Melbourne City FC completed its tour of Abu Dhabi with a 1-1 draw and an impressive performance against Ukrainian side FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk at New York University’s Abu Dhabi Campus on Sunday night.
A strong FC Dnipro side, who are competing in the Europa League this season, opened the scoring in the 17th minute through a great headed goal from Roman Zozulya.
But second-half substitute David Williams restored parity with a deserved equaliser 15 minutes before the final whistle to secure a positive result.
In the second match of Melbourne City FC’s Abu Dhabi mid-season camp, John van’t Schip’s side held firm against a quality FC Dnipro outfit, while the return of Jason Hoffman and Massimo Murdocca from injury to match action in the second half were further positives.
The loss of Robbie Wielaert to an ankle complaint in the first half was the only concern for van’t Schip, despite his side trailing the Ukrainian Premier League side for the majority of the match and the A-League club registered an impressive display.
In Abu Dhabi on a mid-season break during the Ukrainian winter, it was FC Dnipro who struck first through Zozulya’s firm back-post header with the first meaningful chance of the match.
City enjoyed plenty of freedom down the left with Iain Ramsay and Ben Garuccio keeping their counterparts busy, but Melbourne’s first chance came from a Damien Duff cross from the right.
The former Irish international floated in a great ball for Aaron Mooy, who couldn’t angle an acrobatic volley down and on target in the 25th minute.
FC Dnipro enjoyed a spell of pressure just after the half-hour mark as Garuccio made a timely clearance from a dangerous cross, before a delightful sweeping move through the midfield saw Valeriy Luchkevych beat Andrew Redmayne with a low shot, only for his shot to richochet off the upright.
Zozulya turned the rebound goal-ward, but Redmayne recovered well to save and prevent the Ukrainian side from doubling its advantage.
Despite that chance, Melbourne City FC more than matched its opponent, looked promising going forward and maintained large spells of possession.
The second half saw van’t Schip’s side create a string of chances as Erik Paartalu nodded a corner over the bar, Williams forced ‘keeper Denys Boyko into a good save and had a goal disallowed for offside.
Arguably the move of the match nearly resulted in a sensational goal for Melbourne, with a quick ball from Mooy out to the right wing, where Williams’ first-time cross was volleyed home into the net superbly by Robi Koren in the 63rd minute.
But the goal was scratched out as Koren had strayed slightly into an offside position.
The equaliser finally came in the 75th minute through another nice move, with substitute Paulo Retre slipping Williams through on goal and the striker snuck the ball past Boyko with a neat finish.
Melbourne City FC depart for Australia on Tuesday evening and the Club’s next match is against Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday 1 February in the Hyundai A-League.
Sunday 18 January 2015
Melbourne City FC 1 (David Williams 75’)
FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1 (Roman Zozulya 17’)
New York University Abu Dhabi Campus, Abu Dhabi