubled the lead from the penalty spot early in the second half, and Victory then looked set to run out comfortable winners.
David Williams had other ideas, getting one back for Heart on 72 minutes and making it a nervy finish for the team in blue and white.
“It was a cracking night of football, that’s for sure,” Victory coach Postecoglou said.
“It’s a great atmosphere and again our support was quite phenomenal.
“It was a good game, they (Heart) put us under pressure at times. We always look threatening going forward. Obviously (we’re) very pleased to get the three points in what was always going to be pretty tight and tense affair.”
After Williams scored for Heart, John Aloisi’s team pushed on in search of an equaliser, substitute Golgol Mebrahtu sending a header inches wide of the post with the clock running down.
Postecoglou said he expected Heart to mount a challenge in the second half, and praised his own players for weathering the storm.
“They were always going to come back into it – they lift for those games,” he said.
“I thought they played their part tonight, but we were always threatening going the other way. We looked like every time we broke through we could score.
“For the most part I thought we handled all that quite well. The first half was just a little bit too frenetic I thought, I thought we could’ve probably just stabilised a little bit and controlled the tempo of the game.”
Flying winger Marco Rojas went off late in the game, Postecoglou later clearing the New Zealand international of any serious injury concerns.
But centre-back Nick Ansell looks set for a spell on the sidelines after he was substituted due to a groin problem in the first half.
“Rojas should be OK, I think it was just a bit of tightness, but Ansell’s obviously done something,” the Victory coach said.
“He’s tweaked his groin so we’ll just see what the medical team comes up with. It was his hip last time, this is his groin.”
Victory’s next match is away to Adelaide United on Friday, when Postecoglou will be without Ansell and Mark Milligan, who will be on international duty with Australia.