It was quite a one-sided affair at AAMI Park on Tuesday night, as Melbourne City saw plenty of chances at goal but only managed a narrow 1-0 win over Perth Glory.
City controlled the ball for much of the game and subjected the Glory defence to a barrage of attacking opportunities which were mostly turned away.
In the end, it was Emina Ekic who placed a penalty precisely into the bottom left-hand corner, putting the home side up by a goal and eventually giving them the win.
City controlled the ball well for the duration of the contest, holding 72 per cent of the possession and putting plenty of pressure on the opposition. They didn’t see as many attacking chances in the early stages but settled in as the game went on.
Leticia McKenna had the best chance in what was a quiet first half, completing an impressive solo run, but sending it wide at the near post.
The lack of opportunities forced Dario Vidošić to make a double substitution, bringing on Rhianna Pollicina and Julia Grosso at halftime.
The tactical change opened up a plethora of chances for Melbourne and proved to be a game-changing decision as the aforementioned Pollicina had her run cut off by Perth defender Kim Carroll, giving a penalty away that ended up sealing the victory.
City defender Kaitlyn Torpey also had a couple of huge chances denied, which would have increased the lead. One was cleared off the line by Ella Mastrantonio, while the other was punched into the post and out by Perth goalkeeper Sarah Langman.
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The Glory didn’t go without a couple of huge chances to tie up the game though.
The first saw Cyera Hintzen cut inside, waltzing past the goalkeeper but failing to send a shot away as City defender Naomi Chinnama slid in to clear the ball away.
The second gave them a chance at a late equaliser, with Demi Koulizakis getting in behind for a clear opportunity at goal before firing it straight over the crossbar.
With this win, Melbourne City holds firm at the top of the table, with Sydney FC, Western United, and Adelaide United all having games in hand to try and curtail the goal-difference advantage that City has managed to gain.
Melbourne City will have a well-deserved break over the New Years’ period, before returning to face the winless Western Sydney Wanderers in an attempt to further increase their goal difference.
Meanwhile, for the Glory, this loss sees them remain in eighth place on just one win, which is far from where they would have wanted to be heading into the new year. With a mixed bag of fixtures coming up in the next couple of weeks, Perth will need to sneak a couple of victories to regain some momentum and keep in touch with those vying for a spot in the finals.
Melbourne City will travel to Wanderers Football Park on January 6 to take on Western Sydney, while the Glory will aim to bounce back on New Year’s Day as they head back to Perth and host Western United at Macedonia Park.
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