Melbourne City have reached their maiden Westfield FFA Cup final and claimed two derby wins in a fortnight as they defeated Melbourne Victory 2-0 at AAMI Park.
A controversial goal to Luke Brattan put City on their way in the ninth minute, while Fernando Brandan completed the win with 13 minutes remaining after Victory had the better of the chances.
Just 10 days after City destroyed Victory 4-1 in the Hyundai A-League, this was a much different encounter, with the Big V bringing plenty of aggression to the contest.
0-1 Melbourne City, Brattan 9'
Brandan laid the ball off for Brattan, who unleashed a shot into the bottom corner from 25 yards. Confusion reigned as the flag was raised against Tim Cahill but referee Shaun Evans overruled his assistant to give City the lead.
0-2 Melbourne City, Brandan 77'
Ansell lost possession in his own box and Fitzgerald's shot was tapped into the net by Brandan, who celebrated with fans behind the goal.
The match took a controversial turn early with Brattan's 25-yard strike initially ruled out before being reinstated.
As Brattan shot, City's Tim Cahill was standing in an offside position in front of Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas.
Cahill was forced to duck to avoid the ball but despite the assistant referee raising his flag, head official Shaun Evans decided to award the goal anyway.
The semi-final was a powder keg from the start, with Cahill tangling with Leigh Broxham and Jason Geria in just the fifth minute, which sparked an all-in melee.
Cahill almost gave the visitors the lead soon after but Thomas saved with his foot only for City to hit the front a minute later through Brattan.
Michael Jakobsen then denied Victory an equaliser when he headed off the line.
City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis - starting for the second straight match ahead of veteran Thomas Sorensen - had a nervous start thanks to Besart Berisha.
Having caused a sliced effort earlier, Berisha almost blocked one of Bouzanis' clearances into the net in the 18th minute but the ball looped just over the bar.
Berisha should have done better on the half hour, however, as he scooped Marco Rojas' cross over the bar.
Victory were on top thanks to their 4-3-3 formation, which saw Carl Valeri, Broxham and Rashid Mahazi sit deep in front of the defence, while the speed of Rojas and Geria provided plenty of threat on the break.
Meanwhile, Cahill seemed to public enemy number one from Victory's perspective, with Broxham, Valeri and coach Kevin Muscat all clashing with City's guest marquee.
As City struggled with Victory's intensity, the Big V continued to have the better chances in the second half as Broxham and Valeri went close.
Victory thought they were on level terms in the 72nd minute when Rojas got on the end of Daniel Georgievski's cross but the offside flag was raised - much to Muscat's frustration.
Brandan ended Victory's hopes of a comeback in the 77th minute, tapping in from Nick Fitzgerald's initial shot as City reached their first ever major final in any competition.
Westfield FFA Cup 2016 Semi Finals – Match Day 2
Melbourne Victory 0
Melbourne City FC 2 (Brattan 9’, Brandan 77’)
Crowd: 15,791 @ AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Shaun Evans
Melbourne Victory starting line-up: 20.Lawrence Thomas (gk), 2.Jason Geria, 4.Nicholas Ansell, 5.Daniel Georgievski, 6.Leigh Broxham, 7.Marco Rojas, 8.Besart Berisha, 14.Fahid Ben Khalfallah (25.Sebastian Pasquali 60’), 15.Alan Baro, 16.Rashid Mahazi (13.Oliver Bozanic 75’), 21.Carl Valeri (c)
Substitutes not used: 11.Mitch Austin, 17.James Donachie, 27.Alastair Bray (gk)
Yellow cards: Geria 34’, Baro 51’, Broxham 74’, Berisha 82’, Valeri 84’
Red cards: Nil
Melbourne City FC starting line-up: 20.Dean Bouzanis (gk), 2.Manny Muscat, 3.Josh Rose, 8.Neil Kilkenny, 10.Anthony Caceres (4.Connor Chapman 61’), 12.Nick Fitzgerald (5.Ivan Franjic 90+3’), 17.Tim Cahill (18.Paulo Retre 69’), 22.Michael Jakobsen, 23.Bruno Fornaroli (c), 26.Luke Brattan, 27.Fernando Brandan
Substitutes not used: 1.Thomas Sorensen (gk), 35.Christian Cavallo
Yellow cards: Brandan 78’, Jakobsen 82’
Red cards: Nil
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