Melbourne City FC has extended their unbeaten run three matches to open the NPL2 season, with a hard fought 1-1 draw with Bulleen Lions at David Barro Stadium.
City attacker Joshua Cavallo opened the scoring in the 43rd minute, as his first-time effort found the top corner from the edge of the area. With seconds to play in the first-half, Bulleen hit back, as Daniel Maclennan’s poacher’s effort made it 1-1 at the break.
Both teams were forced to settle for a point following an end-to-end second-half in Bulleen. The result sees City move into second-place on the league standings, with only goal difference separating them from the first-placed Eastern Lions.
Earlier in the evening, the U20s made it three wins from three matches to open the season, as Head Coach Petr Kratky’s side came from a goal down at the break to win 3-1 and remain on top of the league ladder.
In perfect conditions at the Veneto Club, both teams showed their attacking intent from the get-go.
Following a free-flowing start to proceedings the game took a slight pause in play, as City captain Mitch Graham received treatment for a gash to the head. After the restart, City went inches away from finding the breakthrough. On the 15-minute mark, Gianluca Iannucci’s glancing header was just high, before the attacker then picked up the ball and whipped in a dangerous cross which was met by Ramy Najjarine, whose effort from close range was blocked.
As the game progressed, City continued to press and attack Bulleen’s defence. Dylan Pierias kept busy at both ends, working tirelessly up and down the wing, as Ramy Najjarine and Iannucci continued to work hard in the attacking third.
In the 43rd minute, City’s dominance was rewarded as Josh Cavallo’s brilliant left-footed strike gave the visitors a 1-0 lead. Cavallo picked the ball up in his own half before breaking away and laying it off to Stefan Colakovski, the winger charged into the box before laying it back to Cavallo, who made no mistake with a wonderful curling first time effort into the top corner.
Moments after City took a 1-0 lead, the hosts hit back through Daniel Maclennan, who latched onto Luttmer’s cross with a poacher’s effort from close range to ensure the scores remained 1-1 at the break.
Much-like the first period, the second-half kicked off with both teams looking to press and attack the opposition's defence.
City shot-stopper James Delianov was a prominent figure in the second 45, making a range of crucial saves to keep his side in it. As Bulleen looked to wrestle the early momentum, City continued to push and were nearly rewarded when Connor Metcalfe's spectacular bicycle kick sailed just over the cross bar.
Three changes by Head Coach Joe Palatsides saw City regain possession and push for the winner, although a range of half-chances weren't meant to be as the side from Bundoora was forced to settle for a draw.
City remain undefeated, with two wins and one draw from the opening three rounds, which sees them move to second position on the league ladder with only goal difference separating them from first.
Earlier in the evening, Petr Kratky’s U20s made it three from three to open the new season, coming from a goal down at the break to run away 3-1 winners at the Veneto Club, as goals to Rodrigues, Byrns and Oresti secured the points.
The NPL Seniors host Springvale White Eagles FC at La Trobe University (Pitch 1) on Saturday 9 March, kick-off 3:00pm. The U20s will be looking to make it four from four when they also host Springvale at La Trobe University, kick-off 12:30pm.