Melbourne City FC played out a scoreless draw with Thailand’s BG Pathum United on Wednesday night.
Despite both teams gaining the upper-hand and looking threatening at different stages, the points were ultimately shared as they were back on Matchday 1.
Head Coach Patrick Kisnorbo made one change to his starting XI, with Marco Tilio returning from suspension in place of Tsubasa Endoh.
Scott Galloway was named on the substitutes bench for the first time after overcoming injury, while Nuno Reis missed due to yellow card accumulation.
It was tense opening to the fixture, with neither side wanting to commit too many bodies forward early and risk conceding on the counter with so much on the line.
The first opportunity came for BG Pathum in the 10th minute when Ikhsan Fandi was playing through over the City defence, but Tom Glover read it well and was able to come out to smother the resulting shot.
City’s best chance of the half would arrive not long after, with a perfect ball from Carl Jenkinson finding Andrew Nabbout in space before the winger crossed towards Jamie Maclaren who couldn’t get the vital touch to turn it towards goal.
Nabbout and Jordan Bos were in everything going forward, as City looked to cause havoc down the wings and run at the BG Pathum fullbacks.
The momentum see-sawed throughout the first half, with a late Rostyn Griffiths block ensuring the score remained 0-0 after 45 minutes.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first before City skipper Scott Jamieson went as close as anyone had to finding the back of the net.
The fullback received high up the pitch and drove forward, before unleashing a powerful low shot which would’ve found the far bottom corner, if not for the fingertips of the ‘keeper.
Marco Tilio then went on a scintillating run through the BG Pathum defence just minutes later, but a last-ditch tackle from Irfan Fandi prevented him from getting a shot away.
Despite the back-and-forth nature of the contest continuing, clear-cut chances were hard to come by.
Tilio was again involved in the 81st with a delightful flick over the defender before heading into the path of Maclaren who had his close-range effort saved by the oncoming ‘keeper.
City’s defence, led by a few important Curtis Good interventions, stood up late to withstand a sea of BG Pathum set-pieces, as the final whistle sounded with the score line unchanged.
City will play its final match of the Group Stage in the early hours of Sunday morning (12:00am AEST) against United City and will be desperate for three points to give itself the best possible chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.