Melbourne City 3-2 Western United: Hosts hold on despite late collapse

Omnisport
A pair of Jamie Maclaren goals had Melbourne City cruising until two penalties in a frantic spell almost rescued a point for Western United.
A pair of Jamie Maclaren goals had Melbourne City cruising until two penalties in a frantic spell almost rescued a point for Western United.

Ten-man Melbourne City held on to defeat Western United 3-2 in the A-League at AAMI Park on Friday, surviving a tense finish after conceding two penalties in quick succession.

It was one-way traffic in City's favour in the first half, with the opener coming after just five minutes as Jamie Maclaren stabbed in on the line after Jonathan Aspropotamitis had deflected Florin Berenguer's shot onto the post amid appeals for handball.

A lovely Craig Noone delivery then found Adrian Luna, who volleyed in nine minutes before half-time, and it was three before the break as Filip Kurto charged from his goal and comically missed the ball, gifting Maclaren his second.

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But a similarly rash decision from the goalkeeper at the other end kept United in the hunt, Dean Bouzanis bringing down Joshua Cavallo and unable to stop Besart Berisha from the spot after 75 minutes.

And the visitors had another penalty just a minute after the restart as Harrison Delbridge blocked Dylan Pierias' pass with his arm.

The referee consulted the pitch-side monitors following a VAR review and sent Delbridge off, before Alessandro Diamanti scored from 12 yards, but City preserved the points.

The home side had confirmed the match would go ahead just over an hour before kick-off, having monitored the air quality at the stadium, with bushfires raging across Australia, including in Victoria.

The players wore black armbands and observed a minute's applause, while the clubs donated money to the disaster appeal.

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