NPL Preview: City v Manningham United Blues FC

Melbourne City’s NPL side will be looking to arrest a three-game losing run on Saturday when they make the short trip to the Veneto Club to take on Manningham United Blues.

Back-to-back defeats against Moreland Zebras and Goulburn Valley Suns has put a dampener on City’s bright start to the season in which they were undefeated after five rounds.

Despite their eventual defeat, City started last week’s meeting with the Suns in a positive fashion and even opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Gianluca Iannucci fired past Suns’ goalkeeper Fraser Greenwood.

However, Suns’ stalwart Craig Carley quickly brought his side back level just six minutes later; ushering in a tight contest for the remainder of the first half.

The deadlock was eventually broken in the 65th minute when Carley once again popped up and shot past Delianov to make it 2-1 to the visitors.

The Suns’ Alou Kuol then popped up less than two minutes later to make it 3-1 for the regional side and then sealed the contest in the 75th minute when he struck again to secure his side’s second brace of the day.

That second defeat in as many weeks meant that City slipped to seventh in the highly competitive NPL2 Eastern Conference. The tight nature of the conference after the season’s opening seven rounds means that City’s youth are only three points adrift of third-placed FC Bulleen Lions and three clear of eighth-placed Manningham.

Promoted to the NPL from the State Leagues in 2019, Manningham has had a less than stellar beginning to life in the NPL2; winning only one (a 2-0 win over Northcote City in Round Five) of their games whilst losing four.

The fourth of those defeats arrived last week when, after clawing their way back to parity in the 84th minute after Dean Lorenzi cancelled out the Lion’s Chris Droutsas 28th minute opening, Kostas Droutsas responded less than 60 seconds later to restore the lead of the late-specialist Lions and consign the Blues to defeat.

As ever, the contest between the senior sides of the two club’s will be proceeded by a curtain-raiser played out by their U20s sides.

Petr Kratky’s U20 City boys will be looking to continue their fine start to the season in that contest and extend their lead atop the NPL2 U20 Eastern Conference Table with what would be their sixth win of the season.

It was plain sailing for the U20 boys in their last hit out; defeating the youth of Goulburn Valley 8-0 in a one-sided clash at LaTrobe.

Manningham’s U20s currently sit in the eighth position on the table heading into the contest and will be looking to bounce back after suffering a heavy 7-2 defeat against Eastern Lions last week.

The meeting between City and the Blues' senior sides will be broadcast, with streams available on the NPL Victoria YouTube and Facebook pages. 

Match Details:

NPL Victoria - NPL2 Round Eight
Saturday, 6 April 2019
Manningham United Blues FC v Melbourne City FC
Venue: David Barro Stadium, Veneto Club, Bulleen, Melbourne
Kick-off: U20s – 2:00 pm | Seniors 4:00 pm