An under-manned Melbourne City FC led twice during an entertaining 2-2 draw with Sydney FC on Saturday night. Here are the key Quotes and Notes to come out of the Round 13 clash at AAMI Park.
Melbourne City FC Head Coach John van’t Schip
Thoughts on the first-half…
“I think the whole game was [extraordinary], but if you ask about the first half we were struggling to get our play going and we were lucky that we didn’t concede.”
“We wanted to wait to half-time to see if it would get any better but it didn’t and unfortunately for Ali [Eyigun] we had to take him off – not because he wasn’t playing well but because we had to do something to get some structure back.
“After that and with explanation at half-time we looked a lot better and dangerous again going forward and creating chances. Going up front two times gives a bit of a feeling that maybe we could have won this game.
“It might not have been a fair result for Sydney to be honest, but leading 2-1 and getting two big opportunities to get to the 3-1 with Robi Koren and Michael Zullo, and even at 2-2 with Harry Novillo, you could have won the game as well and of course at the end we were lucky that [Sydney] didn’t win the game.”
“We got structure back when we changed but still it was tough with five different players in from last week and missing out some players that didn’t pass a fitness test this morning.
On the difficult opening to the match…
“We had so many changes and we didn’t even practice this week on this team because it came up this morning. That of course is hard and sometimes it works out well but now you could see that there was some insecurity in the start and it didn’t really get to a level where we were more stable.
“It continued in that Sydney created chances so we had to do something and have an early change and then we got a bit more structure and could get our own game going again.”
On the changes to the starting XI…
“We had Erik Paartalu, Ivan Franjic and Aaron Mooy that pulled up very sore. Erik tried but didn’t pass so he was ruled out for 90 minutes. The same with Aaron, he got a little hit and reported some soreness and it didn’t improve. We had to take the decision with both because it’s a very busy schedule and there are a lot of games to come.”
“Ivan [Franjic] was struggling with a cork and we had to rule him out as well. With the suspension of Paulo [Retre] we had to reshuffle a bit and that cost Ben Garuccio his place, so that is why we had that many changes.”
On Aaron Hughes’ first 90 minutes for the Club…
“If you start for the first time in a team that is trying to find its way then it’s not easy, especially for Aaron [Hughes] who has been out for a long time and hasn’t played. I think he came back a lot better during the game and especially in the second half and of course he scored a goal. He played 90 minutes so they are positive signs.”
On Ali Eyigun’s debut…
“He’s young, he will get his time for sure. He needs more games in the youth and maybe very soon he will get another chance, because we like to give young players an opportunity. But also we have to look at the team and at this moment we had to change him; not because he was not good, but because we had to change the system.”
“We gave him this opportunity and it shows we have a lot of belief in him. We had to make a decision that didn’t work out for him to continue but as I said, he needs to keep on working hard and he’ll get another opportunity.”
On Harry Novillo’s performance…
“I think Harry was important this evening, as was Bruno [Fornaroli] up front, they did a lot. He’s strong, he’s threatening, he could have scored I think but he had two assists – one from the corner and one from the header of Bruno. He had a few opportunities to score himself, maybe at the end he could have passed a ball as well.
“Just telling the story that he’s been a threat to Sydney, he was important to help us going forward and give the other players a little bit of a breather as well. I’m happy with his performance and I hope he continues and gets stronger.”
- The 2-2 draw sees Melbourne City FC remain in third position on the Hyundai A-League table, ahead of fourth placed Sydney FC on goal difference.
- City defender Aaron Hughes marked his first full 90 minutes for the Club with his maiden Hyundai A-League goal, rising highest to head home Harry Novillo’s corner in the 37th minute to give City a 1-0 lead.
- Young midfielder Ali Eyigun also made his competitive Hyundai A-League debut against Sydney FC. The 18-year-old became the fifth player from the Club’s youth setup to feature for the first team this season, following in the footsteps of Wade Dekker, Hernan Espindola, Stefan Zinni and Matthew Millar.
- Bruno Fornaroli continues to lead the race for the Golden Boot, netting his 11th goal of the season against Sydney FC. The Uruguayan has now scored six goals in his last six Hyundai A-League matches, and has become the equal fastest player (with Mark Viduka) to score 11 goals in Australian league history.
- City’s 26 interceptions was 17 more than in last week’s match against Brisbane Roar, with the Club also increasing its defensive output by making five more tackles.
- Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen continued his impressive start to the season with another assured performance between the posts. The Danish stopper currently leads the league for saves made (54) and also contributed to the attack against Sydney, with four shots on goal starting from Sorensen at the back.