Keisuke Honda was handed a loss on his A-League debut after Melbourne City came from behind to seal a dramatic 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory.
Under the closed roof of Marvel Stadium and with a vocal 40,000 crowd watching on, Melbourne Victory almost found a fortunate opener in the 10th minute when a cross-turned-shot from Terry Antonis required a diving save from Eugene Galekovic.
City would then have a good chance of their own just 10 minutes later with a Bruno Fornaroli chance smothered well by Lawrence Thomas.
With all eyes on him and wearing the captain's armband, Victory marquee Keisuke Honda stepped up in the 27th minute as he headed home a Storm Roux cross to hand his new side the lead.
The Japanese attacker making no mistake from close range, but doing well to duck in front of his defender and flick home a well-placed cross.
— Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) October 20, 2018
Referee Kurt Ams would then steal the spotlight before the end of the half after upgrading a questionable foul on Fornaroli to a penalty in the 40th minute - with VAR replays showing the incident did take place inside Victory's box.
Florin Berenguer having his resulting penalty saved initially by Lawrence Thomas, only for Aston Villa loanee Ritchie da Laet to bundle the ball home on the rebound.
That controversial moment saw the two teams head into the break locked at 1-1 with Kevin Muscat less than impressed with the referee and finding his side level with a lacklustre City outfit.
Warren Joyce's side emerged from the break with a greater threat to them but it was Victory who almost snatched the lead back in the 65th minute when James Troisi hit the post with a long-range strike.
Counting their lucky stars, City would make the most of a slick counter-attack in the 70th minute as substitute Riley McGree handed his side the lead with his first touch.
The attacker finishing clinically after a brilliant through ball from Luke Brattan unlocked Victory's defence.
Chasing the game, Honda went close to a Victory equaliser late on with Galekovic doing enough to push the ball over the crossbar.
City surviving late pressure to seal a surprise derby win as the A-League's reigning champions began their season with a loss.