Melbourne City FC traded blows with Perth Glory on Saturday night at AAMI Park, but the game ended in a 0-0 draw as both sides failed to break the deadlock in the clash between second and third on the table.
Although they managed to halt Glory's winning streak, Erick Mombaerts’ side couldn’t pass their opponents’ steel defence to end the stalemate.
City remain second on the table, two points ahead of Perth, as the side's attentions now turn to Adelaide away from home before the Feb Derby.
This game marked the first starting team selection for Markel Susaeta replacing Lachlan Wales on the left wing, and Jack Hendry as a centre-back. Scott Galloway returned from the ankle injury he suffered a few weeks ago, named on the bench.
City started strong on Saturday night at AAMI Park, with Florin Berenguer taking the first chance of the game with a half volley inside the opening 90 seconds, forcing Liam Reddy into an early save.
Moments later, Jamie Maclaren had a golden opportunity to open the scoring, although his effort from close range was fired straight at Reddy.
At the 13th minute, Maclaren found Adrian Luna, but his bullet strike was swiftly deflected away for a corner by the Glory shot-stopper.
As the first half was drawing to a close, Perth became more offensive and threatening. At the 40th minute mark, Glory forward Diego Castro broke through the defence and shot from up close, but Dean Bouzanis was equal to the task, making a regulation save.
The first 45 minutes ended just as the game began, with the scores locked at 0-0.
Mombaerts’ men piled on the pressure early in the second half, determined to break the deadlock first. Luna and Maclaren tried their luck, constantly threatening Glory’s goal, but without success.
In the 55th minute, a scramble inside Glory’s box saw Josh Brillante penalised for bringing down Bruno Fornaroli, but the VAR overturned the decision because the forward was ruled offside.
City retaliated ten minutes later when Luna found Maclaren with a cross, but his header went wide over the top left corner. Josh Brillante then intercepted Perth's attempted counter-attack and tried his luck from distance but it soared over Reddy’s goal.
Fornaroli was next to threaten at the 68th, and forced a sharp stop from Bouzanis.
Despite multiple chances and late substitutions from both teams, both defensive units held strong resulting in a 0-0 stalemate.
Melbourne City will next be playing against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Saturday 1 February, kick off at 7.30pm, before returning to Melbourne to host the Feb Derby against arch rivals Melbourne Victory. Get your tickets here!