NPL Preview: City v Murray United

Earning their first point after a seven-game losing run, Melbourne City’s senior NPL side will hit the road this week looking to springboard themselves onto even bigger things as the season hits round 18.

City’s senior and U20s NPL sides will this week pack into busses to make the long trip north to Albury-Wodonga in order to take on NPL2 Eastern Conference rivals Murray United; who sit four points clear of Petr Kratky’s side in 7th position on the conference table.

City remains in bottom place of the table heading into the round but is now only a single point adrift of ninth-placed Springvale White Eagles after picking up a handy point against 4th placed Langwarrin SC last week.

Playing for the first time in their new home digs at the Veneto Club, City took the lead in the 27th minute of that contest when Moudi Najjar turned his defender under a long goal kick by Ahmad Taleb to allow Stefan Colakovski to snatch the ball and turn upfield.

Advancing to the edge of the area, Colakovski slid a ball to his left and into the path of a surging Najjar. The City striker, in turn, cut the ball back onto his right boot before burying the ball in the bottom corner to give his side the lead.

City was unable to hold the lead, though, when in the 54th minute of play a wayward shot from former City player Lucas Portelli scuffed straight to an onside Max Etheridge inside the penalty area.

The newly signed Langwarrin player made no mistake with his golden opportunity; nodding home to make it 1-1.

This week’s opponents Murray United was unable to continue the momentum of their two straight wins in round 17, losing 3-1 to table-topping Eastern Lions at Gardiners Creek Reserve.

Going ahead in the 20th minute thanks to a strike from Joshua Zito, United was unable to protect their lead against the surprise Eastern Conference leaders; Kostas Droutsas, Shaun Kenny and Tom Biss all firing home goals to ensure the three points would stay in Burwood.

City and United last met in round two of the current season at La Trobe University in Bundoora.

Though United were able to quickly answer back with a 9th minute Zac Walker strike after Halil Gur had inadvertently put the ball in the back of his own net in the 8th minute and then made it 2-2 in the 47th minute after Ashley Dunn cancelled out Moudi Najjar’s 40th minute goal; they were unable to stem a late onslaught from City.  

Ramy Najjarine opened the floodgates in the 70th minute, before Dylan Pierias and Stefan Colakovski added further pain in the 81st and 84th minutes.

Najjarine then put a bow on proceedings in the 90th minute when he secured his brace.

City and United’s senior sides are set to meet at 3 pm on the Albury-Wodonga La Trobe campus this Saturday, with the club’s two U20 sides slated to kick off in a curtain raiser at 12:30 pm.

Match Details:

NPL Victoria - NPL2 Round Eighteen 
Saturday, 22 June 2019
Melbourne City FC v Murray United
Venue: La Trobe University (Albury-Wodonga) - Pitch 1, Wodonga
Kick-off: U20s – 12:30pm | Seniors 3:00pm