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ALM Report: City 3-2 Western Sydney

A two-goal performance from Marco Tilio lifted Melbourne City to a thrilling 3-2 over Western Sydney at AAMI Park on Friday night.

Trailing 1-0 at the break, goals from Jamie Maclaren and Tilio saw scores level heading into second half stoppage time before the latter provided some late magic to give City the win on our night of celebration.

TEAM NEWS

Head Coach Rado Vidosic made three changes for Plate Night, naming Richard van der Venne in the starting lineup for the first time since his return from a calf injury, while Callum Talbot and Curtis Good both returned to the starting XI.

The triple change saw Scott Jamieson, Scott Galloway and Thomas Lam all move to the bench.

Starting XI: 1. Tom GLOVER (GK), 25. Callum TALBOT, 4. Nuno REIS, 22. Curtis GOOD, 38. Jordan BOS, 13. Aiden O’NEILL, 8. Richard VAN DER VENNE, 10. Florin BERENGUER, 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 23. Marco TILIO, 9. Jamie MACLAREN (C).

Substitutes: 33. Matthew SUTTON (GK), 2. Scott GALLOWAY, 3. Scott JAMIESON, 6. Thomas LAM, 7. Mathew LECKIE,  18. Jordon HALL, 35. Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES.

WHAT HAPPENED?

With our Premiers Plate celebrations to follow the match, there was a buzz in the air and a good vibe around AAMI Park from kick off.

City showed some nice link up play in the 11th minute, our attacking weapons combining nicely on the edge of the box only for Tilio’s shot at the top right corner to be saved by Wanderers goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas.

City looked to have earned a penalty in the 25th minute when Andrew Nabbout was brought down in the box, only for the decision to be overturned by VAR.

With that decision not going our way, the City boys continued to work hard in the midfield but were unable to land a decisive blow.

Tom Glover came up with a good save to deny the visitors in the 37th minute, getting a crucial palm on the ball to usher it out of a dangerous area.

Unfortunately for City though, Glover’s goal would eventually be breached when Brandon Borrello scored in the 41st minute.

Looking to get back on level terms quickly in the second half, City came out firing, creating chance after chance in front of goal all inside the first five minutes of play following the resumption.

First, it was Jordan Bos that was denied by the post in the 47th minute, before a desperate lunge from goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas just a few moments later edged another City shot destined for the back of the net over the bar.

That dam wall would eventually burst, Tilio this time opting to do it all himself, going on a dazzling run into the box and burning a handful of would-be defenders, then placing the ball into the back of the net in the 51st minute.

City continued to pepper the Wanderers goal, making some dangerous runs into the box only for the final pass to miss the intended target at the crucial moment.

Vidosic opted to bring on fresh legs at the 60th minute, with Nuno Reis and the ever-dangerous Mathew Leckie entering the fray.

The contest sprung to life once again after Wanderers were awarded a penalty in the 73rd minute and while the initial shot was saved by Glover, there was little he could do to deny Nicolas Milanovic on the follow-up.

City would find a reply almost immediately, however, our main man Jamie Maclaren getting into the right spot to put the ball into the back of the net after Leckie’s effort was first kept out.

We ticked into the final 15 minutes of the contest locked at 2-2 and for the third time of the evening, the referee pointed to the spot – awarding City a penalty in the 78th minute when Tilio was brought down from behind in the box.

Unfortunately the equaliser wouldn’t follow though, with Thomas pulling off a fantastic save from a powerful Nabbout penalty.

The contest looked all but certain to end in a draw, until Tilio once again decided to take things into his own hands.

He was well found in space on the left by Leckie and looked like he had all the time in the world as he breezed into the box and tucked home a cool finish into the bottom corner to win it in stoppage time.

What’s next?

City will enjoy a well-deserved week off after yet again finishing the season on top, before beginning our Finals campaign in week 2.

Stay tuned for all the fixture details and ticketing information as it comes!