Melbourne City’s winning start to the new Liberty A-League season has come to an end after suffering a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Melbourne Victory.
A hard-fought contest that went down to the wire, here are three things we learned from the first Melbourne Derby of the season:
We fought hard, but 5 minutes cost us
Our girls gave it everything despite the hot conditions but ultimately fell short.
After dominating the first half City were deservedly rewarded with the opener via an own goal by Amy Jackson on the stroke of half-time. City looked in the driver's seat, dominating the chances and looking dangerous until a five-minute spell early in the second half saw Victory score two quick goals and take the lead. Despite a flurry of chances and a red card for the Victory, City just weren’t able to equalise.
Five minutes of brilliant play by Victory combined with some sloppy defending by City was all it took for the result to go against us. City looked the equal of the reigning champions for the vast majority of the game, but a quick lapse in concentration meant we took nothing away from a decent performance.
We need to finish chances
Despite having more shots (15 to 10) and more possession (59% to 41%) than our opponents, City were only able to get on the scoresheet thanks to a terrible error by Victory’s Amy Jackson, who headed past her own keeper in first-half stoppage-time.
Chances were missed, often quite poorly, and opportunities to level the game at the death were wasted.
Despite a decent start to her time in a City shirt across the first two games for star striker Hannah Wilkinson, she has so far failed to hit the back of the net, despite coming extremely close quite a number of times.
Whether this is a cause for greater concern remains to be seen, but Rado’s girls will certainly be wanting some extra work on finishing at training this week.
Victory are still the benchmark
One of the signs of a champion team is being able to get results even when playing badly.
Victory were second best for much of yesterday’s contest and were perhaps quite lucky to only find themselves a goal down at the break.
Despite mistakes and untidy play, a quick five-minute spell early in the second half which saw them score two goals and take the lead showcased just why they are the reigning champions. The skill and creativity of Alex Chidiac in midfield was the defining factor that saw them take their chances and get the win.
After the rough season endured by City fans last year, this season’s first two games have shown that the girls are improved and have a steel and determination that they lacked last season, but there is still a lot of work to be done to get to the point of competing for the title again.