New name, new colours but it seemed to be the same old Melbourne Heart that we’ve come to know and love for the past few years.
The wait was over for the newly branded Melbourne City to play their first (somewhat) competitive match. Yes, the FFA Cup has yet to establish itself as a major and significant competition but with the help of the 2,801 fans in attendance and those watching at home (on a stream that cut out multiple times), it similarly matched the level of interest evoked by an A-League match.
Unfortunately, City, despite the hype surrounding the club and the anticipation of a successful season, had failed to turn up. One may point out that players like David Villa and Robert Koren were missing, but problems arose from positions that haven’t been improved for the upcoming A-League season.
Andrew Redmayne was very much to blame for Sydney’s first goal as the goalkeeper committed to a loose ball several yards from his goal as Corey Gameiro beat him to the ball and slotted it through to make it 1-0 in the 23rd minute.
City failed to create any decent chances in a very lacklustre first half but started the second relatively stronger. Williams and Duff had a couple of chances and in the 64th minute the equaliser arrived. Aaron Mooy’s brilliant cross from an indirect free-kick met Nicky Kalmar’s head who nodded it home.
Very few chances were generated following the goal and a great save from Redmayne kept out a second from Gameiro. Ben Garuccio, one of our young superstars full of potential, almost single-handedly changed the game as the winger was subbed on and provided some magic on the left side in an attempt to set up the winner. However, being unsuccessful, the full-time whistle was blown minutes later and the match was heading into extra-time.
The first half of extra time, once again, failed to entertain until a powerful long-range strike from Aaron Mooy, City’s best player on the night, shaved the top of the crossbar. It was in the second term where the action occurred but unfortunately more to the favour of Sydney. A penalty was awarded to them after Jason Hoffman had fouled Corey Gameiro and Hoffman was consequently sent off. Ali Abbas stepped up and put the ball past Redmayne.
To add insult to injury, the Sky Blues received another spot kick as it was Rob Wielaert in this case who committed the foul on Terry Antonis. Abbas once again made no mistake as he sent Redmayne the wrong way to make it 3-1.
Melbourne City, as they had done on several instances as “Heart”, sent fans home very disappointed as it had produced a very poor display of football. Very few chances were created despite dominating possession for the majority of the game.
One can only hope that come October, City will perform very differently and play the football that has been promised and produce the results that all fans wish to see.