More VAR madness as City reclaim top spot

-

A feast of VAR drama overshadowed a five-goal thriller as Melbourne City overcame the Central Coast Mariners 3-2.

Marco Tilio was seeking to pick up where he left off from the game against Newcastle Jets when a clever passage of passing led him to find space in the box, only for his shot to fly wide of the post.

City threatened for much of the first half, with Jacob Farrell in particular excelling with some high-class defensive efforts.

Yet despite City generating most of the chances, it was Central Coast who scored first.

On the stroke of half time a long ball found Beni Nkololo who put together a classy run, beating several defenders before firing the ball past Tom Glover.

Embed from Getty Images

A surprise lead, but one which was reward for the Mariners’ solid defensive showing.

The Nkololo goal was only the beginning of the late drama though, as yet another moment of VAR madness struck.

A plainly ludicrous outcome with City being awarded a penalty for Kye Rowles’ challenge on Tilio, despite the initial contact clearly occurring outside the box.

Jamie Maclaren subsequently converted the spot kick, handing City an equaliser right on half time.

Whilst the game hardly exploded into life in the second half, Patrick Kisnorbo’s side snatched the lead just before the hour mark.

A rare venture forward from Aiden O’Neill proved fruitful, as his neat exchange with Florin Berenguer resulted in the Frenchman being played through one-on-one with Mark Birighitti.

Berenguer executed a tidy finish to give City a 2-1 lead.

Embed from Getty Images

City appeared to be building, with several chances following their second goal. The home side though couldn’t take their chances.

The Mariners made City pay for their wastefulness when Jason Cummings got on the ball with his back to goal. The Scot cleverly distributed to the arriving Farrell out wide, whose excellent cross allowed captain Oliver Bozanic to tap home the Mariners’ second.

City though were not yet finished, as Mathew Leckie pounced on a lose defensive pass to create a major opportunity for City’s attackers, who combined to find Tilio yet again to score what would prove to be the decisive goal.

Embed from Getty Images

Of course, more controversy would end the fixture.

Lewis Miller went down in the box in the final minutes, prompting another extended review of the call alongside VAR consultation.

The Mariners’ luck would not turn though, as Shaun Evans opted against a penalty award.

More heartbreak for the Mariners, who will be keen to forget their torrid last few weeks.

For City it is another lucky escape. Kisnorbo will be focused on the three points though, as City return to the top of the A-League Men’s table.

Melbourne City: 3 (Maclaren 45+7’ (P), Berenguer 57’, Tilio 74’)
Central Coast Mariners: 2 (Nkololo 45’, Bozanic 65’)
Venue: AAMI Park

Referee: Shaun Evans
Assistant Referees: Ryan Gallagher, Daniel Ilievski
Fourth Official: Jack Morgan

Melbourne City: Thomas GLOVER (GK), Scott GALLOWAY, Nuno REIS, Carl JENKINSON, Mathew LECKIE, Aiden O’NEILL (Taras GOMULKA 100’), Jamie MACLAREN (c), Florin BERENGUER, Andrew NABBOUT (Stefan COLAKOVSKI 72’), Curtis GOOD, Marco TILIO (Rostyn GRIFFITHS 93’)
Unused subs: Matthew SUTTON (GK), Manuel PUCCIARELLI, Jordon HALL, Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES

Central Coast Mariners: Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK), Lewis MILLER (Storm ROUX 93’), Joshua NISBET, Oliver BOZANIC (c) (Maximilien BALLARD 81’), Jason CUMMINGS (Cy GODDARD 82’), MORESCHE (Marcos URENA 55’), Beni NKOLOLO, Kye ROWLES, Jacob FARRELL, Daniel HALL, Nicolai MULLER (Noah SMITH 82’)
Unused subs: Lawrence CARUSO (GK), Ruon TONGYIK

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne City FC

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Oscar Rutherford
Oscar Rutherford
Sports tragic studying Law/Arts at Monash University. Second-best paid Oscar working in football who has been to China.

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required