Melbourne City’s winning-streak in the Liberty A-League has been extended with a narrow 0-1 win on the road to Adelaide United. Rhianna Pollicina starred for the visiting side and secured the crucial winning goal in the 66th minute.
Rado Vidosic has been known for his consistency in team selection this season, but varying circumstances saw the City Head Coach make three changes from his last starting lineup against Wellington Phoenix. After missing City’s 4-0 win against the ‘Nix, Tyla-Jay Vlajnic returned to the XI in place of Chelsea Blissett. Elsewhere, the absences of Winonah Heatley and Holly McNamara made room for Naomi Chinnama and Darcey Malone, with the latter earning her first start in professional football.
In the early stages of the contest, Adelaide were doing well to prevent City from building up from the back, with the visiting side struggling to play through the Reds’ press.
The game’s first significant chance came in the 14th minute, with Emily Condon firing on target with her well-struck free-kick, though Melissa Barbieri was able to deal with it comfortably.
Shortly after, the Adelaide midfielder came close again, firing narrowly wide with her header following the Reds’ corner.
City finally came to life late in the half, seeing two good chances just minutes before the whistle was blown for half-time. The first arrived in the 41st minute through a wicked set-piece delivery from Rhianna Pollicina, who fizzed a ball between keeper and defensive line but incredibly, couldn’t find a City attacker to tap the opportunity home. Just two minutes later, Vlajnic was released wide into the box and struck a ferocious effort at goal, but the shot was straight at Analee Grove who saved comfortably.
Deep in stoppage time, Adelaide created a brilliant chance for Fiona Worts, who made great connection with her volley from the cross from wide to force a brilliant diving save from Barbieri to tip it out for a corner.
City’s revival continued after play got back underway, with the game far more evenly-contested in the second half than the first.
City got the first big chance of the period, with another lethal Pollicina set-piece delivery flashing narrowly past Marisa van der Meer’s outstretched boot, the Kiwi defender having entered the fray at half-time as she replaced Kaitlyn Torpey.
The visitors would be rewarded for their resilience with an opening goal in the 66th minute. Already one of City’s best on the day, Pollicina worked her magic again when she was clipped into the penalty area, beat two defenders with some brilliant close control and then passed the ball with composure past the keeper and into the back of the net.
Emily Condon appeared destined to equalise for her side in the 76th minute, capitalising on a defensive error before bearing down on goal, only to fire her effort straight into the midriff of Barbieri who importantly claimed the strike first time.
With some resolute defending and professional game-management, Vidosic’s side were able to expertly see out the result over the final 15 minutes and secure all three points on the road.
City’s one-goal win over Adelaide arrived at the same time as Sydney FC cruising to a 6-0 victory over Canberra United, highlighting the scale of the task facing Rado Vidosic’s side when they next return to action: A massive, high-stakes top-of-the-table clash against the reigning Premiers at home next Sunday.