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Soccer-Victory swat aside City in Melbourne derby to reach final

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MELBOURNE, May 8 (Reuters) - Premiers' Plate winners Melbourne Victory brushed aside the challenge of Melbourne City to stroll into the A-League Grand Final with a 3-0 demolition in Friday's derby.

Besart Berisha and Kosta Barbarouses scored early goals, while Archie Thompson made the game safe with a late third as the Victory, who topped the table at the end of the regular season, reached the final for the first time in five years.

They will host either Sydney FC or Adelaide United in next week's showpiece and will be confident of success after a strong display against their upstart city rivals, who are backed by wealthy English Premier League outfit Manchester City.

Albanian striker Berisha opened the scoring in front of more than 50,000 fans at Docklands Stadium after being carelessly left unmarked to head home inside the six yard box in the 18th minute.

Barbarouses added an exquisite second on the half hour mark, smartly opening his body to angle a cross from the left into the top right corner following more slack City marking.

City's hopes were then hindered by injuries to David Williams, Aaron Mooy and Harry Novillo who were all replaced before the hour mark, while Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas was on hand to thwart their best chances.

City, who won at Wellington Phoenix to make the semi-finals, continued to push for a way back into the game but Thompson, who once scored 13 goals in a World Cup qualifier for Australia, made the game safe.

The striker converting in the 87th minute with a close range finish after Berisha's header came back off the post. (Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Toby Davis)

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