Melbourne City FC continued their busy January schedule with an important point against league-leaders Perth Glory.
After a tight opening, City gained control late in the first half but with chances few and far between, the match ended goalless.
City will look to rest and recover before they face Western Sydney Wanderers back home at AAMI Park on Tuesday 22 January in what will be City’s third match in six days.
Looking to keep players fresh during a frenetic period, Head Coach Warren Joyce made three changes to the starting line up.
Harrison Delbridge, Lachlan Wales and Florin Berenguer replaced Osama Malik, Riley McGree and Luke Brattan as City continued to rotate its side.
— Melbourne City FC ?️ (@MelbourneCity) January 19, 2019
A defensive opening 30 minutes was dominated by long spells of possession for both sides as City and Glory looked to tentatively work their way into the game.
Perth looked to attack from the flanks but were nullified well by City’s defence with Curtis Good and Eugene Galekovic clearing multiple Glory crosses. City also looked to cause Perth problems from wide areas and a wonderful piece of link up play between Scott Jamieson and Ritchie De Laet built pressure with consecutive corners.
City’s best chance came after 36 minutes when a De Laet pass found Berenguer on the edge of the six yard box. The Frenchman was unable to clear his feet and scuffed his shot wide of Liam Reddy’s goal.
Joyce made a change at the break, with Luke Brattan replacing Nathaniel Atkinson to add more creativity in midfield while De Laet reverted to his traditional role at right back and Berenguer joined Wales in a more advanced role as City looked to build on a strong end to the first half.
It was the visitors, however, who threatened first after half time. Andy Keogh found his way in behind Delbridge but the tall centre-back tracked back well to pressure the striker and ultimately block his shot from the top of the box.
Joyce continued to rotate the squad with McGree and Iacopo La Rocca – making his first appearance since round two – replacing Berenguer and Rostyn Griffiths as second half substitutes.
Key interventions from both Galekovic and Bart Schenkeveld denied the Glory in the 82nd minute before a Jamieson cross drifted over Reddy’s head but clattered off the crossbar just a minute later.
Both sides had late chances to build from counter attacks but the match ultimately ended goalless.
City face a quick turnaround, returning to AAMI Park on Tuesday for a clash against Western Sydney Wanderers before heading across the Tasman to face Wellington Phoenix on Australia Day. Get your tickets for the match now.