Second-half stumble ends Melbourne City’s perfect start

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A sloppy second half from Melbourne City led to Wellington Phoenix salvaging a 2-2 draw on Sunday evening at AAMI Park.

The match got off to a quick start when Wellington had a shot that whizzed over the crossbar putting pressure on Melbourne City’s defence early. 

However, not even two minutes later, Jordan Bos had a shot on target that due to a lack of power did not trouble Oli Sail between the sticks. 

In the ninth minute, a carefully placed through-ball saw Waine run into the box, however, a strong City defence was able to force his shot off target. 

In the 15th minute, Tilio was able to get a bit of space and start a run into the 18-yard-box, where he took a shot that was deflected off the arm of the Wellington Phoenix defender Tim Payne which led the referee to quickly give a penalty to Melbourne City which Jamie Maclaren swiftly put away giving them the lead. 

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After giving up possession in the Phoenix midfield, Leckie was able to gather up possession and shot a diagonal ball across the pitch to Tilio, who was able to convert, doubling City’s lead in the 34th minute. 

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After coming out to collect the ball, Sail collided with his own teammate which saw the Phoenix medical staff quickly brought on to take a look at him, however it was only a quick checkup and play continued. 

In a quick succession of two minutes both of Melbourne City’s central midfielders picked up a yellow card after they mistimed their challenges 

Disappointment struck when the Phoenix were able to score from a set piece but the linesman’s flag was quickly raised due to Kraev being offside. 

The opening 20 minutes of the second half were tough for Melbourne City with the Phoenix being able to dominate possession, leading to Wellington having a few chances 

After Wellington won a corner in the 79th minute, City were able to clear it from their 18-yard box. However, Sam Sutton was able to strike the ball cleanly on the volley which Glover was able to get a fingertip to but ultimately it hit the back of the net keeping Wellington’s hopes alive. 

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Only 10 minutes later, Kosta Barbarouses was able to seal an equaliser with a toe-poke finish. Then shortly after Melbourne City’s centre-back Thomas Lam picked up a second yellow card resulting in City having to close out the game with 10 men. 

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Melbourne City: 2 (Maclaren 16’, Tilio 34’)

Wellington Phoenix: 2 (Sutton 79’, Barbarouses 90’)

Melbourne City: Glover (GK), Talbot, O’Neill, Lam, Good, Gomulka (van der Venne 68’), Berisha, Leckie, Tilio (Nabbout 72’), Bos, Maclaren (C)

Unused subs: Sutton, Galloway, Raphael, Stokes, Jamieson, Hall

Wellington Phoenix: Sail (GK) (C), Sutton, Payne, Wootton, Elliot, Lewis, Pennington  (Ugarkovic 85’), Sasse (Barbarouses 55’), Old (Laws 94’), Ball (Kraev 55’), Waine (Zawada 54’)

Unused subs: Paulson, Van Hattum 

Stadium: AAMI Park 

Referee: Adam Keersey

Assistant Referees: George Lakrindis & Andrew Meimarakis 

Fourth Official: Jack Morgan

Feature Image Credit: Wellington Phoenix

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Caydn Foley
Football Fanatic. Journalism student hoping to make this a career. Covering Melbourne City for the 22/23 A-Leagues season.

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