Melbourne City FC has recorded back-to-back wins for the first time in Season 2021/22 of the A-League Men competition, beating Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 away from home.
Mathew Leckie had a brilliant first start, netting two headed goals, before Florin Berenguer netted a brilliant curling effort in the second half, with Dimitri Petratos’ late penalty serving only as a consolation for the home side.
With Patrick Kisnorbo remaining in Victoria as he continues to self-isolate following a positive COVID-19 test earlier in the week, Petr Kratky again took charge and made just the one change from his midweek lineup against Newcastle. City was able to flex its squad depth as Carl Jenkinson slotted in at right-back, with Scott Galloway moving to the bench after his involvement in the midweek fixture.
The last time the two teams faced off, the Wanderers netted two early goals in a blistering start at AAMI Park, and they nearly replicated that again in the 4th minute this time around. The home side exposed City defensively in transition, with Dimitri Petratos teed up for a big chance from the cutback, but his powered effort was straight at Tom Glover who was able to parry the shot away.
There was little action at either end following this, and few would have been surprised by a 0-0 half-time scoreline had it not been for a brilliant headed double by Mathew Leckie seemingly out of nowhere late in the half.
Leckie’s first arrived fortuitously in the 36th, as Tomas Meijas’ punched clearance was optimistically lobbed back into the box by Aiden O’Neill, with the veteran Socceroos forward executing a world-class powered header to beat the Wanderers keeper.
City struck again from a set-piece in the 42nd, with Scott Jamieson’s whipped corner glancing off Leckie’s head at the front post and settling into the net near the back post.
Whilst the second half got off to a cagey start, the contest went into overdrive in the 60th minute, with a City penalty kicking off a chain of massive moments. Jamie Maclaren stepped up to take the spot-kick, but uncharacteristically dragged his effort wide of the upright, missing everything.
City then had Jenkinson to thank for maintaining the two-goal lead when he made a goal-saving block to deny Keijiro Ogawa’s close-range, goal-bound effort in the 62nd.
That block would prove especially pivotal as it would allow City to strike again one minute later, with Florin Berenguer scoring one of the goals of the season with a beautiful curling effort into the top right corner after beating two defenders at the edge of the box.
The Wanderers were then awarded a fortuitous penalty in the 77th minute for a handball call against Curtis Good that required VAR review, but with the spot-kick given the all-clear, Petratos stepped up and snuck it in off the upright to narrowly beat Glover.
Fortunately, that was as far as the Wanderers’ comeback got, with City comfortably seeing out the 3-1 win.
Following six points on our New South Wales road trip over the past week, the City boys will return home on Tuesday night to face Adelaide United as they look to extend their winning run.