Match Preview: City v Wellington

Your City boys are back in action for the first time in 2022! We’ll be hosting Wellington Phoenix in a high-stakes FFA Cup Quarter Final at Kingston Heath on Wednesday evening.

Five rounds into the 2021/22 Izuzu UTE A-League season, City finds itself mid-table with eight points from its opening five games. The results thus far have often belied promising performances, so the team will be seeking to comprehensively progress to the final four of the Cup in tonight’s Quarter Final.

City’s clash with Wellington will be the team’s first game in two and a half weeks following a COVID-19 outbreak within the playing squad, though the last time we were in action was a memorable night: a Christmas Derby for the ages, as City and Victory played out an exhilarating 2-2 draw at AAMI Park on December 18.

Victory opened the scoring that night from a quickly-taken free-kick, with Jake Brimmer picking out the run of Francesco Margiotta for the Italian to finish first time past Tom Glover.

The City boys were down at the break but came out firing, netting twice in three minutes in a spell reminiscent of the quick bursts from the 6-0 and 7-0 Derbies of 2020/21.

First it was Jamie Maclaren, who was expertly picked out at the back post by Andrew Nabbout, with the provider turning scorer minutes later when he was found by Marco Tilio for the header following some rapid footwork to create space from his defender.

City’s good work would be undone in the 81st minute though, with Ivan Kelava’s indiscriminate clearance somehow finding Nick D’Agostino over the top for the striker to finish past Glover, despite the City shot-stopper getting a hand to the effort.

A red card for Jamie Maclaren in the final minute of stoppage time capped off an enthralling finale to the clash, with both fans feeling their side deserved more as the final scoreline read 2-2.

Eager to finally establish the kind of winning run that propelled us to the top of the table last season, the City boys will be looking to tonight’s FFA Cup clash as a fantastic opportunity to both progress to the next stage and to get that winning momentum going again following a disruption to their early-season rhythm.

Wellington have struggled in the early stages of the 2021/22 A-League Men season, conceding a league-high 14 goals as they currently occupy 11th place on the table.

The Phoenix’s last fixture took place on New Year’s Day when their leaky defence again caused problems on their way to a 4-0 defeat against Adelaide United. The Reds created shooting opportunities with frightening regularity that night and were helped along by two penalties for poorly-timed tackles inside the area.

How the City squad shapes up to take on the Phoenix tonight will be of key importance, with the squad potentially lacking the sharpness that comes with regular match minutes – in addition to how the players who tested positive fare in their recovery from the virus.

Patrick Kisnorbo will also need to plan for the absence of Jamie Maclaren, who is ineligible to play as he serves his one-game suspension for his Melbourne Derby sending off.

Match Details

FFA Cup: Quarter Final

Melbourne City FC vs Wellington Phoenix FC

Wednesday 5 January, kick-off 7:30pm

Kingston Heath Soccer Complex