Melbourne City's win despite 12 absentees shows 'tremendous amount of resilience' - Warren Joyce
Melbourne City's defeat of cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory might not have been their most meritorious A-League win, but it might have been their gutsiest.
City had to overcome more than just Keisuke Honda's opener to triumph 2-1 against the Victory.
Warren Joyce was missing 12 players from the opening round clash, including first-choice selections Osama Malik (calf) and new signing Michael O'Halloran (hamstring).
Captain Scott Jamieson (hamstring) was a line-ball omission, project player Curtis Good was yet to prove his fitness, seven underage stars were in Indonesia with the Young Socceroos, and to top it off, Dario Vidosic was taken ill on match day.
It all led to Joyce naming 15-year-old Idrus Abdulahi on the bench -- who would have been the youngest-ever A-League player if he got on -- alongside substitute debutant Anthony Lesiotis, just 18.
With Rostyn Griffiths and Riley McGree underdone, Joyce re-jigged his side and handed 34-year-old Iacopo La Rocca a first match -- competitive or otherwise -- for months, and Kearyn Baccus a first start for City just nine days after signing.
And they only defeated the champions, in front of a raucous pro-Victory crowd of 40,504.
"I thought we showed a tremendous amount of resilience," Joyce said.
"The week got disrupted with late injuries to players and illnesses to players.
"La Rocca coming in after having not played since last February, [and was] tremendous, not even a reserves game, nothing. That showed tremendous character.
"Culture is a big word in this country. We want that throughout the football club.
"They dug in and I'm proud of them."
City's triumph came despite losing possession 55-45 and the shot count 17-8, but Baccus put the win another way.
"We were lucky," he said. "I don't think we played that well tonight but we got the win.
"Victory are a great team and they're going to be there or thereabouts. It's unbelievable to get a win tonight ... the boys grinded and did whatever we needed to do."