ALM Report: City 1-0 Adelaide

Melbourne City returned serve to win a fierce matchup in tricky conditions, returning to the winner’s circle at home against Adelaide United on Thursday night.

Terry Antonis’ early thunderbolt was the difference, ensuring Captain Jamie Maclaren’s 150th City appearance was capped with three points.

Team News

Aurelio Vidmar made two changes to his starting XI, with Steven Ugarkovic and Terry Antonis returning to midfield in place of Alessandro Lopane, who dropped to the bench, and the departed Hamza Sakhi.

City Academy product and Young Socceroos representative Harry Shillington rounded out an otherwise unchanged team sheet.

Starting XI: 1. Jamie YOUNG (GK), 25. Callum TALBOT, 18. Jordon HALL, 22. Curtis GOOD, 2. Scott GALLOWAY, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 6. Steven UGARKOVIC, 10. Tolgay ARSLAN, 46. Ben MAZZEO, 11. Leo NATEL, 9. Jamie MACLAREN (C).

Substitutes: 33. Patrick BEACH (GK), 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 21. Alessandro LOPANE, 35. Zane SCHREIBER, 37. Max CAPUTO, 38. Harry POLITIDIS, 53. Harry SHILLINGTON.

What happened?

With a hunger to make up for back-to-back losses, City flew out of the blocks in the summer evening drizzle.

Scott Galloway made a quick run through the Adelaide defence virtually from kick off, with Jamie Maclaren almost able to score the opener.

The strong build-up play continued with Tolgay Arslan feeding the ball to Terry Antonis, who hit it from outside the box to find the top corner with a thundering strike to ensure our fast start got rewarded in the fifth minute.

The chances kept coming, with Leo Natel making long runs from deep in the defensive half to keep Adelaide’s back line busy and feeding Arslan balls to turn defenders inside and out.

Our strong pressure held Adelaide well, closing down any forays forward before they could reach Jamie Young’s goal, often thanks to Antonis backing up his goal with strong tackles across the pitch.

Ben Mazzeo pulled off some of the skills worthy of his star-boy status, taking down an Antonis ball from midfield on the right wing and turning his man inside out just before the half time whistle.

City started fast in the second stanza, with early chances coming close to doubling the lead from both Arslan and Mazzeo.

Adelaide pushed on as they chased an equaliser, with their two changes at half-time bringing our defence into play to secure our lead.

Picking up a deep ball, Steven Ugarkovic played Mazzeo in, turning his defender and curving a ball just wide of the far post as we pressed for a second midway through the half.

Andrew Nabbout was our first change, with Natel making way for the our number 15 who made his return to AAMI Park.

Antonis kept amongst the action on a strong night for the experienced midfielder, making important interceptions and tackles to defend the lead.

We kept the pressure building, with Adelaide making use of their limited time in possession to win corners that were all sternly cleared away by our defence – led by Curtis Good.

Jordon Hall made an important block as we neared the last quarter of an hour, charging down Luka Jovanovic to prevent a good chance to the Reds.

Alessandro Lopane replaced Mazzeo in the 77th and immediately made an impact, forcing a strong save from Delianov at his near post after a turnover as Adelaide attempted to play out from the back.

The ensuing corner was won back by Irankunda and he looked set to score with only Young ahead of him after running the pitch, but the City shot-stopper stood up tall, holding his ground to deny the Bayern Munich signing what looked to be a certain goal.

Our boys saw out four minutes of added time, sealing a big three points at home that sees us move up the tight ladder to fifth, equal on points with third place for now.

What’s next?

The boys turn their attention to next Friday, where a 9:45pm (AEDT) kick-off in Perth against the Glory provides a great chance to make it back-to-back wins and move further up the table.