Melbourne City will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to three matches when they take on Sydney FC at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday night.
Head Coach Warren Joyce’s side are coming off the back of two hard fought draws in Rounds 20 and 21, sharing the spoils with both Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory respectively.
In Round 21, star striker Jamie Maclaren opened the scoring in the 26th minute with a neat header to hand the hosts an early 1-0 lead at AAMI Park. Following a brilliant team build up, Maclaren met Scott Jamieson’s cross with a glancing header that left Glory shot-stopper Liam Reddy with no chance. Less than 10 minutes later, Maclaren doubled City’s lead with an emphatic finish from the penalty spot.
After taking a 2-0 lead into the break, City faced a late flurry from the ladder-leaders. Showcasing why they have been the team to beat this season, Tony Popovic’s side scored two goals in the last 10 minutes to earn a share of the spoils. Joel Chianese’s header in the 84th minute pegged the score back to 2-1, before Diego Castro’s long-range effort in the 91st minute earned the side from Western Australia a share of the spoils.
Eager to return to the winner’s list, City take on the Sky Blues on Sunday evening. In Round 21, Sydney FC defeated Adelaide United 2-0 at Leichhardt Oval. Reza Ghoochannejhad opened the scoring inside the opening quarter of an hour, latching on to Le Fondre’s brilliant touch to put it through Paul Izzo’s legs and make it 1-0. With Adelaide pushing for an equaliser, the Sky Blues secured the points with a swift counter attack in the 94th minute, as Brandon O’Neill played the ball through to Cameron Devlin who then fired the ball past Izzo.
On Wednesday night, Sydney FC faced a mid-week trip to Japan to take on Kawasaki Frontale in the AFC Champions League. Despite a resilient performance from the Sky Blues, Steve Corica’s side were undone by a late goal to Saito, to hand the hosts a 1-0 win.
With both teams eager to finish as high as possible on the league ladder, we are set for an intriguing battle at Leichhardt oval.
Three key inclusions headline this weeks squad. To see who's in and who's out, visit our full Team News here.
What was said
Melbourne City FC Head Coach Warren Joyce
"We've had one good performance this year [against Sydney] and one poor performance, so we want to go there and come back with all three points."
Last time they met
The last time the two teams met was in Round 17, when Sydney defeated City 2-0 at Jubilee Stadium.
Luke Ivanovic opened the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes, before City had a golden opportunity to level the scores with 11 minutes of regulation time remaining. Riley McGree stepped up to take, although his spot kick was denied by Andrew Redmayne in goal. Adam Le Fondre then sealed the points with a strike in the 86th minute.
Where and when
City take on Sydney FC at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday 17 March, kick-off 7:00pm, before facing another trip to New South Wales to play Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday 30 March at ANZ Stadium. In Round 24, Warren Joyce’s men return to AAMI Park, hosting Brisbane Roar on Friday 5 April, kick-off 7:50pm. Get your tickets here.