An unfortunate own-goal from Thomas Deng proved to be the difference as reigning A-League champions Sydney FC narrowly defeated Melbourne Victory 1-0 at Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening.
The hosts had hoped of avenging their Grand Final loss to the Sky Blues exactly five months ago and Kevin Muscat's men piled on the pressure in the early stages of the match.
However, the Victory were made to pay for their deficiencies in the final third as Graham Arnold's men took the lead after Deng turned the ball into his own net off a sumptuous Luke Wilkshire cross moments after the restart.
Here's how both sets of players fared in the season's first Big Blue.
Lawrence Thomas - 5: Could have got a stronger hand to the goal but also made a superb save to deny Wilkshire's stinging drive in the second half.
Jason Geria - 5.5: Put in a decent performance down the right hand side but lacked quality when he got into attacking areas.
James Donachie - 6: Looked a bit shaky at times but wasn't at fault for any catastrophic moments. Passed the ball into midfield well.
Rhys Williams - 6.5: Marshalled the back four solidly and also strode into midfield with the ball on several occasions. Had a chance to equalise late but the shot was blocked.
Thomas Deng - 4: Looked uncomfortable in an unfamiliar left-back position. Was exposed for pace on a few occasions. The own goal was unlucky.
Leigh Broxham - 5.5: Was solid without being remarkable. The midfield battle with O'Neill and Brilliante was relatively even.
Carl Valeri - 3.5: Has father time caught up with the Victory skipper? Looked slow and gave away plenty of fouls. Not his best performance.
Jai Ingham - 3: Constantly found himself in good attacking positions but delivered woefully into the penalty area.
Leroy George - 7: Impressive performance on debut. Got on the ball plenty of times and moved well. Will be interesting to see his role when Troisi returns.
Mitch Austin - 3.5: Was in the same boat as Ingham. Also had a good chance to open the scoring but took too long to shoot and was closed down by Buijs.
Besart Berisha - 4.5: Didn't really get much service but also didn't manage to inject himself into the game. Had one golden chance in the six-yard box but made poor connection and it was blocked.
Josh Hope - 5: Came on for George after 65 minutes. Looks to be a tidy player and one for the future.
Christian Theoharous - 5.5: Played the last eight minutes aterr replacing Austin and was Victory's most threatening player during that period. Delivery into the box needs significant work.
- Kieran Francis
Andrew Redmayne - 7.5: Ostensibly nervous to begin with but commanded his box well as the match progressed particularly from set pieces. Dealt with everything Victory threw at him.
Paulo Retre - 3: Found himself in dangerous positions going forward only for his first touch to let him down on several occasions. His crosses often failed to find the mark and was just as woeful in defence.
Jordy Buijs - 6: Handled the pressure well from the beginning thwarting a quick break from Mitch Austin early on before blocking a Berisha shot from close range in the second half.
Alex Wilkinson - 7: Started the season the way he finished the last, organised the back four well, struck up a great partnership with Buijs and barely put a foot wrong throughout.
Luke Wilkshire - 5: Forced to start on the left-flank with Zullo out injured but chipped, looked lively in attack but was kept busy by Geria and Ingham throughout. Delivered a sumptuous cross as Deng turned the ball into his own net. Was denied by Thomas moments later.
Joshua Brillante - 6: Busy in midfield and was particularly effective in defence has he was forced to deputise for an adventurous Retre. Played with more attacking intent in in the second half.
Brandon O'Neill - 5.5: Looked rusty in the opening 45 minutes, misplacing a number of passes in transition. Much improved after the break as he neutralised Leroy George.
Adrian Mierzejewski - 7: Was promising on debut. Might've been deployed on right-flank but was all over the park as asserted himself into the match. Had a good opportunity to open the scoring in 26th minute but hesitated. Was substituted for David Carney in the 75th minute.
Alex Brosque - 5: Lively to begin with but his influence diminished as the match wore on. Was withdrawn in the 67th minute.
Milos Ninkovic - 8: The Johnny Warren Medalist once again showcased his trickery, vision and superb technique as he led Sydney FC's resurgence from the front. Was a constant threat to Victory's defence and was by far the Sky Blues' best man on the field.
Bobo - 5: Endured a frustrating first half and was dispossessed on numerous occasions. Should've doubled the team's lead but headed Mierzejewski's chip well over from six yards out. Replaced with two minutes to go.
Matt Simon - 4: Came on for Alex Brosque in the 67th minute. First impression was disappointing as he tried to link up with Bobo on the break only for the move to fall through. Was generally rusty and ineffective.
David Carney - 4: Replaced Mierzejewski with 15 minutes to go. Only real contribution was a sloppy pass to Bobo moments after coming on.
Sebastian Ryall - N/A: Came for Bobo with two minutes remaining as Sydney FC looked to close out the match.
- Cronan Yu