Melbourne Victory have gone down 3-2 to cross-town rivals Melbourne Heart in a pulsating pre-Christmas derby on Friday night before a record Hyundai A-League crowd at AAMI Park.

Archie Thompson's sixth goal of the campaign put Victory in front, but two goals from his namesake Matt gave the Heart the edge at half-time.

Substitute Alex Terra put the red-and-whites two goals to the good midway through the second half before a late consolation strike from Carlos Hernandez.

The contest burst to life in the fifth minute when Archie Thompson charged on to a lovely through ball from Hernandez who needed all of his strength to shrug off two defenders and get his pass away.

Thompson met the ball a split-second ahead of Clint Bolton to win a straightforward penalty from referee Strebre Delovski who opted to present a yellow, rather than a red, card to Bolton for his challenge.

The Victory faithful crammed behind the goal at the northern end waiting expectantly for the opener were disappointed when Hernandez planted his spot kick at a comfortable height to Bolton's right.

The 'keeper blocked, the ball was cleared, and a chance went begging.

The goal the fans in blue were craving came in the 21st minute when Thompson latched on to a long clearance from Ante Covic.

With his path blocked by Brendan Hamill and Heart defenders to his left and right, the only way through was to lob the keeper who was fractionally off his line.

It was in from the moment it left Thompson's boot.

Victory maintained a firm grip on the contest until the Heart scored totally against the run of play in the 37th minute when Mate Dugandzic switched to Rutger Worm unmarked on the left.

The Dutchman slipped the ball through to Matt Thompson whose left-foot blast went in off the right-hand post.

Two minutes later, Thompson put the Heart in front when he ghosted in from the right and chipped the advancing Covic from an impossible angle.

With their tails up, there were near things for the red and white in the closing minutes of the half.

An appeal for handball against Broxham was turned down and twice Covic put himself between shots from Fred and Eli Babalj.

The Victory came close to levelling-up in the 55th minute when Isaka Cernak's first-time shot from a Hernandez through ball was tipped wide by Bolton.

Five minutes on, Hernandez buried an unstoppable header only for the goal to be disallowed for offside.

Much like the first half, however, a period of domination for Victory was rudely interrupted by a goal at the other end.

This time it was Brazilian striker Terra in the 62nd minute who controlled the ball with his thigh and slammed the ball past Covic after a header lobbed into a crowded penalty area fell his way.

The Heart could or should have scored again in the 78th minute when Jason Hoffman rounded the keeper, only for his shot to be blocked on the line by Matthew Foschini, and two minutes later Terra blasted wide when one-on-one with the keeper.

Hernandez got onto the scoresheet from a free kick in the 92nd minute by which time it was all too late.

Melbourne Heart 3 (Thompson 37, 39, Terra 62)
Melbourne Victory 2 (Thompson 21, Hernandez 90)
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