NPL Report: Geelong 0-1 City


Melbourne City FC has claimed its fifth win of the NPL3 season, downing Geelong SC 0-1 away from home. The win sees City move to second on the ladder, claiming five wins from its first eight fixtures.

Starting XI

Taras Gomulka was the big ‘out’ heading into the clash, with Domenic Folino the other change from last week’s lineup. Max Caputo and Lucas Byrns came into the lineup in their place, while Ahmad Taleb took the captain’s armband.

What happened?

Geelong’s Anthony Trajkoski created the best chance of an evenly-contested opening 10 minutes, the midfielder’s strike from just outside the area fizzing past Taleb’s left post.

The City keeper did brilliantly to keep the scores level in the 22nd minute, producing a world-class diving save to tip away a close-range, top-corner-bound effort from a scramble in the six-yard box following a corner.

Geelong continued their dominance of the chance-creation in an otherwise dry opening third of the game, with Taleb forced into another great reflex save to deny Masudi’s huge chance to score from close range in the 32nd minute.

Taleb’s heroics belied the trend of otherwise solid defending in the opening 45; Geelong’s few attempts were from great areas, despite an overall lack of chances for either team.

Having struggled to make inroads into the opposition penalty area in the first half, City made a much stronger start following the break.

Jordan Bos set the tone in the 48th minute with an incredible, odds-defying individual slalom past multiple defenders into the box to fire off a low shot and test Kieran McDowell in goal.

Bos’ early opportunity also marked the start of a wild patch of end-to-end play that made for an exhilarating middle-third of the game, both keepers called into action on several occasions to keep the scores level.

City’s best chance of that period came in the 58th minute, when Raphael Borges Rodrigues made a near-post run to meet a waist-height ball played in from the corner. The midfielder tried to help the ball into the top right corner, but was marginally too heavy with his touch, with the effort looping narrowly over the crossbar instead.

The local crowd rose to their feet in unison in the 70th minute when they thought Trajkoski had netted the winner for Geelong but the shot instead skimmed the outside of the post.

Trajkoski’s massive chance marked a long drought between opportunities for either team, though City started to get its act together in the final ten minutes, with Caputo and Grimaldi getting away shots at goal.

However, the big moment of the game came in the 85th minute when City were interplaying well around the boundaries of the penalty area and were eventually able to work the ball wide to Byrns, who cut inside and buried his curling effort into the top-right corner.

Byrns’ goal would prove to be the decisive action, with the match ending 0-1 to the visiting City side.

What’s next?

City moves to 16 points for the season so far and has solidified its strong early position on the table. The boys will now turn their attention to their Round 9 clash against Ballarat City at home next Sunday.