ALM Report: Central Coast 2-1 City

Melbourne City suffered a disappointing away loss on Tuesday night, conceding in stoppage time to go down 2-1 to Central Coast.

Tolgay Arslan opened the scoring in the second half on a night where City controlled large parts of the contest but unfortunately, the remaining two goals both came at the wrong end of the pitch.

Team News

Raffaele Napoli stood in as Head Coach for the second consecutive game in the absence of Aurelio Vidmar who continues to recover from illness, making three changes to Saturday’s XI.

Leo Natel remained in Melbourne with his partner due to the upcoming birth of their first child, while Jimmy Jeggo and Samuel Souprayen moved to the bench for the quick turnaround.

Ale Lopane, Terry Antonis and Curtis Good all returned to the lineup and Marco Tilio was also included on the bench after overcoming his hamstring injury.

Starting XI: 1. Jamie YOUNG (GK), 25. Callum TALBOT, 4. Nuno REIS (C), 22. Curtis GOOD, 14. Vicente FERNANDEZ, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 6. Steven UGARKOVIC, 10. Tolgay ARSLAN, 44. Marin JAKOLIS, 21. Alessandro LOPANE, 37. Max CAPUTO.

Substitutes: 40. James NIEUWENHUIZEN (GK), 7. Mathew LECKIE, 8. Jimmy JEGGO, 9. Jamie MACLAREN, 23. Marco TILIO, 26. Samuel SOUPRAYEN, 38. Harry POLITIDIS.

What happened?

It was all City throughout the first 45 minutes but in a similar theme to Saturday, it was the clinical edge to put the ball into the back of the net that was lacking.

We had to wait until the midway point of the half before we saw a genuine chance up either end of the pitch, and it fell our way with Tolgay Arslan slamming a strike into the post – just inches away from opening the scoring.

The momentum was all running our way after that, Max Caputo first seeing a shot blocked and then forcing a save in the minutes that followed.

Arslan took it upon himself in the 38th minute, dribbling through the Mariners defence and laying it off to Marin Jakolis on the right, but the winger could only slam his shot into the side-netting.

The home side’s chances were limited to a couple of half-moments from set-pieces, with their only real counter-attacking opportunity being sniffed out by Callum Talbot.

We’d go into the break filled with plenty of confidence and almost took the lead into the sheds with us after a great chance just minutes before the interval.

In our best build-up of the half, we attacked down the left and it was Lopane playing a dangerous ball across the box which Caputo smartly left untouched for Jakolis ghosting in at the back post, but the shot was well-saved by Vukovic.

We came out strongly following the break and the opener would come soon after the resumption.

Despite still being just 18 years old, Max Caputo showed his strength to win the ball off Brian Kaltak before driving forward and teeing up Arslan for a simple tap-in.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the Mariners to get back on level terms, scoring from the spot just minutes later.

Vicente Fernandez looked to have been fouled himself before kicking out a leg after hitting the ground, collecting Christian Theoharous with the referee pointing straight to the spot.

There was plenty of firepower up front to turn to on the bench, Napoli introducing Mathew Leckie, Marco Tilio and Jamie Maclaren midway through the second half.

Surprisingly though it was fellow substitute Harry Politidis who had the best chance of the remainder of the night, firing at goal from outside the box in the 82nd and forcing a good save.

As we pushed at one end for the winner a goal would ultimately come at the other end of the pitch, the Mariners striking in stoppage time through Max Ballard to pinch all three points.

What’s next?

Another quick turnaround is ahead as we return home and immediately turn our focus to Saturday’s away Melbourne Derby.

All City fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in the away bays.