Western United have clinched their first major scalp of the new campaign, with a first half goal from Dylan Wenzel-Halls firing the Green and Black to a 1-0 victory.
Both sides were afforded non-threatening chances in the opening phases of the contest, with Jamie Maclaren and Dylan Wenzel-Halls both effective in peppering the goal, rendering it a cagey affair.
Eyebrows were raised and the floodgates opened in the 20th minute, as a misplaced header by Curtis Good found the feet of Diamanti, who threaded a beautifully weighted through ball to Wenzel Halls, who finished calmly and with aplomb into the bottom left corner.
The Green and Black nearly had a second, with Lachie Wales latching onto a loose ball to fire it into the bottom right yet it was called off for a handball within the build up. Yet the final instance of play within the first half involved a floated Nabbout cross finding the head of Jamie Maclaren with Jamie Young kicking the ball away with force, denying City an opener.
The second half commenced with City looking more confident within the attacking regions, with Leckie getting in behind on the wing, laying it to Metcalfe who himself passed it to Aiden O’Neill who lashing at it, hitting the left post.
Nabbout followed suit with his second outside of the boot effort within the contest, forcing Jamie Young to punch it over the bar. City were ominous, with an equaliser coming.
Yet following a barrage of City attacking forays in which they were unfortunate not to score, including another masterful save from Jamie Young, Western United began to soak up the play.
The Green and Black closed out the fixture without heavy hiccups, gaining their second ever Victory against Melbourne City in their history.
WENZEL HALLS SZN
From the talent-filled NPL Queensland to the bright lights of Suncorp Stadium, Dylan Wenzel-Halls performed incredibly well whilst being afforded a golden starting opportunity in the absence of Prijović who was out with hamstring soreness.
Tremendous hold up play, eager while in possession and effective at trickling through a shaky City defence, Wenzel- Halls has found a system in which he can thrive under Aloisi.
Back into goalscoring form after he nabbed a tap-in last week against the Glory, Aloisi may have some selection headaches in the coming weeks with Prijović likely to reintegrate himself into the XI.
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS FOR CITY?
Melbourne City could be on the cusp of an intriguing under the stewardship of Patrick Kisnorbo, with the Champions yet to truly dominate an A-League team this season.
Within the first half, at times there was a lack of continuity between defence and attack and a failure to break the lines to afford Maclaren opportunities.
A dominant second half and a lack of distinct opportunities left City seething
Sentiments of the 2-2 draw at Hindmarsh last week may have come to the fore, with the mid-week FFA Cup Clash against NPL Victoria side Hume City only proving to be a 1-0 victory.
However, as demonstrated last season City only won two out of their first six contests, later going on a memorable winning streak which secured a top of the table finish.
Growing pains? Legitimate concerns? A massive Christmas derby looms large on the 18th of December.
WHO IS THE DOMINANT MELBOURNE SIDE?
With Western United’s victory over City and Victory firing their way to two consecutive wins in their first two games in a season for the first time since 2006/07 there is genuine scope for all three Melbourne sides to make finals for the first time in history.
Aloisi’s reintegration into coaching has led to impressive football being on display with three wins from his first four in charge while Tony Popović may have Victory fans dreaming once more.
Kisnorbo’s City cannot be counted out despite one win from their first three, with the side oozing of attacking options leading many pundits to tip them for the Championship.
A-League Men Round Three, AAMI Park
Melbourne City 0
Western United 1 (Wenzel-Halls 22m)
HOW DID THE MANAGERS REACT?
Melbourne City: Patrick Kisnorbo
“You’re not always perfect and that is reality… we need to improve on a couple things”
“Sometimes you start well and sometimes you don’t, and in the first half we didn’t”
Western United: John Aloisi
“I thought that we created some good openings… it was a very good performance”
“The players that are starting are doing well… we know we’ll get better as the season goes on. We haven’t conceded in open play in the four games we’ve played”
Image Source: Western United