NPL Preview: City v Moreland City

Melbourne City’s NPL side will be looking to arrest a two-game losing run when they return to LaTrobe University to face off with NPL2 Western Conference opponent Moreland City this Sunday.

Defeated 4-0 by North Geelong Warriors in the first iteration of the Josip Skoko Cup in round ten, City once against went down last week; suffering a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Northcote City at John Cain Memorial Park.

Although very early signs were positive for City in what was Petr Kratky’s first game as senior Head Coach, they fell behind in the 16th minute of that game when, capitalising on turnover, Northcote’s James Wilson fired home his first of two goals for the contest.

Former City youth player Leo Athanasiou then set up Northcote’s 2-0 lead in the 38th minute when he laid off a perfect pass through the City lines for Mehdi Sarwari to fire home. Wilson then secured his brace with a lofted effort just four minutes into the second half, before Asher Nelson and Jordan Nelson added goals 54th and 65th minutes.

Goals to Giovanni Stellitano and Moudi Najjar in the 76th and 80th minute made the scoreline look slightly more respectable for City, only for Northcote to make it six after Alec Mills inadvertently turned the ball into his own net in the 85th minute.

The result means that City has fallen to sixth on the NPL2 Eastern Conference table, the gap between themselves and top-placed Eastern Lions SC now stretched to nine points.

Sunday’s opponents, Moreland City, occupy the seventh position on the NPL2 Western Conference table, 12 points back of table-topping St Albans Saints.

Last week, Moreland City snapped a two-game losing run of their own when they defeated North Geelong Warriors 1-0 at Elcho Park thanks to a late, late goal from Jacob Colosimo in the 90th minute of play.

Denied promotion to the top flight of Victoria football in 2018 thanks to one of the most dramatic injury-time comebacks of all time from Green Gully in the Promotion and Relegation Playoff, Moreland was relocated to the Western Conference in 2019 after spending the previous campaign in the East.

During that 2018 Eastern Conference season, City and Moreland City met twice.

The first meeting at Campbell Reserve in round nine saw the spoils shared after Christopher Cristaldo’s 90th minute equaliser brought the game back to 2-2 after goals to City’s Yusuf Ahmed and Moudi Najjar.

The second meeting between the two sides was a lot more comprehensively in favour of Moreland City, with a brace to Apai Ukono and strikes from Matt Reid and Ratip Cileli propelling them to a 4-0 win at La Trobe University in round 26 of the season.

Match Details:

NPL Victoria - NPL2 Round Twelve
Sunday, 12 May 2019
Melbourne City FC v Moreland City FC
Venue: La Trobe University (Pitch One), Bundoora, Melbourne, Victoria
Kick-off: U20s – 12:30pm | Seniors 3:00pm