Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce was left to rue two moments of madness either side of the half that cost his team any chance of walking away from Allianz Stadium with a result last night. The Melburnians came into the game with a clear game plan to choke Sydney of ball in the middle of the park and counter with pace when they had the chance.

“I thought we had a really good first half, I thought we started the game well, we had a game plan, I thought we were the best side and thoroughly deserved the lead,” said Joyce.

“The lapse in concentration before half time cost us.”

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That lapse was a five minute spell after the visitors had taken a rare lead over Sydney in which two costly fouls awarded Sydney a dangerous free kick and a penalty. True to form the Sky Blues capitalized on them both and left City reeling before the break.

If those errors annoyed Joyce than the sending off of Manny Muscat for an elbow seemed to outrage the City coach.

“Frustrated doesn’t come anywhere near my feelings on the situation,” said Joyce. “I thought it was a free kick for us before it and when it happened I don’t think there was much contact. But he sent them off and we’ve got to accept that.”

The replayed seems to suggest that the coaches assessment was somewhat generous to Muscat who looks to have thrown his elbow back at defender Michael Zullo. The real controversy happened minutes earlier when Sydney’s Brazilian strike Bobo seemed to have raked Muscat’s legs off the ball moments earlier. The incident was missed by both officials and the VAR but was picked up by the FOX Sports cameras.

“I didn’t see the incident so I can’t comment,” said Sydney coach Graham Arnold after the match.

Arnold may not have seen the incident but the review panel almost certainly will. Whether or not they decide to take any action against the Brazilian will be determined in the coming days.

The prospect of losing Bobo to suspension will likely annoy the Sydney coach who only just got a full team back with the return of Milos Ninkovic as a substitute last night. The Serbian’s return was a boost to Sydney who at times looked a little flat compared to their demolition of Western Sydney last week.

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“After an emotional win sometimes it takes more than seven or eight days to get over it,” offered Arnold.

“The positive is even when you’re not playing great we have those pieces of quality of class that we do have can score those goals.”

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Football fan, writer, and post-grad journalism student at the University of Technology Sydney. Joined the team in 2017 to cover Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners.