Melbourne City played out a hard fought 0-0 draw with crosstown rivals Melbourne Victory at Marvel Stadium in Round 1 of the 2019/20 season on Saturday night.
Following a cagey first half of play, City had the better of the chances in the second period but were unable to capitalise as the game ended as it started, with scores locked at nil all.
City’s focus now turns to their first home game of the season, as they host Adelaide United at AAMI Park on Sunday 20 October.
Head Coach Erick Mombaerts made three changes to the starting XI that faced Brisbane Strikers in the Semi Final of the FFA Cup as Jamie Maclaren (international duty) and Florin Berenguer (hamstring tweak) missed out, while Ramy Najjarine moved to the bench.
Lachlan Wales came in to spearhead the attack while Uruguayans Adrian Luna and Javier Cabrera were like-for-like replacements.
Denis Genreau missed the clash due to international duty.
Under the closed roof at Marvel Stadium, City took on Melbourne Victory in a cagey Round 1 fixture.
Chances were few and far between, as both teams looked to take a cautious approach in the opening 45 minutes.
Despite a lack of goalmouth action, the best chance of the half fell to City’s stand-in number nine, Lachlan Wales. On the 11th minute mark, Joshua Brillante won a one-on-one battle that resulted in Wales being played through into the area, the youngster moved into space before flashing his effort across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.
Adrian Luna impressed in his Hyundai A-League debut, creating chances in the middle of the park before firing two meaningful shots on goal before the half time interval.
With three minutes of regulation time to play, the first half came to life as Storm Roux missed a golden opportunity at one end, thanks to desperate City block, before Wales missed his own chances down the other. Curtis Good then had an opportunity to break the deadlock, but his towering header from the corner glanced wide – in what was the last goalscoring opportunity of the half.
Head Coach Erick Mombaerts’ men came out firing in the second period, as Connor Metcalfe and Craig Noone looked to ignite their team. In the 49th minute, Metcalfe sparked a swift counterattack before laying the ball out to Noone, who earned his side a corner and signalled City’s attacking intent.
Six minutes into the second half, Victory captain, Ola Toivonen unleashed a fierce effort towards goal, although it fizzed over the crossbar much to City’s delight. In the 56th minute, it was Victory again on the front foot as a slick attack led to Elvis Kamsoba finding the back of the net, only for the goal to be called back and disallowed for offside following a VAR review.
It was a close call, and a call that seemed to spark City back into action. Noone and Metcalfe were again instrumental, as Noone’s attempt to find the top corner on his non preferred was saved by Lawrence Thomas, before Metcalfe stung the ‘keeper’s palms with a bullet-like effort from 20 yards.
The contest began to heat up as tempers flared at both ends, but despite having the lion’s share of chances, City were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.
City host their first home game of the Hyundai A-League season when they take on Adelaide United at AAMI Park on Sunday 20 October, kick-off 4:00pm. Get your tickets here.