Melbourne City was made to settle for a tight 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory on Saturday night at Marvel Stadium.
Jamie Maclaren’s first half penalty was cancelled out by Kosta Barbarouses after the break as City felt they had the lion-share of chances to take the three points.
Harrison Delbridge succumbed to a hamstring injury picked up last week against Newcastle as Warren Joyce moved to a conventional back four.
Rostyn Griffiths came into the lineup to take up his regular role in the midfield as Vidosic and La Rocca return to the match day squad.
— Melbourne City FC ?️ (@MelbourneCity) February 23, 2019
A perfect night in Melbourne greeted both sides as the roof remained open at Marvel Stadium for Melbourne Derby 29.
A timid opening 15 minutes saw both sides use the period to feel each other out as chances came few and far between.
The match sparked into action only moments later as a long ball into the penalty area saw Maclaren nip in under Niedemeir, forcing the German to clip the forward before his strike on goal. The resulting yellow card was also the defender’s second as referee Peter Green reduced the hosts to ten men.
City’s January signing made no mistake from the spot as he netted his third goal in three matches, giving his side the early ascendancy.
The extra man gave City the confidence to search for another as Baccus and Griffiths came inches away from finding their side’s second before the break.
As City looked to find their feet for the second half, Victory made the most of the situation and a lapse of concentration from Eugene Galekovic gave them the chance to bring the game back to parity.
A Victory break and a Barbarouses mistimed cross to the front post saw the goalkeeper parry the ball into his own net as the hosts made it 1-1.
Victory looked content to maintain the score line after their leveller as they sat in and allowed City to dictate possession in their half.
City came closest to the winner after 62 minutes as Luke Brattan almost created a Melbourne Derby special, rocketing a strike that had Lawrence Thomas beaten but not the crossbar.
The visitors continued to push for the winner but were unable to find it as City remained undefeated in the three Melbourne Derby contests this season.
City return to AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon as they face league leaders Perth Glory. Kick-off 5pm.