ALM Report: City 0-0 Victory

For the second time this season, the Melbourne Derby ended in a scoreless draw in front of a vocal AAMI Park crowd.

Both teams had chances to break the deadlock – particularly in the first half – but neither could find a way through as the points were shared.

Team News

Aurelio Vidmar made four changes to his starting XI as he was able to name virtually a full-strength line-up for the first time in months.

Marco Tilio made his first start since returning to the Club, while fellow Socceroo Mathew Leckie entered the XI for the first time since recovering from a hamstring injury.

Samuel Souprayen (groin) and Callum Talbot (shoulder) both made their returns from injury to sure up the back four in front of Jamie Young.

Starting XI: 1. Jamie YOUNG (GK), 25. Callum TALBOT, 16. Samuel SOUPRAYEN, 22. Curtis GOOD, 2. Scott GALLOWAY, 8. James JEGGO, 6. Steven UGARKOVIC, 7. Mathew LECKIE, 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 23. Marco TILIO, 9. Jamie MACLAREN (C).

Substitutes: 33. Patrick BEACH (GK), 4. Nuno REIS, 11. Leo NATEL, 14. Vicente FERNANDEZ, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 37. Max CAPUTO, 44. Marin JAKOLIS.

What happened?

An end-to-end first half began in a slightly unfamiliar fashion, Victory holding more possession than our City boys in the opening exchanges.

That said, we did fashion the first chance of the evening after a bit of individual brilliance from Leckie on his return to the starting line-up.

After breezing past some Victory defenders on the wing, he linked up with Jamie Maclaren for a smart one-two before his curling effort beat Paul Izzo – but cannoned into the upright and stayed out of the net.

Just two minutes later up the other end, it was Jason Geria striking the post as both sides hit the woodwork within the first 10 minutes of action.

Although it may have taken a little while to wrestle some momentum in what was an open affair, City was fired up and looked desperate to atone for a disappointing couple of weeks.

The momentum would continue to swing though as Victory had a pair of good chances on either side of the half-hour mark.

Curtis Good was first forced into a goal line clearance after a spill in the box following a corner, before Jamie Young pulled out a sharp reflex save to deny Daniel Arzani in the 35th minute.

City responded well with a few good spells of possession before Marco Tilio was just inches away from the opener in first half stoppage time.

The recently returned winger cut inside and unleashed a curling strike at goal, which Izzo just got a fingertip to – enough to tip it onto the crossbar to clear the danger.

Scott Galloway left the pitch less than 10 minutes into the second half, unable to continue after sustaining what looked to be a calf injury.

This paved the way for Vicente Fernandez to make his City debut, thrust onto the big stage of the Melbourne Derby less than a week after arriving in the country.

Victory looked the more threatening of the two teams for large parts of the second half, but City’s resolute defence would ensure there weren’t many clear-cut chances for them to capitalise on.

Vidmar made a change of his wingers on the hour mark, bringing both Marin Jakolis and Leo Natel on as he looked to find a spark out wide.

It wasn’t immediate but eventually, it almost paid off in the 82nd minute, Jakolis playing fellow substitute Terry Antonis in behind the defence – but the latter was only able to force a good save out of Izzo.

Neither side looked to lay down in the latter stages but eventually, the final whistle came with the scoreboard still locked at 0-0.

What’s next?

City will be back on the road for the fifth time in seven games next weekend, set to face Sydney FC on Saturday evening at Allianz Stadium.