A-League Pre-Season Report: Melbourne City 2-1 Western United

Melbourne City continued their pre-season preparations on Saturday as it defeated Western United 2-0 behind closed doors at CFA Melbourne.

An inspired second half saw Andrew Nabbout and Jamie Maclaren secure the result in another extremely positive outing for Patrick Kisnorbo's side.

Starting sides

Melbourne City FC: 1.Tom GLOVER (GK), 3. Scott JAMIESON, 7. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 8. Aiden O’NEILL, 9. Jamie MACLAREN, 1 Craig NOONE, 13.Nathaniel ATKINSON, 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 18.Connor METCALFE, 20. Adrian LUNA, 22. Curtis GOOD
Bench: 16.Taras GOMULKA, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 23.Marco TILIO, 33.Matthew SUTTON (GK), 35.Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES, 36.Kerrin STOKES, 37.Bernado OLIVEIRA, 38.Jordan BOS, 40.Richard WINDBICHLER, 43.Alec MILLS, 41.Max CAPUTO, 44.Sam MORRISON, 45.Luke ORESTI, 50.James NIEUWENHUZEN (GK)

Western United: 1.Filip KURTO (GK), 2.Aaron CALVER, 3.Brendan HAMILL, 5.Dylan PIERIAS, 6.Tomoki IMAI, 8.Lachlan WALES, 10.Steven LUSTICA, 11.Connor PAIN, 22.Tomislav USKOK, 27.Jerry SKOTADIS, 33.Apostolos TAMATELPOULOS
Bench: 17.Joshua CAVALLO, 26.Nicolas MILANOVIC, 29.Ayom Majok AYOM, 30.Ryan SCOTT (GK), 12.Kristian TRAJCESKI, 24.Chudiar THARIJATH, 14.Alex BAKER, 9.Stefan ZINNI, 20.Nick SETTE, 28.Jalil REGAGUE, 4.Leighton LAUGHTON

In what was the first meeting between the Victorian sides since the A-Legaue Semi Final, City fielded a strong line-up for its second pre-season contest.

Olyroos Tom Glover, Nathaniel Atkinson, Connor Metcalfe and Aiden O’Neil all started for their first friendly after missing the match with Melbourne Victory last week with the latter playing his first match in City Blue.

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What happened

It was a strong opening period for City as they controlled proceeding in their forward half with Adrian Luna at the focal point of possession.

Despite the positive start, it was Western United who looked dangerous on the fast break, with Stamatelopoulos breaking the City line before a last-ditch tackle from Griffiths halted the attack.

City came closest to opening the scoring in the first half after 29 minutes as a teasing cross from Jamieson saw Atkinson loop his header over Kurto towards goal. His effort was cleared off the line by Uskok as City picked up the clearance.

It was then Nabbout – who switched sides with Noone – that saw his cross flash past the far post as it beat the trailing legs of Noone and Uskok.

The final chance of the first half fell to the visitors as Wales found himself through on goal similarly to Stamatelopoulos after 34 minutes. It was Noone this time who came to the rescue as he muscled the former City winger off the ball with referee Jonathan Barrero waving away calls for a penalty.

The second half saw Garuccio and Tillio enter the match for Jamieson and Noone respectively as City escalated their possessional dominance into the creation of chances.

A rapid three-minute period saw City pepper the goals as chances to Maclaren and Nabbout fell to the duo as they came inches from opening the scoring.

It was third time lucky though after 59 minutes as the ensuing corner from Nabbout’s chance saw the striker find the back of the net. The cleared corner fell back out to the feet of Luna on the wing as the recycled cross escaped the swinging boot of Griffiths and to the feet of Nabbout at the back post. The new signing had time to line up his shot as he made no mistake, finishing low and hard at substitute Scott’s near post.

City continued to push for a second and came agonisingly close after 72 minutes as Maclaren and Metcalfe combined, with the latter kissing the woodwork. The striker’s cutback to the trailing midfielder saw Metcalfe take a touch and hit the post as United’s defence scrambled to clear.

The chance was a prelude to City’s second as the high press was rewarded. A deep turnover found Maclaren in the penalty area as City’s number nine was clearly taken down by Imai. The striker made no mistake from the penalty spot as he doubled City’s lead.

City continued to press for a third and came agonisingly close off the boot of Tilio. The youngster found the ball at his feet on the edge of the area as his drive to the bottom corner was tipped around the post by Scott.

The dominant performance was another positive in City’s pre-season preparations as they continue their march towards Round 1 against Sydney.