Lesson in finishing highlights Melbourne Derby

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Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory both registered only one shot on target each to play out a 1-1 draw on Saturday night but it was City’s 12 other attempts and Victory’s none that left loyal Vucks presumably the more contended set of fans despite yet another winless game.

With a dismal shooting accuracy of 7.7%, Jamie Maclaren’s penalty was City’s only shot on target out of 14 total shots. That was the best Warren Joyce’s City could muster up, despite playing against a 10 men Victory for more than 75 minutes of football. Dario Vidosic, Luke Bratton, Rostyn Griffiths and their cadre of wasteful colleagues were responsible for registering shots, but in all the wrong places. Their efforts were largely a mix of woodworks, hopeful long rangers, “that should’ve been it” moments, and Lawrence Thomas’ in Victory’s goal was left disappointed not to have produced something for the film reel, and had no saves to make all game.

Meanwhile, Victory clocked up a dream 100% shooting accuracy, but the problem was that they only had one shot. And some might not even count Kosta Barbarouses’ effort as one, it could be seen as a meek cross that Eugene Galekovic embarrassingly fluffed into his own net. Victory has never recorded just one shot on target in a match, since the gathering of sports data in 2007/8.

Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

“Lucky we didn’t get two then,” Muscat said at the post match press conference.

“I think we were threatening up against a numerical disadvantage. We limited the opposition to corners and shots from distance so the onus wasn’t on us to go out … but we tried to go forward and created those half opportunities.

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“From what I’ve seen with my eyes and in terms of the performance of the team – the desire, the courage to take the game on, they were tactically so disciplined,” Muscat said.

Victory’s winning formulae to catch up with Perth Glory was thrown out of the window when Georg Niedermeier was sent off with the game in its infancy, in the 15th minute. To compound matters, the German gave away a penalty which City’s Maclaren converted.

“If we roll up to work and everything goes to plan it’ll be pretty boring wouldn’t it – you guys (journalists) included. It’s always something you want to be prepared for and our response was tremendous,” Muscat said.

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“From there on, it were huge positives, the amount of heart and courage we played with was really nice to watch, and really good to be involved with. Immediately after the break, we still kept going for the game, still had two up top … in attack.

“It comes with some risks without doubt but when you have got a group of men that play with such desire and discipline, anything’s possible. That period up until half time till when we scored our goal, we were the ones that look to score, look to push on … and I was really pleased and proud of the boys without doubt,” he said.

Joyce’s men frustrated, shuns questions about his position

Given City’s inability to finish against lesser opponents, it was hardly a surprise when they couldn’t get the job done against a 10 men team, even with 60% of the possession. At a 12% conversion rate, City are the second most inefficient side in the A-League when it comes to putting balls into the back of nets. Only bottom rung Central Coast Mariners have scored less goals than City this season, City have 24 (tied with Newcastle Jets).

“We have to do better in a 1v1 situation to be more creative. Some of the passing can be quicker, we were a lot quicker when we started the game when they (Victory) had 11 men,” Joyce said.

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“Regardless of them being down to 10 men, they’re still got experienced players, kept a strong shape. They didn’t really make a difference to the front two, but they did not hurt us in any situation of the game yet they’ve scored from almost an unscorable angle as well.

“We started well so the spirit’s good, we were on the front foot but they’re (City players) frustrated not to get the three points, but certainly the spirit, effort, organisation we played at the start of the game was very good,” Joyce said.

Joyce might’ve prevented Victory from winning a single Melbourne Derby game in a regular season since 2011/12, but his position still remains on line with still only one win in City’s previous eight games.

“That question’s for somebody else, I’m just looking at the game,” was what the former Bolton manager replied when posed a question concerning his future.

Deng: It’s not over till the fat lady sings

Thomas Deng was forced to work with two defensive partners in one outing, and he felt that he and his colleagues put up a fine display.

“Losing Georg made it even harder than us, because I thought we were doing quite well. He came in after and apologised, it’s a shit feeling, what can you do? Referees makes these decisions, you just got to move past it.” Deng said

Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

“The boys defended very well, we gave it our all. The instructions were to stay compact, force them wide and I think the boys did a tremendous job by limiting their (City’s) chances.

“The midfield came back to help our backline, it was a pleasing night for us, it’s a massive lift, especially going to a rough game next week Geelong against the Jets, they’re a tough side.

“It’s never too late till the fat lady sings, we’ll have to wait and see,” the central defender said.

With Perth possibly 13 points clear by this evening, the fat lady might have already set sail.

Feature image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Ngau Kai Yanhttp://ngaukaiyan.com
Journalism undergrad at Monash University, Kai is a multimedia journalist covering Melbourne Victory. Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund. Once "stole" Shinji Kagawa's plane ticket.