Match Report: City 1-1 Victory

For the second time this season, Melbourne City FC and Melbourne Victory couldn’t be separated as they played out a 1-1 draw in the 37th Melbourne Derby.

Victory opened the scoring through Marco Rojas, but City were able to set up a tense second half when they scored on the stroke of half time, ultimately failing to find the winner despite a flurry of late opportunities.

Starting XI

With so much on the line, Patrick Kisnorbo named a largely similar starting lineup to last Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Western United, making just the one change as Tom Glover returned between the sticks in place of Matthew Sutton.

What happened?

Amidst a tense atmosphere, the on-pitch contest had a similar feeling over the opening 15 minutes, with both teams refusing to budge.

Unfortunately for City, the first chance we did concede in the 19th minute was a costly one. Marco Rojas was slipped through behind the City backline and was able to beat Glover one-on-one despite the shot-stopper getting a hand to slow its progress into the back of the net.

Victory would see the next big chance too, with Nick D’Agostino flighting his six-yard box header over the bar under little pressure in the 28th minute.

City relied upon a goal-saving headed clearance from Connor Metcalfe in the 39th when Jason Davidson clipped a ball to the back post that seemed destined for Rojas’ forehead from point-blank range, but the midfielder crucially stole in and averted catastrophe.

It was Curtis Good who would come up big for City against the run of play, with the centre-back popping up to score a headed equaliser on the stroke of half-time.

The contest’s tense, defensively unrelenting nature meant that, despite fans being on the edge of their seats for the entire second half, there were very few clear-cut opportunities created for either side throughout the latter period.

Ironically, however, the game would spring to life from the 89th-minute onwards, sparked by a host of late chances for City as they looked to secure a vital three points.

In the 89th-minute, leading goalscorer Jamie Maclaren looked destined to work his magic when he was played through on goal. The striker chopped his way inside onto his left but Victory’s defensive pressure meant he wasn’t afforded time for an uncontested shot, instead blazing well over the bar after the ball bobbled up for a left-footed volley.

Second-half substitute Stefan Colakovski was twice involved in big stoppage time moments, firstly driving a strike from a narrow angle just over the bar in what loomed as a huge chance for the youngster to get on the board for the first time in 2021/22.

Soon after, his cross into the six-yard box may have failed to find a City target, but Victory’s failure to immediately clear saw an exhilarating goalmouth scramble take place, but the ball still couldn’t be placed into the back of the net.

City kept building the pressure with a succession of corners and got its final opportunity when Good nearly added to his earlier goal by hitting the woodwork with a header, but the teams ultimately couldn’t be separated and were forced to take one point each as the final whistle was blown on a 1-1 scoreline.

What’s next?

Thanks to Western United’s loss to Sydney FC, the draw sees City extend its lead at the top of the table, now one point ahead of the second-placed side despite having played two extra games. City will hope to tighten their grip on first when they travel to face Brisbane Roar on Wednesday night.