Melbourne City FC has extended its unbeaten run to three matches, with a 2-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers at ANZ Stadium on New Year’s Day.
A blistering first-half performance saw City take a 2-0 lead into the break, as both Lachlan Wales and Ritchie De Laet found the back of the net.
Midfielder Rostyn Griffiths received his second yellow card in the 56th minute, but despite going down to 10-men, City held firm following an inspired performance from Eugene Galekovic to secure their first win over the Wanderers in Sydney.
City will look to continue their winning momentum when they host Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Sunday 6 January.
Head Coach Warren Joyce named an unchanged starting XI to the team that earned a 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory in Round 9.
In perfect conditions for football on New Year’s Day at ANZ Stadium, both teams showcased their attacking intent from the get-go.
The home side made the first attacking move of the match, as former City attacker Bruce Kamau met Llorente’s cross with a half-volley, which was well blocked by Bart Schenkeveld inside the opening two minutes.
Head Coach Warren Joyce’s side responded immediately, as Riley McGree’s effort from inside the penalty area was deflected behind for a corner. With the resulting corner, Rostyn Griffiths met Luke Brattan’s perfectly weighted ball, although the midfielder’s header sailed over the crossbar.
Moments later McGree was again involved, this time finding Scott Jamieson with a piercing ball, although the captain’s effort was skied over the bar.
In the 18th minute, Llorente’s dangerous cross looked goal-bound for the Wanderers, although Eugene Galekovic stepped up to the challenge, tipping the defender’s effort over the crossbar and away to safety.
A blistering closing 15-minutes to the first-half saw City take a 2-0 lead into break with two goals in two minutes. The opener came through Lachlan Wales, as the young speedster met Dario Vidosic’s intelligent long throw before dinking the ball with composure over a diving Janjetovic to make it 1-0.
In the 37th minute City would make it 2-0, as Riley McGree skinned Llorente on the wing before laying the ball off to Ritchie De Laet who fired his effort home from just inside the area.
The Wanderers looked to bounce back on the stroke of half-time, but Bruce Kamau’s curling effort was brilliantly saved by a diving Eugene Galekovic.
City looked to start the second-half on the front foot, but were dealt a blow in the 56th minute when Rostyn Griffiths received his second yellow card for a challenge on Baumjohann.
In the 76th minute, the ball fell to the feet of Dario Vidosic inside the penalty area, but his effort from close range was met by a well-timed block from Llorente.
With the home side looking determined to find a way back into the match, shot-stopper Eugene Galekovic stepped up to the challenge with an inspired final 15-minutes of play.
In the 84th minute the veteran produced two brilliant saves in succession, first denying Baumjohann’s low driving effort before producing a diving fingertip save to deny Majok.
Moments later the Wanderers were handed a late lifeline as Majok’s effort struck the hand of Nathaniel Atkinson inside the penalty area, handing the hosts a spot kick. Oriol Riera stepped up to the spot before his low effort was saved by Galekovic’s strong right arm.
It’s back-to-back home games for City, as they host Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Sunday 6 January, kick-off 5:00pm, before taking on Brisbane Roar at the same venue on Friday 11 January, kick-off 7:50pm.