Home side Melbourne City held Perth Glory to one shot in their 4-0 win, showing complete dominance and continuing their expected winning ways.
In a game that played out exactly how the script was written, most of the game was dominated by light blue and white jerseys with extremely high press and final-third superiority.
Melbourne City did start the game below their usual selves, allowing Perth to form attacks in many moments and giving away a few unnecessary fouls.
Perth’s greatest chance came in the form of a free kick, but an overall poor set-piece handed City the ball and control of the remainder of the game.
Perth youngster Joseph Forde gave away an unnecessary foul in a dangerous area. He received a yellow card in the process and gave Melbourne City an opportunity to draw first blood. Van der Venne’s inswinger allowed Maclaren to flick the ball toward the goal. However, it was directed straight into Liam Reddy’s arms.
Reddy’s miss-kick toward Marco Tilio, who was only 30 meters from the goal, in the 16th minute gave the home side an excellent chance to create a goal-scoring threat. Unfortunately, the potential World Cup debutant could not control the ball under his feet and was closed down quickly.
Tilio made up for the sloppy play by placing a pinpoint ball to the back stick for teammate Mathew Leckie to run onto but came mere centimetres away from contact toward an open goal.
A well-orchestrated counter-attack from Melbourne City, seeing Tilio, Bos, and Leckie link up, resulted in the latter straying a low shot wide of the post. While in the play directly after, Tilio won the ball off a high press on Zach Duncan but couldn’t find target man Jamie Maclaren to finish the play.
Coach Ruben Zadkovich quickly addressed Perth’s lack of goalscoring opportunities at half-time, introducing Luke Ivanovic and former City forward Stefan Colakovski.
But Jamie Maclaren repeated his week-in, week-out antics, scoring another poachers speciality within five minutes of the second half. An incisive Marco Tilio run ended with the young winger delicately directing the ball towards the oncoming Maclaren, who smashed it home for a long-awaiting lead.
Everyone was getting their opportunity at goal, with Callum Talbot forcing a spectacular diving save from Reddy in the 70th minute before drawing a foul on the edge of the 18-yard line seconds after.
The free-kick was initially wasted as Maclaren’s attempt struck the heart of the wall. But, a handball by fresh substitute Mitch Oxborrow forced a VAR check to confirm a penalty. Maclaren buried his second goal of the game from the spot, cannonballing the ball into the bottom left, giving veteran Reddy no chance of saving.
As Perth finally initiated a high press after the restart, Glover’s clearance piledrove into Nuno Reis’ mouth, causing immediate bleeding. In his first game back, a stretcher was called for Reis, resulting in another potential week on the sidelines.
Marco Tilio extended City’s lead to three from range. Cutting in from the left-hand side, Tilio’s shot nutmegged Lachman and wrong-footed Reddy to beat the goalkeeper for the third time.
Mathew Leckie would complete another 4-0 drubbing this weekend, tucking away van der Venne’s shot deflected off the post.
City’s defence back to its best… for one week
Melbourne City continued their expected fine form. Their weekly improvement in defence was again strengthened with Nuno Reis joining the squad for the first time this season.
His presence and partnership with Curtis Good, arguably the best in the league, may as well have been a brick wall. The duo held Perth to a total of one shot and single-digit touches inside the penalty area.
But in true comedic fashion, one of Tom Glover’s clearances connected rather generously with Nuno Reis’ mouth, drawing blood at contact. Referee Jack Morgan immediately called medical staff onto the field.
The centre-back was stretchered off, leaving question marks for an appearance next week before the month-long break.
Socceroo’s trio unstoppable
After this afternoon’s performance, three of Melbourne City forwards look likely to be included in Graham Arnold’s 26-man FIFA World Cup squad after all etching their name on the scoresheet and clearing out the 3-2-1 Alex Tobin Medal vote.
Jamie Maclaren has now scored seven goals in five games for City this season, leaving him on track to achieve a whopping 36 goals by the end of the season. A-League clubs will want to learn to stop him sooner rather than later if they want any chance at giving City a good run.
Mathew Leckie’s excellent performance was capped off with a goal in injury time. The winger won the most duels (10) out of any player on the field, had the most shots (5), and was fouled the most (5).
Marco Tilio also impressed, scoring one, assisting one, and being involved in many attacks before being substituted for precautionary reasons.
Perth struggling throughout all faucets
Perth Glory’s start to the season was condensed in a nutshell against City. A severe lack of attacking quality and a second-half defensive capitulation capped off one of the worst performances from a team this season.
Their most potent attacking character, Bruno Fornaroli, left for Melbourne Victory last week due to contractual issues. And the defensive confidence is notably dwindling from game to game.
Glory may need a more than a couple seasons to return to a finals-quality side.
Melbourne City 4 (Maclaren 49′, 75′, Tilio 82′, Leckie 90+6′)
Perth Glory 0