Match Report: Victory 1-1 City
Melbourne City FC was held to a point at AAMI Park on Sunday evening as arch-rivals Melbourne Victory scored with almost the last kick of the night to see out a 1-1 draw.
There were seven changes to the side that took on Brisbane almost a fortnight ago with a number of familiar faces returning to the starting line-up, whilst youngster Raphael Borges Rodrigues made his first A-League start.
15-year-old Max Caputo was named in a matchday squad for the first time after a stellar run of early-season form for our NPL3 side, currently leading the Golden Boot race with nine goals.
Craig Noone and Stefan Colakovski were left out of the side to take on the Victory, resting up with slight niggles.
It was a very youthful front three to start the 35th Melbourne Derby with Marco Tilio (19) leading the line, along with academy product Borges Rodrigues (17) and Naoki Tsubaki (20) occupying the wide areas.
City got to work in the first half with an incredibly dominant showing, Tilio showing why he is one of the league’s rising stars with a blistering first half that generated three magnificent saves from Victory goalkeeper Matt Acton to keep them in the contest.
The best chance of the half came via a delightful backheel from Borges Rodrigues that found Tilio behind the Victory defence, the young gun denied with a desperate save on 26 minutes.
Aiden O’Neill went close when he thumped a driving ball from the edge of the area, Acton again down to it low to the right to tip the ball past the post.
With the scores locked as they started at half time, City took just 8 minutes to go in front after a Tsubaki drive to the by-line. The resultant low, hard cross was turned in by Victory’s Nick Ansell and City had a deserved lead for their dominance.
The second half was a far better showing for the home side, however barring a couple of Rudy Gestede chances it still looked like City who had the control.
An 83rd minutes substitution saw Borges Rodrigues replaced by young gun Max Caputo for his A-League debut, the striker immediately in the action as his flicked pass created an instant chance for City.
The City boys thought they’d sealed it early into stoppage time as a delightfully worked piece of team play ultimately saw the returning Anthony Lesiotis finish at the back post, however VAR intervention managed to find him slightly offside and the goal was disallowed.
As the clocked ticked away in stoppage time it was a final corner that proved to be City’s undoing, Lleyton Brooks netting the equaliser after some pinball in the area.
City will have one final match to complete the 2020/21 A-League season, with a new date for the postponed fixture against Newcastle set to be announced early this week.