Match Report: City 1-2 Wellington

Melbourne City FC has suffered defeat in the Australia Cup, going down 2-1 to Wellington Phoenix at Casey Fields on Wednesday night.

After trailing 2-0 in the first half, City put in a much improved performance in the second 45 but couldn’t find the equaliser after Mathew Leckie pulled a goal back in the 84th minute.

Starting XI

Patrick Kisnorbo named a strong starting line-up for City’s first fixture against A-League Men’s opposition this campaign. Defender Callum Talbot made his first start for City, while Mathew Leckie and Andrew Nabbout were in the XI for the first time since last season.

Starting XI: 1. Tom GLOVER (GK), 25. Callum TALBOT, 22. Curtis GOOD, 4. Nuno REIS, 3. Scott JAMIESON (C), 16. Taras GOMULKA, 10. Florin BERENGUER, 23. Marco TILIO, 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 7. Mathew LECKIE, 9. Jamie MACLAREN.

Substitutes: 33. Matthew SUTTON (GK), 2. Scott GALLOWAY, 18. Jordan HALL, 30. Luke ORESTI, 35. Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES, 38. Jordan BOS, 65. Sebastian ESPOSITO.

What happened?

City looked composed in the early stages, happy to keep the ball and ease into proceedings.

Neither team managed to craft any big chances until Nuno Reis had an important block in the 13th minute to keep City on level terms.

Unfortunately though, Wellington found the opener just six minutes later after Kosta Barbarouses pounced on a loose ball in the box that City had failed to clear.

Although it did trail on the scoreboard, City continued to stay on top in general play and got its first real sight at goal just after the half hour mark.

Marco Tilio – who’d looked the most likely for City – opened up the defence and launched a powerful strike goalward, but a deflection made it easy for Phoenix goalkeeper Oli Sail to deal with.

Wellington once again found the back of the net against the run of play in the 37th minute, Ben Waine nodding into the back of the net past a full-stretch Tom Glover.

Thankfully for the large City contingent in attendance, Kisnorbo’s men came out full of steam in the second half.

After being starved of opportunities early, Jamie Maclaren got his first sight at goal just moments into the half but with plenty of Wellington pressure in the box, saw his attempt blocked.

Andrew Nabbout was the next to get involved, firing at goal from range in the 51st but seeing his effort take a slight deflection and fly out for a corner.

Central defenders Nuno Reis and Curtis Good both had chances in the following ten minutes, the former from long range and the latter a header from a set piece, but despite plenty of these half chances, City couldn’t make them count on the scoreboard.

Tom Glover reacted quickly and pulled out a strong stop in the 64th to deny Ben Waine his second of the night, keeping City alive in the process.

Substitute Jordan Bos then had a golden chance to pull one back, denied only by a brilliant reflex save from Wellington keeper Oli Sali.

The goal finally came for City in the 84th minute, Callum Talbot whipping a deadly ball into the box which Mathew Leckie was able to latch onto and head home from close range.

Unfortunately for City fans though, the second half dominance wouldn’t result in any further goals and the Cup run has now come to an end.