Melbourne City FC suffered a shock 0-1 loss at home in last night’s Izuzu UTE A-League action, with Western United coming away with all three points thanks to a first-half Dylan Wenzel-Hall goal.
After naming a very youthful-looking lineup for our midweek FFA Cup fixture against Hume City, Patrick Kisnorbo was able to recall his now-rested senior players for the Western United clash, naming the same XI that started in City’s first two Izuzu UTE A-League games.
Whilst it wasn’t the fastest of starts to a game, City began to build well over the opening 20 minutes through a succession of opportunities created by Nabbout on the right. Western, on the other hand, were making inroads of their own, pinning City back and earning several corners with which they came close on multiple occasions.
As it would turn out though, the visiting side wouldn’t need a set-piece to find the game’s opening goal. The 20th minute saw Dylan Wenzel-Halls played through from midfield on the break, with the young striker finding the bottom corner despite defensive pressure.
The ensuing 25 minutes was a frustrating period for City fans, with the team maintaining the majority of possession but struggling to break down United’s defensive block.
Our only big chance of the opening period arrived right on 45’, with Nabbout released wide and floating in a cross that Maclaren was able to meet with decent connection, though Jamie Young was able to swing a foot out and keep his side in the lead heading into the break.
City had the pressure on from the first whistle of the second half, with Aiden O’Neill coming especially close in the 50th minute with a strike from the edge of the area that struck the upright before being cleared away.
Just minutes later, Nabbout forced a brilliant diving save from Young after absolutely smashing an effort that was bound for the back of the net if not for the United keeper’s intervention.
Whilst City continued to dominate the attacking opportunities, United persisted in frustrating fans with their defensive resoluteness, with the home side struggling to create clear-cut opportunities.
When City did create space for shooting chances, Young continued to defy the odds, pulling out several top-class saves to deny Atkinson and Leckie late in the game, before the referee blew the final whistle to confirm the result.
The result hands the defending Champions a first loss in all competitions in 2021/22, leaving City on four points from its opening three Izuzu UTE A-League games. Fortunately, it won’t be long until the boys have a chance to redeem themselves in front of home fans, with City taking on Perth Glory at AAMI Park on Wednesday next week.