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'Just getting started': Three things we learned - City vs Western Sydney

A game that promised goals stayed true to its word, as Melbourne City finished off their season in style defeating the Wanderers 3-2.

It was a game that had it all, cutting edge goals, two penalties, a last minute winner, but best of all the lifting of our third straight premiers plate; all in all resulting in an evening that will live long in the memory of all City fans.

Here are three things we learned from the night:

Tilio celebrates with Maclaren - Source: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

Dashing Tilio:

Marco sure did save his best game for last, and boy was it a good one. His ability to run with the ball at his feet has been something City fans have been aware of since his arrival, but his ability to turn into prime Lionel Messi not once but twice is a welcome addition to his game.

Tilio left the Wanderers defenders in his wake for his first of the evening as he ducked and weaved his way into the box. Perhaps even more more impressive than his run was the finish, leaving one of the best keepers in the league in Lawrence Thomas with some egg on his face as he faked his shot, sending Thomas off balance and chipping it past him. Can it get much better than that?

Yes it can.

Tilio arguably topped his first goal with his second. On tired legs in the 92 minute Tils was able to find himself some space on the edge of the box. Initially, many fans thought he should've shot straight away on receiving the ball, but what do we know?

Marco was able to draw in two of the Wanderers defenders, which with a quick body-feint that allowed him to open up a direct line at goal which he buried the ball into, this sent Tilio's name up in lights and gave City the win.

Marco, take a bow.

Tilio finished the night rightfully man of the match. He isn't without his critics, but when he's good, geez he's great.

Leave the pens to JMAC

Upon the first penalty awarded to City (eventually overturned by VAR) it was interesting to see Andrew Nabbout standing with the ball in hand and not penalty expert Jamie Maclaren.

Many thought perhaps this may have just been a tactic to play some mind games but no, a second penalty was awarded and unselfishly handed from Jamie Maclaren over to Andrew Nabbout.

To fans behind the goals it appeared that captain Scott Jamieson was asking for Jamie to take it as per usual, however the City number 9 was insistent this one be given to Andy, perhaps to repay all the service given to Maclaren from Andy over the years.

Unfortunately for Nabbout, kicking the ball hard enough the leather comes off it isn't enough to beat Thomas apparently, the Wanderers gloveman getting down miraculously to his right and palming it away.

Nabbout unlucky not to convert his penalty - Source: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

I genuinely don't think Nabbout could have hit it any better if he tried, but it just goes to show some people just have a knack for making finding the back of the net look easy, and Jamie is one of those guys. I know he's missed a couple pens of his own this season, however he is without doubt the man for the job when it comes to the penalty department.

At the end of the day though Jamie has scored 144 A-League Men goals, and in retrospect the game wasn't one we desperately needed to win, so it was actually quite lovely to see Jamie give Nabbout the opportunity to score one in front of the terrace.

I do wonder though if Jamie might just think twice next time though.

Admire what this group has achieved

While we've known we've been premiers for just over two weeks now, the proper realisation hit me as the players made their way around the ground with the Premier's Plate in hand.

Seeing new boys such as Lam, Richie VDV and Berisha accompanied by squad veterans in Nabbout, Maclaren, Good lead to some reflection on just how special this group is.

Over the last three seasons this group has had to overcome its fair share of adversity. Whether its been Covid lockdowns, ACL hubs in the middle of a season, injuries to star players, losing your manager unexpectedly, they've managed to not only overcome these challenges, but excel over it.

It is a testament to not only the current squad at the club, but everyone who has come through those doors whether it be player or staff member during that time.

City have claimed 153 points across the last three seasons, and whilst we may be getting used to the taste of success, just how big of an achievement going back to back to back is cannot be understated.

This group has not only excelled on the pitch, but they've raised the bench mark of what the quality of domestic football in this country can look like if its treated with the respect it deserves, and City have done just that.

Wholesome moment - Source: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

The group throughout this reign has brought to life and realised what fans knew this club could be for so long, but we never able to do for whatever reason. They've given us an identity that is rich in talent and dedication, but most important they've given us a club we can be so immensely proud of, and that we are.

Whether we can go on and achieve even more moving forward remains to be seen, but there really isn't any reason why we can't or won't. The values instilled on and off the pitch over the last three seasons have built a culture that will live within the club for years to come.

Melbourne City FC are premiers for an unprecedented third straight season, we are the bench mark of Australian football, the best thing about it all though, it feels like we're just getting started.

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