Maclaren's late winner earns City bragging rights over Western United
Jamie Maclaren struck a late winner as Melbourne City came from behind to beat Western United 2-1 in a pulsating derby encounter at AAMI Park on Saturday.
The Socceroo striker's 80th A-League goal arrived in the 84th minute after Craig Noone had earlier cancelled out Ivan Vujica's maiden strike in the competition.
The result means City maintain a perfect five from five record over United having beaten their city rivals four times last campaign.
Patrick Kisnorbo's side move into second position, level on points with Central Coast Mariners, who entertain Western Sydney Wanderers on Tuesday.
United await their first win of the campaign and play Perth Glory on January 23.
City started brightly, and Maclaren received the first opportunity of the game but snatched at Adrian Luna's ball after a terrific diagonal run from the two-time A-League Golden Boot winner.
It was United, however, who broke the deadlock. A short corner from Mark Rudan's men saw Alessandro Diamanti and Victor Sanchez combine, and the latter's floated delivery toward the back post was met with a thumping header by former Newcastle Jet Vujica.
Connor Pain was proving a real handful for the City defence from the left hand side, while Spanish debutant Iker Guarrotxena lashed a drive wide of City keeper Tom Glover's post.
But City hit back through an excellent solo goal from Noone. The Englishman rode the challenge of Sanchez and drove toward goal before shifting the ball onto his right foot and bending it past Filip Kurto for the equaliser.
A speculative effort from City's Taras Gomulka had Kurto scrambling while at the other end, Besart Berisha's header looped over the bar after Glover was caught in no-man's land.
The second stanza began with Luna shooting wide from outside the box before the classiness of United's esteemed international signings, Diamanti, Sanchez and Guarrotxena, put Rudan's side into the ascendancy.
But despite their dominance, City created the best chance of the half. Luna's switch found Noone, whose reverse pass released substitute Marco Tilio into the box, but the ex-Sydney FC youngster hit it straight at Kurto.
The arrival of Tilio and Stefan Colakovski shifted momentum back in favour of the home side, and Maclaren was denied by a fantastic save from Kurto after Luna's cutback found the Socceroos striker lurking at the near post.
But minutes later Maclaren made the difference. A wonderful defence splitting pass from Luna released Colakovski in on goal, and the youngsters cutback found Maclaren alone to side foot into an empty net.
Western United v Perth Glory
Saturday, 23 January 2021
Venue: GMHBA Stadium
Kick off: 5.05pm AEDT
Melbourne City v Central Coast Mariners
Wednesday, 3 February 2021
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick off: 7.00pm AEDT
Ways to watch
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