We were treated to five goals, two pens and a red card in Friday night’s derby but the real winners are those who can now breathe a little better after leaving the stadium.
As the smoke haze (and police) descended upon Melbourne and stadium fire alarms were set off, higher powers decided the forge ahead with one of Melbourne’s three derbies. I mean, who cares if some fans can no longer attend for fear of not being able to breathe?
There was a Twitter source reporting Western United’s Scott McDonald in the beer precinct during the game which is exactly what future club Brisbane Roar want to hear. When Roar’s 34yo striker isn’t consistent and fans are screaming for a playmaker, of course the answer is to bring in a 36yo striker/more recently an attacking midfielder. So… yay Roar. I guess.
Melbourne City look to be our only hope to stop Sydney FC claiming another title which might be the saddest thing I’ve ever had to type. Both teams looking to bounce back from losses the week before but JMac was due to provide the goods.
I thought I might have jinxed Maclaren for typing that but I need not have worried. Just five minutes in and Lachie Wales feed Florin Berenguer a peach before he hit the woodwork. JMac was on hand for the messy tap in scramble to put City ahead.
Wales, Berenguer and Craig Noone were causing Western United all sorts of issues in the first half but their backline seemed to hold up for the most part.
Just when you think they might avoid a Rudan dress down at half time, United let the goals flood in towards the end of the half.
Play seemed to slow down as City tested the waters around United’s box when Noone chipped the ball over an offside trap to a speedy Adrian Luna who just had to beat Kurto. It was elegant and looked effortless as his volley found the back of the net in the 38th.
While United tried to play their way through, a costly turn over and absolute shocker by Kurto led to JMac’s brace. Kurto rushed forward trying to beat JMac to the oncoming long ball but somehow misjudged and ended up blocking his defender. All he could do was look back as JMac casually fired into an open goal in the 44th.
HT: MCY 3-0 WUN
As Western United emerged from the dressing room you knew they had a big test ahead of them. Pressure enough for any team who’s 3-0 down but when you’ve got Mark Rudan as your coach and you’ve heard the rumours you don’t want to be walking back into that dressing room without a few goals.
City just wanted more glory, jumping on the attack straight away. Noone had a couple of shots from the edge of the area looked a shoo-in but both went wide. Maclaren and Josh Brilliante looked to make it 4-0 as well but Kurto stepped up on both occasions.
Then, what seemed like out of no where but probably isn’t giving United enough credit, the tide turned.
Dean Bouzanis seemed to have completely forgot himself and was hell bent on stopping Josh Cavallo’s run in the box. Absolute madness as City’s backline were just keeping up with Cavallo’s pace to get four back. He missed the ball and got all player, taking Cavallo’s feet out from under him and giving away the penalty. Besart Berisha sent Bouzanis the wrong way to make it 3-1 in the 75th minute.
Moments later and more madness. Pierias intercepted the ball from a poor City pass as three United players descended upon goal. Harrison Delbridge’s sliding tackle stopped the immediate danger but his trailing (or flailing) arm made contact with the ball for another penalty.
Originally a yellow and VAR turned to red after a wait. Delbridge was judged to have stopped an obvious goal scoring opportunity as Pierias had tried to pass the ball and he was off. The shock on Delbridge’s face was great. You hate and love to see it happen to teams you don’t support.
Alessandro Diamanti aimed for the same spot as Berisha and made it 3-2. United were spurred to life looking for a point but it was a little too late and a 10-man City held on.
Oof. Good game.
FT: MCY 3-2 WUN
By Bree Reidy