Match Report: Western 1-3 City

Melbourne City FC has played its final pre-season friendly, taking on Western United at GMHBA Stadium behind closed doors on Friday afternoon.

The teams played three 45 minute periods to ensure the full squads could get a run, with City running out 3-1 winners.

Starting XI

First and second period: 1. Tom GLOVER (gk), 3. Scott JAMIESON (c), 22. Curtis GOOD, 5. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 2. Scott GALLOWAY, 8. Aiden O’NEILL, 18. Connor METCALFE, 10. Florin BERENGUER, 23. Marco TILIO, 13. Nathaniel ATKINSON, 17. Stefan COLAKOVSKI.

Third period: 33. Matthew SUTTON (gk), 48. Luke ORESTI, 36. Kerrin STOKES, 34. Jordon HALL, 52. Matthew GRIMALDI, 39. Anthony LESIOTIS, 37. Max CAPUTO, 35. Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES, 7. Mathew LECKIE, 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 9. Jamie MACLAREN.

What happened?

It was an even start to the encounter, with both sides happy to feel each other out in the early stages of the contest.

Some nice interplay on the right between Scott Galloway and Florin Berenguer in the 16th minute allowed the full-back the space to drive forward, but he couldn’t get enough power on his attempt to trouble the keeper with what was the first shot of the game.

Along with Berenguer, Marco Tilio was City’s most dangerous going forward in the first 45, and he sent a sizzling low-ball into the box in the 23rd minute which would beat everyone, including the outstretched toes of the aforementioned Berenguer and Stefan Colakovski.

Tilio was again involved in the 38th minute in what was City’s best chance of the opening stanza, getting in behind the Western defence after a well-timed ball from Connor Metcalfe. Although the winger did get one-on-one with the keeper, his shot went just wide of the post.

The second period began much like the first, as both sides defended strongly and looked to maintain possession and build up slowly.

Metcalfe and Aiden O’Neill looked strong in the middle of the park and allowed City to control proceedings for large parts of the encounter.

The breakthrough finally came in the 75th minute when Berenguer was brought down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. With City’s usual penalty-taker on the sidelines, it was Colakovski who stepped up and made no mistake.

City goalkeeper Tom Glover was called into action a couple of times late in the second period, making some sharp saves to ensure City would remain in front at the end of 90 minutes.

Head Coach Patrick Kisnorbo swung the changes for the final period, fielding a younger line-up with the exception of our recently called up Socceroos front three.

They were into the action early, as a powerful run from Mathew Leckie down the left finished with the wingers cross being turned in for an own goal.

It was Jamie Maclaren stepping up next, with the second penalty of the afternoon being awarded following a handball in the box.

Seemingly not wanting to give anything away with the season just around the corner, City’s number nine took the spot-kick with his weak foot and still made no mistake in finding the bottom right corner.

The home side had a few good moments midway through the third period, but the young City defence was able to hold up strongly and Matthew Sutton pulled off a couple of nice saves before he was caught off his line and conceded.