ALM Report: City 1-0 Wellington

Melbourne City secured a much-needed win against the league-leading Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park on Saturday evening.

Samuel Souprayen was the difference on the night and was ultimately named Player of the Match, his 58th-minute header the sole goal from a fixture that could’ve seen plenty more.

Team News

Aurelio Vidmar made two changes to his starting XI from last weekend’s away trip to face Macarthur.

The first of two games in four days saw some rotation, both Jamie Maclaren and Curtis Good moving to the bench with Max Caputo and Nuno Reis slotting into the line-up, the latter taking the armband.

Mathew Leckie remained sidelined despite training with the team throughout the week and will be reassessed ahead of Tuesday’s match against Western Sydney.

Starting XI: 1. Jamie YOUNG (GK), 25. Callum TALBOT, 4. Nuno REIS (C), 26. Samuel SOUPRAYEN, 14. Vicente FERNÁNDEZ, 8. Jimmy JEGGO, 6. Steven UGARKOVIC, 10. Tolgay ARSLAN, 44. Marin JAKOLIS, 11. Leo NATEL, 37. Max CAPUTO.

Substitutes: 33. Patrick BEACH (GK), 9. Jamie MACLAREN, 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 21. Alessandro LOPANE, 22. Curtis GOOD, 38. Harry POLITIDIS.

What happened?

After being handed his first start of the A-Leagues season (third in all competitions), 18-year-old Max Caputo was lively early as he looked to make his impact felt.

Leo Natel whipped in a tasty ball from the left in the 14th minute, Caputo putting in a great effort to fly towards it but ultimately, a fantastic Alex Paulsen save denied City the opener.

Some nice build-up in the 26th ended with Steven Ugarkovic sliding a ball in behind for Caputo, but Paulsen was again equal to the challenge.

After a lean beginning to 2024, City fans would’ve been pleased with the football played with a much-improved performance beginning to take shape at a warm AAMI Park.

The midfield trio of Jimmy Jeggo, Ugarkovic and Tolgay Arslan worked hard, providing opportunities for those in front of them but also covering well defensively.

A City turnover offered Wellington their only real chance of the first half in the 40th minute, Bozhidar Kraev’s initial effort being well-blocked before Ben Old’s follow-up went just over the bar.

Caputo was again in the thick of things on the stroke of half-time, forcing a desperate block from the Wellington defence after some nice interplay with Natel.

We came out strongly following the break, eventually finding our way through for the opener in the 59th minute.

It looked to be a training ground move worked to perfection from the corner, Arslan playing a one-two with Vicente Fernández before whipping in an inch-perfect ball to Souprayen who was waiting alone at the back post to head home the finish.

We weren’t far away from doubling the advantage around 10 minutes later and Souprayen was involved with his head once again.

The second phase of a corner saw the central defender nod a sweeping Terry Antonis ball into the path of Caputo in the box, the 18-year-old beating Paulsen to the ball and lobbing it goalward – only to be cleared off the line spectacularly by Finn Surman.

Kosta Barbarouses was played through on goal with 10 minutes plus added time on the clock but sent his shot wide of Jamie Young’s goal, and City would continue to fight until the final whistle to secure a well-deserved three points.

What’s next?

A quick turnaround faces your City boys, set to return to AAMI Park on Tuesday night for another crucial matchup against Western Sydney.

You won’t want to miss this one! Click here to get your tickets.