Melbourne City’s Y-League side will take to the pitches of the City Football Academy on Monday afternoon looking to continue their unbeaten run as their closest Group A rivals in Adelaide United come to town.
City are undefeated so far this Y-League season, with four wins and a draw enough to see them sit atop Group A of the Y-League with three games remaining on the season.
A win on Monday against Adelaide United, who sit five points adrift of City in second place in Group A would be enough for City to secure top place in the group and a berth in February’s Y-League grand final against the winners of Group B.
City last week recorded a resounding 3-0 win over the Brisbane Roar in their return to action after the Christmas break.
A first half goal by the returning Dylan Pierias combined with second half strikes by Zach Bates and Lucas Derrick did the damage for City, who overcame the hot Queensland conditions to record their fourth win of the season.
Goalkeeper James Delianov, returning to the starting line-up after backing up Yaren Sozer for a couple of games, was also a standout performer for City, recording a number of fine one-on-one saves to keep a desperate Roar off the scoresheet.
Opponents Adelaide United were unable to keep pace with City in their match last week, recording a 2-2 draw against a visiting Perth Glory.
Despite going ahead twice in the contest, first through Pacifique Niyongabire in the 20th minute and then through Charlie Devereux in the 67th minute, the Reds were hauled back in by the Glory both times, with Chok Dau scoring for the Glory in the 55th minute and Yagoub Mustafa bringing it back to 2-2 in the 72nd minute.
With the Y-League campaign winding down and senior players Ruon Tongyik, Bruce Kamau and Stefan Mauk all absent from the team for international duty, the last three games of the season will be vital ones for the young City players looking to launch themselves into contention for senior selection.
City's A-League side playing three games in ten days also presents an opportunity for the members of Head of Academy Joe Palatsides' team to make that leap.
Once such player that has already made the jump is Daniel Arzani, the 18-year-old staring at the beginning of the Y-League season before opening eyes around the nation with his performances at A-League level after his promotion, capped off with a performance many considered man of the match worthy against the Wellington Phoenix on Saturday night.
And the youngster is bullish about the chances that Y-League players are afforded within the City system:
"City is one of the most advanced clubs in the way they think (about) young players,” he said.
“Whoever is performing at their best gets the chance to play."
City and the Reds last met in Round 2 of the Y-League season, with the two sides playing out a hard fought 1-1 draw at the Marden Sports Complex in Adelaide.
Senior listed Braedyn Crowley opened the scoring for City in the 18th minute of that contest, before Devereux levelled in the 55th minute for the hosts.
Foxtel Y-League Round 7
Monday, 8 January 2018
Melbourne City FC v Adelaide United
Venue: City Football Academy, Bundoora, Melbourne