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City set up sky blue FFA Cup final

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 24/10/2016 Ben McKay

Melbourne City will play off in the FFA Cup final for the club's first trophy after overcoming Melbourne Victory 2-0 in a high-octane derby at AAMI Park on Tuesday night.

Luke Brattan's contentious first-half goal and Fernando Brandan's sealer 13 minutes from time gave City the final berth, which will be played at the same venue against Sydney FC on November 30.

And unlike their A-League duel of 10 days ago, City were made to work for this win.

The fight was on from the first whistle.

Every foul seemed to bring either an argument or a scrap and none were bigger than when 17-players came together after Tim Cahill wrestled Leigh Broxham and Rashid Mahazi to the ground in the fourth minute.

Both sides were desperate to gain the upper hand from the get-go, having seen City prosper from a brighter start in their last meeting.

Cahill's close-range shot was then saved by Lawrence Thomas but City had their opening goal shortly after.

Brattan won the ball off Fahid Ben Khalfallah and cut a swathe through midfield, receiving it back from Brandan and lashing home from 20 metres.

The only problem was the assistant referee flagged the strike, given Cahill obstructed Thomas' view from an offside position.

Referee Shaun Evans reversed the decision, incensing Victory and upping the ante for clashes to come.

Dean Bouzanis - surprisingly kept in goal despite his howler in City's last-out loss - struggled with distribution and was baited by Besart Berisha for every mistake.

The Albanian turned villain on the half-hour mark, spooning Marco Rojas' pinpoint cross over the bar when an equaliser beckoned.

Michael Jakobsen was forced to clear a Victory header off the line as Kevin Muscat's side rose to the challenge.

Rojas was inspiring his side back into the contest, and raced clear to tee up Broxham, whose deflected shot fizzed agonisingly wide.

The Kiwi had the ball in the back of the net in the 72nd minute but unlike City, weren't afforded the benefit of the officials' doubt.

Instead, City - who were deserved winners on the night - made sure of their maiden finals appearance when Brandan scrambled an effort home to capitalise on Victory's indecision in defence.

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