Melbourne City FC has been held to a third-consecutive draw in the Izuzu UTE A-League, with its Saturday night clash with Adelaide United ending 2-2.
Andrew Nabbout opened the scoring for City, before George Blackwood equalised early in an action-packed second half. Jamie Maclaren restored City’s lead not long after the equaliser, but Hiroshi Ibusuki would be Adelaide’s saviour, levelling the scores in the 84th minute.
Despite further positive COVID cases within the squad midweek, Patrick Kisnorbo was able to name an unchanged lineup from City’s 3-3 draw against Western Sydney Wanderers. Stefan Colakovski headlined a young bench alongside outfielders Taras Gomulka, Jordan Hall, Luke Oresti and Kerrin Stokes.
City would get the first significant chance of the game in the 10th minute, set up with a pinpoint long-range pass from Tom Glover to get the attack going. The City shot-stopper picked out Mathew Leckie high on the left wing, with the Socceroo controlling well and lifting the ball over his defender to take himself into the penalty area, but the eventual shot was well-saved by a diving Joe Gauci.
Following a bright start to the game, City would go on to find the opener in the 24th minute. It was a simple team move overall, with Leckie released wide into the penalty area by Connor Metcalfe centrally before teasing a ball to the back post for Andrew Nabbout to tap in.
The goal hardly deterred the Reds in front of their home crowd, with George Blackwood coming within inches of equalising as he stretched to tap home Craig Goodwin’s cross from the left in the 34th minute.
The Reds were denied by the crossbar just seven minutes later, with a goalmouth scramble culminating in an uncontested shot for Stefan Mauk, though Aiden O’Neill was able to throw his body in the way and create a deflection that sent the ball into the woodwork.
Despite a positive start to the second half, City were unfortunate to be pegged back to 1-1 in the 60th minute. Goodwin’s cross from the left was fiercely hit but Glover would have been disappointed with his scuffed parry, with the ball ricocheting into George Blackwood who had anticipated its trajectory, bundling the ball into the back of the net.
Frustrated by the goal, the City boys were quick to hit back, regaining their lead six minutes after losing it. Leckie was again at the heart of the action, fizzing a ball low and hard across the six-yard box for Jamie Maclaren to place into the top left corner.
The game was turned on its head in the 70th minute, with City copping a double-whammy penalty for an incident inside their defensive area. Nuno Reis pulled down Blackwood as he attempted to shoot a falling ball on the turn and upon VAR review, the referee both awarded an Adelaide penalty and showed Reis a second yellow card, leaving City with 10 men.
Goodwin stepped up to take the spot-kick, but Glover came up huge with the important save to keep the scores at 1-2 in City’s favour.
A man down, City fought hard to maintain their lead but Adelaide’s pressure proved too much, with the Reds equalising in the 84th minute. Glover made a good reflex save from the corner initially, but Adelaide debutant Hiroshi Ibusuki got to the fall of the ball first, placing his shot into the back of the net first time.
City managed the remainder of the game as best they could, defending well whilst still looking for an unlikely winner, but it wasn’t to be as the final scoreline read 2-2.
City’s search for a first win in 2022 goes on, with the team next in action against Sydney FC.