The Melbourne derby returned to its brilliant best with Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory fighting out a dramatic 2-2 draw at AAMI Park.
City, the reigning A-League Men champions who were without Mat Leckie, received a shock to the system when Francesco Margiotta powered Victory in front after 12 minutes. On the hour mark, Andrew Nabbout set up Jamie Maclaren for the equaliser then put City in front three minutes later.
But in a far cry from last year's 6-0 and 7-0 thrashings, instead of collapsing, Victory fought back. Substitute Nick D'Agostino had the game's final say on the counter, snatching an equaliser in the 81st minute, while Maclaren was sent off in the 96th.
Victory cleverly took the lead when Marco Rojas won a free kick and as City sluggishly went about setting up, Jake Brimmer took it quickly. The midfielder lifted the ball over the City defence and into the path of Margiotta, who let it run across his body then lashed it home.
In the 36th minute, City's Connor Metcalfe received a yellow card after going in studs-up on Victory skipper Josh Brillante, while Marco Rojas was forced off through injury from an earlier challenge and Chris Ikonomidis entered the fray.
The start of the second half was delayed after there was a scuffle between fans at the south end of the stadium. Victory goalkeeper Kelava was forced to retrieve bottles that were thrown on the pitch.
City equalised after Florin Berenguer pinched the ball off Rai Marchan, burst forward then slipped a pass out wide to Nabbout. The Socceroo whipped the ball across the face of goal and Maclaren slid in with his left foot to score.
Shortly after, Nathaniel Atkinson went on a jinking run, then worked the ball to Marco Tilio on the left. The winger floated a cross to the back post where a surging Nabbout smashed home the header.
Victory coach Tony Popovic turned to Robbie Kruse and D'Agostino in the 71st minute and the call bore fruit 10 minute later. Victory goalkeeper Ivan Kelava thwarted a City attack by hoofing the ball downfield and D'Agostino beat Curtis Good in a foot race to get to the ball first, then sidefooted it past Tom Glover to ensure a share of the points.
Both teams had chances to win it at the death but couldn't break through, while Maclaren bizarrely received a straight red card after a duel with Jason Geria.