02/03/2024

Marco Tilio celebrates his goal against Perth Glory. (Photo: Melbourne City)

A game largely dominated by Melbourne City at AAMI Park against cellar dwellers Perth Glory resulted as many expected it would, with the reigning premiers running out 4-0 winners.

With a convincing score line and a convincing victory in the end, City was in full control for the full 90 minutes, although the score read 0-0 at the half time break.

They had nine shots in the first 45 to Perth’s zero, but just couldn’t quite find the back of the net. It was Mathew Leckie coming closest on a couple of occasions, but alas the deadlock could not be broken.

Some credit should be afforded to the Glory’s central defence pairing Darryl Lachman and Jacob Beevers, who stood tall after countless attacks were thrown at them.

However, City’s hard work was rewarded as things unfolded in the second half. In very timely fashion given the upcoming World Cup squad selection announcement on Tuesday, the result was steered home by City’s three Socceroos players, all eager for a seat on the plane to Qatar.

Early in the second half, a strong driving run into the box from Marco Tilio set up a sixth Jamie Maclaren goal of the season, continuing his run of scoring in every match so far this campaign.

As he so often does, Maclaren buried the ball into the back of the net from close range, sending a healthy sized crowd at AAMI Park into a well overdue frenzy.

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As the clock ticked past the hour mark, Perth was still without a single shot. It was in the 67th minute that Tunisian Selim Khelifi made an attempt from close range which fell off-line. This would be the Glory’s only shot for the match.

Soon after, frustrations continued for the Perth defence, with VAR awarding City a penalty kick for a Mitchell Oxborrow handball, after he had only been subbed on three minutes prior.

The penalty was calmly put away by Jamie Maclaren for his seventh goal of the season, building something really special as he firms his claims for a fourth consecutive golden boot.

City were flying, but a seemingly innocuous incident turned alarming very quickly, as star import Nuno Reis was floored and looked to be unconscious for a fair amount of time. He was promptly stretchered off and assessed for damage.

Post-match, Melbourne City manager Patrick Kisnorbo said that Reis was “feeling well” and in “good spirits” in the change rooms after the game. The hope is that he will be okay to play next week and has avoided any serious damage to his head, but the incident was still very distressing to watch.

The City players didn’t seem to be faltered by the incident though, as captain Scott Jamieson replaced the injured Reis, and Marco Tilio added a goal to his already impressive performance.

It was a stunning goal driven hard and low to the near-post from just outside of the box. It feels a lifetime ago when he was controversially given just a couple of minutes off the bench earlier in the season.

He’s had three consecutive starts and three goal involvements in that time, putting his best foot forward for international selection.

The game was rounded out with a Leckie goal, cleanly put away from close range after the ball bounced off the post from a Richard van der Venne shot – who also impressed on his City debut.

Another very strong performance from the reigning premiers; their fourth win from five games to start off the season, but the spotlight now falls onto the front three as their World Cup fate looms on Tuesday.

Melbourne City will play their last game before the World Cup break on Saturday, November 12 against the Newcastle Jets.

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