Melbourne City vs Brisbane Roar 1-0 Review

City-Brisbane

The stage was set at AAMI Park for a massive showdown that would incidentally be very much a six-pointer.

Melbourne City: Played 22 matches. 6th. 30 points

Brisbane Roar: Played 21 matches. 7th. 25 points

A win for City would increase the gap to 8 points as we headed into the tail-end of the season knowing that a finals position is a must. Coming off two consecutive impressive victories against Newcastle and Sydney, we were in good form and having not lost in 7 appearances at AAMI Park, nothing but a win would be acceptable.

Josh Kennedy returned from injury and was immediately at the heart of the action. A ball from Koren in the opening moments of the match saw our Australian marquee man rise to meet it with his head, only to somehow be kept out allowing Jonatan Germano to tap it in for the early lead.

It begged the thought of whether it could be a massively dominant result but it was anything but. City opted to sit back for the majority of the match after the goal which provided the Roar with plenty of possession. James Brown, last week’s match winner, suffered an injury which brought him off and was replaced by Harry Novillo.

Brisbane looked the more threatening as they tested the Melbourne City defence but another brilliant performance by the pairing of Kisnorbo and Jaliens stopped most of their attacks. Tando Velaphi also failed to put a foot wrong once again and kept out every shot that hit him.

The second half continued to see a conservative City side that still had a few chances to kill off the game. Novillo and Germano both saw their attempts fly off target. Fortunately, despite having plenty of the ball, the Roar did not create any clear chances which kept off much of the stress for the home fans and the counter attacks that City were relying on couldn’t be thrived on.

Novillo once again picked up the ball in space in his own defence before striding on towards the other end. He ignored the option Koren provided on the left and opted to shoot himself which allowed a comfortable save for Young in goals.

In the end the three points were ours. However, they weren’t gained in the expected fashion. Fans wanted to see an attacking showcase to provide excitement but City displayed very little of it. Perhaps a while ago (like against CCM in round 6) we would’ve given up a goal late in the match as the team sat deep piling on the pressure, but we were able to win ‘ugly’ similar to last week against Sydney.

The win was the third successive victory and finals, unless an immensely disappointing run-in to the end of the season awaits, seems certain. But will we make it beyond the first round – elimination final?

Sydney FC vs Melbourne City 0-1 Review

Sydney-City

A win was a must at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium on Friday night and the odds were stacked against Melbourne City. Although we were entering the match after a 4-0 drubbing of Newcastle Jets at home the previous week, fans still had very little hope. We witnessed two very poor consecutive away losses against CCM and WSW, so the supporters couldn’t have been blamed for the lack of optimism.

A major threat coming into the game for Sydney FC was Austrian striker Marc Janko who recently broke the record for most consecutive matches with a goal in the A-League. But who would have thought that after scoring in seven successive games, that City would not allow the marquee striker to stretch it to eight?

The home side however looked the far more dangerous side. Janko had the first major chance, with the ball played in behind the defence only for his shot to cannon off the post and out of the danger area. Our first opportunity arrived after a delightful ball was played by Aaron Mooy who, despite slipping, had met Germano’s head only for the Argentine’s looping header to fly over and wide of the goal.

Sydney dominated the remainder of the half by getting themselves into great positions. However, although they easily broke through the City defence, they failed to test Velaphi. In the latter stage of the half, Koren had a chance as he stabbed at the ball with the outside of his boot before Janjetovic tipped it onto the crossbar and over for a corner.

The boys in red and white looked lively after the break as an early chance fell to Mate Dugandzic before he quite disappointingly skied the ball over the goal. But the hosts further caused trouble in our penalty area.

Bernie Ibini almost put his side in the lead as Velaphi failed to come out of his area to clear the ball which Ibini was able to hit on target. Fortunately our goalkeeper somehow kept it out, continuing his fine form. The danger was prolonged as the Sky Blues were able to get in behind the last line but Patrick Kisnorbo and Kew Jaliens put in brilliant shifts to keep them scoreless.

In the 81st minute, a quick throw-in was taken which allowed Koren to flick on to Mooy prior to the star man providing a majestic pass to James Brown who calmly went around Janjetovic before slotting into an open net. It was a major shock for Melbourne City fans – obviously a pleasant one. We had taken the lead late on but the fans knew that, knowing our history of late disappointments, it would be a stressful finish to the match.

Fortunately, though, Melbourne City were able to hang on and collect all three points in Sydney. Against all the odds, City had pulled off a valiant win in a type of match that we’ve failed to succeed in for years. The hope of finals remain. Brisbane will play Wellington and Western Sydney both in the space of four days and City will hope that they only gain minimal points before the massive showdown at AAMI Park next Saturday. Another must-win that will define our potential finals appearance.

Come on City!

Melbourne City VS Newcastle Jets 4-0 Review

City-Newcastle

A fortnight ago, Melbourne City displayed a brilliant second half performance against Adelaide United at AAMI Park to gain three points. It was a result that many thought could kick start a great run of form to cement a top six spot and make the A-League finals. However, despite playing against two of the bottom three teams in the league in succession, City heavily disappointed by losing both.

The team needed to bounce back and record three points against the bottom side in the league – Newcastle Jets. Due to City’s recent poor form this season, like the previous four seasons, attendance was minimal in Melbourne. Just over 5,000 fans attended a rather satisfactory display from their side.

City looked positive early on with home debutant Harry Novillo showing signs of class early in the match. The Frenchman was able to create plenty of room for himself due to his positivity and confidence on the ball as he was not afraid to attack the goal and beat the Jets defenders. The winger had brilliantly provided a large attacking presence which saw him attempt three shots on goal in the space of 10 minutes.

Very soon after, against his old side, Kew Jaliens opened the scoring after a delightful corner kick from our star player Aaron Mooy that exploited the Jets’ horrid marking in the box. The Dutch veteran, along with the rest of the City defenders and Tando Velaphi were rarely tested in defence for the match. The remainder of the half saw very few chances but the floodgates would open in the second.

Very shortly after the break, Daniel Mullen committed an extremely terrible mistake as he failed to get rid of the ball. It allowed a siege of Melbourne City attackers to pounce and eventually capitalise through Harry Novillo to score his first goal for the club. Not the prettiest goal and it almost seemed they would blow it as Kennedy and Koren failed to finish a certain goal before the 23-year-old finally slotted it home.

The home side continued to pressurise the Newcastle defence as this time Robi Koren found himself in plenty of room only to blaze it over the bar. The Slovenian once again failed to prove his worth, continuing to leave doubts in the fans’ minds about his service as a marquee signing. But the 34-year-old showed his skill minutes later after the returning Germano won back the ball, allowing Koren to play a sublime pass into the path of substitute David Williams whose mishit ended up in the back of the net to extend the lead for City. Williams had come on for Josh Kennedy who had an injury problem – believed to be hip tightness.

Iain Ramsay who also came off the bench was played through by Aaron Mooy before scoring his second goal of the season. The points were put beyond doubt and it turned out to be an impressive result for Melbourne City putting them back into the top six. However, Brisbane Roar have three games in hand and with them being just two points behind, the odds are against us. Six matches remain for Melbourne City and it’s safe to say that unless the players produce several miracles, we will not be seeing a finals appearance this season.

Match Review: Central Coast VS Melbourne City 1-0

Mariners-City

Melbourne City just continues to disappoint its fans. After an impressive second half performance against Adelaide United last week to earn all three points, it seemed that it could have fired up the team, built confidence and ultimately allowed us to reach the finals.

However, once again, the team dished out a poor performance against a team we have beaten on just one occasion – a little over three years ago. We were to face the bottom three teams in the league in succession but almost unsurprisingly, the run of games has already got off to a bad start. City actually started the game with real, attacking intent and despite finding plenty of space in the final third, it appeared as if they weren’t desperate enough to score.

Very early on, Robert Koren attempted a strike from almost 30 yards out but Reddy was able to parry it away. The opportunities continued to present themselves to the visitors as Aaron Mooy found himself free at the edge of the box and, despite Koren being unmarked on the other side, he chose to try one with his left only for it to be comfortably saved.

The Mariners also had some decent chances in the first term as Isaka Cernak cut in on his right foot only for his effort to swerve away from the net. Josh Kennedy, who opened his scoring account for City last week, also could have put one of his chances away. As expected, he was a threat from corners as the ball met him twice only for the headed attempts to fly over the bar and subsequently kept out by Reddy before Kisnorbo missed the rebound into practically an open net.

The half ended and the fans knew that these missed opportunities would come back to haunt us as they so often do. The team showed very little in the second half which is a reflection on our manager. The importance of the next few games that will define our season, and incidentally decide if we make the finals, should have reminded the players that they needed to play with more aggression and eagerness and take all three points from Gosford. Instead, the players acted completely opposite to that.

A poor second half by City allowed the Mariners to get forward and cause trouble. One major event for our side in the half was the debut of 23-year-old French injury replacement signing – Harry Novillo. He appeared very confident on the ball and wasn’t afraid to beat defenders and have a go. He almost sparked the side’s revival but it wasn’t to be. Eventually, the home side broke the deadlock through a free kick scored by Fabio Ferreira.

City did not seem to be desperate enough to get back into the game as the heads started to drop. Poor decision making on the ball led to costly mistakes. However, a major chance fell to substitute Iain Ramsay right at the death as the ball fell to him at the back post only for Liam Reddy once again to pull off a remarkable save.

The final whistle was blown and it was another terrible performance dished out by Melbourne City. Central Coast were able to edge out the visitors and take all three points once again. Hope for the finals is almost lost for City fans; not because of the predicament on the table but due to our tendency to fail in matches that should very easily be won. A midweek game away to Western Sydney follows before returning to AAMI Park next Saturday against Newcastle Jets.

 

Match Review: Melbourne City VS Adelaide United 3-1

City-Adelaide

Since Melbourne City’s last win against the Western Sydney Wanderers, the team had not scored. For three games, City failed to record a goal in the A-League. It seemed that they’d make it four games, as the home side went into the dressing rooms at half time trailing Adelaide United 1-0 in front of a disappointed crowd at AAMI Park.

John van’t Schip started with an unusual formation with 3 centre backs and Baharudin and Clisby playing as right and left wing backs. City showed some great signs very early on as Jack Clisby made a huge impact. The former Perth Glory left back attacked down the flank and was almost able to hit the back of the net. However, following these attacks, it seemed that our side would not come close to scoring for the remainder of the match and until half time, it was all Adelaide.

In the 32nd minute, United had slotted past Velaphi through Pablo Sanchez from a tight angle. It seemed to be all doom and gloom as all the fans thought it was another winless game for Melbourne City. We failed to make any impact when going forward let alone look like getting back in the game. The half came to an end and the fans knew that only a miracle would turn it around.

JvS procuced a change right off the bat for the second term as Williams was summoned to replace Jack Clisby who had played relatively well. The alteration saw Baharudin move to left back and he excelled in that position. City started the half looking like a whole new team as they attacked with intent and it didn’t take long to prove it.

A corner in the 52nd minute was delivered and deflected to the back post where our Singaporean superstar was unmarked to thump home in front of the Melburnians. Just three minutes later, Koren received the ball on the left and delivered a peach of a cross for our front man Josh Kennedy to head home his inaugural goal for City. It sent the crowd into ecstasy, as no one had seen this turnaround coming. From here on, it was an open game that opened space to make it three for City.

Baharudin, Kennedy and Massimo Murdocca all had chances inside the box to score a third but the sealer failed to arrive. Our Australian marquee man’s hold up play for the remainder of the game was immense as he proved his worth as the target man. The third and sealing goal was finally netted home. David Williams, who turned out the be the super sub through his determination, won back the ball after fighting desperately for it before playing through Murdocca whose cutback sailed to the back post for Ramsay to finish. It capped off a phenomenal second half performance and the final whistle was blown minutes later.

What a victory it was as we came from behind in fine fashion. The Melburnians sung loudly in the first half and they got even louder when the goals came flying in. The hard fought three points put City back into sixth place but it will require consistency for the remainder of the season to cement that spot and compete in the finals.

We play two consecutive away games as we travel to the Central Coast next weekend before visiting Western Sydney midweek.