Melbourne City 1 Melbourne Victory 2: George slays City in derby battle
Melbourne Victory retained the derby bragging rights with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Melbourne City at AAMI Park.
The latest crosstown encounter lacked the drama of December's clash, where Mark Milligan's penalty deep into stoppage time stole the points for Victory, but Leroy George's fifth goal of the season saw off City.
Warren Joyce's men levelled through Bruno Fornaroli's 54th-minute penalty after Kosta Barbarouses opened the scoring but City are now just a point and a place above their neighbours in third.
Barbarouses thought he had the breakthrough inside the opening minute but a VAR review saw that effort ruled out for offside.
The New Zealand international put that disappointment behind him by firing home an assured 12th-minute finish on the end of Besart Berisha's wonderful reverse pass.
City winger Daniel Arzani forced Lawrence Thomas into a sharp save at his near post, with opposite number Dean Bouzanis impressively denying George.
Scott Jamieson rattled the crossbar with a free-kick as City stepped up their search for an equaliser and derby tensions threatened to boil over when an altercation between Jamieson and Victory's Thomas Deng sparked a mass brawl by the touchline in first-half injury time.
It was all square when Leigh Broxham handled in the box and Fornaroli made no mistake, but the full-back atoned for his error, floating an excellent ball into the box for George to head home decisively in the 62nd minute.
James Troisi almost added gloss to the victory in a prolonged period of stoppage time, with Bouzanis out of his ground having gone up field for a corner, but the Australia winger slid his shot wide.