Melbourne City FC were unable to translate possession into goals after drawing 0-0 with league leaders Perth Glory at AAMI Park on Sunday evening.
Despite a dominant first half display in which John van’t Schip’s men controlled possession and created numerous goal scoring opportunities, the home side were unable to break down a resolute Glory defence in a match that did little for either side’s A-League ambitions.
The result sees Melbourne City FC remain in seventh position on the Hyundai A-League ladder, trailing the sixth placed Brisbane Roar only on goal difference.
New signing Kew Jaliens made his debut for Melbourne City FC after joining from the Newcastle Jets during the week, while Erik Paartalu returned to the starting line-up after an injury lay-off. Star winger Damien Duff was out after suffering a season-ending calf injury, with Safuwan Baharudin also making way.
Unbeaten in their last four home games against the league leaders, Melbourne City FC fashioned the first dangerous opportunity in the second minute, with former Glory defender Jack Clisby lashing a shot wide after being found inside the penalty area by Aaron Mooy.
With the Glory content on defending deep and absorbing pressure on the counter attack, Melbourne City FC continued to look lively in the final third, with skipper Patrick Kisnorbo bouncing a downward header over the cross bar and Jacob Melling testing Danny Vukovic with a low drive in the eighth minute.
The best chance of the half came in the 12th minute when Jaliens made a surging run down the right flank. The defender launched an inch perfect cross towards the towering Josh Kennedy, who was denied his first goal in City colours by a fantastic reflex save by Vukovic.
Kennedy was proving to be a dominant physical presence up front for Melbourne City FC, performing a masterful turn and lay off to Melling who forced Vukovic to save low to his right. The industrious midfielder continued to pepper Vukovic’s goal, whistling another effort over the crossbar only seconds later as City looked to translate their dominance in possession onto the scoreboard.
The home side continued to threaten from set-pieces, with Kisnorbo heading over another excellent free kick from Mooy, while Kennedy was denied in the 37th minute by an excellent block from Michael Thwaite after some great link up play with Robert Koren.
The Glory rarely threatened the Melbourne City FC goal but came close to snatching an undeserved lead at the end of the first half, with Kisnorbo making an excellent block to deny a fierce drive from Nebojsa Marinkovic.
Jaliens nearly gave his new club the lead only five minutes into the second half, with the Dutch defender narrowly sending his header wide of the goal after another dangerous delivery from Mooy. City suffered a further injury blow in the 58th minute when Melling limped off with a suspected knee injury.
The Glory continued to sit back but were not without chances in the second period. Striker Andy Keogh twice headed wide after some great delivery from Marinkovic, before the Irishman raced through on goal in injury time.
A quick counter attack from a Melbourne City FC set piece saw substitute Mitch Nicholls find Keogh in acres of space but Tando Velaphi raced out quickly to save with his legs and rescue a point for his side.
Hyundai A-League Round 18
Saturday, 22nd February 2015
Melbourne City FC 0
Perth Glory 0
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Jarred Gillett
Melbourne City FC Line up: 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 5. Erik PAARTALU, 6. Aaron MOOY, 10. Robi KOREN (Paulo RETRE 88’), 15. David WILLIAMS (Jason HOFFMAN 83’), 16. Josh KENNEDY, 22. Jack CLISBY, 24. Patrick KISNORBO (C), 25. Jacob MELLING (Massimo MURDOCCA 58’) 27. Kew JALIENS
Substitutes not used: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 29. Safuwan BAHARUDIN.
Yellow Cards: Paartalu 56’
Red Cards: Nil
Perth Glory Line up: 1. Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 5. Rostyn GRIFFITHS (Mitchell NICHOLLS 69’), 6. Dino DJUBLIC, 9. Andy KEOGH, 10. Nebojsa MARINKOVIC (Richard GARCIA 80’), 14. Chris HAROLD (Dragan PALJIC 56’), 16. Sidnei SCIOLA, 19. Joshua RISDON, 21. Scott JAMIESON, 23. Michael THWAITE (C), 28. Denis KRAMAR
Substitutes not used: 18. Jack DUNCAN (GK), 15. Jamie MACLAREN.
Yellow Cards: Kramar 76’
Red Cards: Nil