Melbourne City FC has suffered a disappointing defeat away from home, going down 3-1 to Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Saturday night.
Both teams scored inside the first 16 minutes, but Adelaide were able to gain some breathing room with two goals in the last seven minutes of the first half which City were never able to recover from.
It could have been a very different night if City were able to defend Adelaide’s corners better with all three of United’s goals being scored in similar fashion. City’s attention now turns to Friday night’s Melbourne Derby at AAMI Park.
Erick Mombaerts made two forced changes to the team that played out a scoreless draw with Perth last Saturday night at AAMI Park.
Adrian Luna missed the clash with knee soreness with Ramy Najjarine taking his place. Captain Scott Jamieson also missed after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season last week. Scott Galloway took his place while Jamie Maclaren took the armband. Connor Metcalfe, Denis Genreau and Tom Glover all returned to the squad from Olyroos duty along with Najjarine.
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The game got off to a hot start with a heavy collision between Ramy Najjarine and Jordan Elsey seeing both players end up on the ground and requiring a few moments to get back up to their feet.
The home side took the lead in the 12th minute following a scuffed clearance from a corner. Craig Noone attempted to clear the lines for City, but he didn’t strike the heavily spinning ball the way he would’ve liked, and it ended up with Ben Halloran who made no mistake from close range.
The winger made up for his mistake just four minutes later by finding an equaliser.
A Maclaren touch perfectly found Noone unmarked 15 yards from goal where he made no mistake in firing the ball past Paul Izzo into the bottom right corner.
After this fast start, the two teams took some time to maintain possession and settle into the game.
Both sides still looked to get forward and attack, but no big chances were created until Adelaide were able to find their second with a goal which again came from a corner.
It was again Halloran, who this time was left alone at the back post and able to find the back of the net with Dean Bouzanis getting a fingertip on the ball but not enough to keep it out.
The home side made it three just seconds before half-time, with George Blackwood finding space in the box and firing a header into the back of the net leaving Bouzanis rooted to the spot.
Down but not out, City fought hard in the second half, searching for a way back into the game but none were forthcoming.
This was partly due to the play of Adelaide’s back four who gave City’s attackers no space in the front third which limited the visiting team to just a handful of shots and no serious goal-scoring chances in the second half.
Things turned from bad to worse in the 76th minute for City with VAR intervening to give Harrison Delbridge a red card after a challenge on Nikola Mileusnic which left City to finish the match with 10 men.
City will return home and look to bounce back when they take on Melbourne Victory in what will be the last derby of the season. The derby will be played next Friday night with kick-off at 7:30pm.