Wanderers and City locked in draw

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An early and enthusiastic start by the Wanderers pushed the team from Western Sydney into the lead early, but the very quiet Melbourne City equalised a mere 20 minutes later. Despite multiple chances and substitutions, the 1-1 score stayed the same in the uninspiring and lethargic second half.

The Wanderers began excited, so excited that they in fact started before the referee had signalled the game had begun with the timing between the countdown on the screen and the referees whistle completely off.

The opening minutes saw Nikita Rukavytsya break through City’s defence but the run resulted in him sending the ball wide of the goal.

The team from Western Sydney were playing with a fast tempo for much of the first half and many of the major moments came from the home team which made the final score even more surprising.

Romeo Castelen, similar to Rukavytsya, managed to find space but lacked the finishing touch which also saw him send the ball wide.

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Melbourne City on the other hand were relatively quiet, Aaron Mooy returned from Socceroos duty and if you didn’t know he was in the starting line-up you wouldn’t have known he was on the field.

City’s Robi Koren attempted a long distance shot but it flew straight into the open arms of Wanderers keeper Dean Bouzanis and in what seemed like hours until City got another chance, Josh Kennedy had a bubbly shot that bounced so far away from goal that it was no longer the threat that it was once perceived.

Things did take a turn after City’s Kew Jaliens was awarded a yellow card after a nasty tackle on Rukavytsya, which ultimately set the tone for the upcoming goal. A free kick was consequently awarded and Yojiro Takahagi stepped up to the plate for the Red and Black.

Yojiro curved the ball past all the players and most importantly curved it past Tando Velaphi and the Wanderers were up by one after a very strong 20 minutes.

This seemed to have given the Wanderers the push that they needed with Tomi Juric, who also returned from Socceroos duty, embarking on a fantastic sprint which involved both a chip and chase and a zig zag run past all the players in the box. Unluckily for him, the effort was there but the finishing was not.

Rukavytsya used his pace once again to startle the opposition but Velaphi destroyed the incoming threat. The sudden sprint seemed to have taken its toll on Rukavytsya who fell into the “Wanderers First-Half Injury Curse” was substituted off with a supposed hamstring injury.

Despite this, the Wanderers soldiered on with Castelen sending a shot over the cross bar and Yusuke Tanaka even having an attempt and trying his luck from 40m out.

Then from practically no where, Melbourne City equalised. Aaron Mooy came out of hiding and his cross seemed to be the only thing Harry Novillo needed, blasting into the goal the equaliser and certainly one of the best goals of the season.

Juric then had the perfect opportunity to put the Wanderers one up again with a keeperless goal. It was so close for the Wanderers except the ball bounced in the final metres in completely the wrong direction.

The second half lacked the excitement of the first and a number of substitutions were made to try and change that, but none of them changed the game or the final result.

City’s Koren tried from distance again to razzle Bouzanis but it of course was saved. Whilst Wanderer Yojirio tried to tap the ball in and through some kind of miracle, Velaphi managed to push it out and over the goal.

The final moments saw Castelen once again with a fantastic burst of energy but he was just unable to finish the job for the Wanderers with the score remaining the same after 45 minutes of play, 1-1.

The Wanderers’ next game will be on Tuesday evening in Asia’s Champions League at home before they head off to play against the Central Coast Mariners on the Saturday. City will have a huge test this Sunday when they take on dark horses Wellington Phoenix.

Western Sydney Wanderers: Dean BOUZANIS, Jonathon ASPRO, Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (C), YUSUKE Tanaka, YOJIRO Takahagi, Mark BRIDGE (68″ Jason TRIFIRO), Romeo CASTELEN, Nikita RUKAVYSTYA (33″ Labinot HALITI) and Tomi JURIC (79″ Kerem BULUT)

Unused substitutes: Ante Covic and Adrian Madaschi

Melbourne City: Tando VELAPHI, Jack CLISBY (75″ Iain RAMSAY), Josh KENNEDY, Harry NOVILLO  (71″ Mate DUGANDZIC), Kew JALIENS, Aaron MOOY, Robi KOREN, Erik PAARTALU, Jonaton GERMANO, Paulo RETRE (59″ David WILLIAMS) and Patrick KISNORBO (C)

Unused substitutes: Andrew REDMAYNE and Massimo MURDOCCA

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Jessica Csaszar
Jessica joined the team for 2014 covering Western Sydney Wanderers in the Westfield W-League and Hyundai A-League.