NPL Preview: City v Ballarat

Melbourne City FC’s NPL3 outfit will look to bounce back from a heart-breaking loss to Western United when it hosts Ballarat City at Parade College this Sunday.

The team was incredibly unfortunate throughout its encounter with the current league leaders last weekend, suffering at the hands of a last-minute Jake Najdovski winner that undid all of their good work to remain competitive despite the 52nd and 86th minute sending-offs of Jordan Dellidis and Max Caputo.

After the first red card, it was 10-man City that dominated for the ensuing 20 minutes, defying the odds as they tested keeper Charlie Emery time and time again, but were brought undone by Sabit Ngor’s opener.

The team was rewarded for its spirited display with a 76th-minute penalty converted by Caputo, who was then unlucky to be shown a second yellow 10 minutes later, which primed the conditions for Najdovski to put the nail in the coffin against his nine-man opposition.

City will have to do it tough on Sunday afternoon when they host Ballarat given they’ll be without central defender Dellidis and striker Caputo, as well as Kerrin Stokes and Raphael Borges Rodrigues (who would have been optimal replacements for the absentees) given their likely requirement to travel with the senior squad for its Asian Champions League campaign.

Sunday’s opposition has made a 2-0-1 start to its 2022 campaign, already a marked improvement on their mere four points collected throughout the entirety of 2021.

Most recently, they hosted Whittlesea Ranges for an enthralling 4-3 shootout in which the lead changed hands multiple times. Michael Trigger netted twice for Ballarat to record his second and third goals of the season, sitting joint-top of the Golden Boot with the aforementioned Najdovski and Preston Lions’ Connor Bell.

Melbourne City and Ballarat met just once in 2021 but it was certainly a memorable occasion for the then Petr Kratky coached side, running out 6-0 winners as Jordi Valadon and Matthew Grimaldi complemented Caputo’s bag of four goals.

Match Details

NPL3 Victoria

Melbourne City FC vs Ballarat City FC

Sunday 10 April, kick-off 3:00pm

Parade College, Bundoora

Image Credit: Captured By Kas