A red card to Keanu Baccus set the scene for Melbourne City to claim a very late 4-3 winner against the Wanderers tonight.
With Kwame Yeboah out through injury, and Oriol Riera only fit enough to make the bench, it was Abraham Majok who lead the line for the Wanderers, but the opening stages of the game it was the defence making the headlines.
Just 30 seconds into the match Keanu Baccus made a horrible mess out of what should have been a simple gaining of possession. After he & Tarek Elrich failed to bring the ball down, Riley McGree came in on the blind side of the young midfielder, Baccus reached for a back pass to Nick Suman, only for the horribly weighted ball to end up in the path of Ritchie De Laet who stepped around the stranded Suman to finish into an empty net.
The Wanderers equalised on the half-hour mark through Roly Bonevacia. He stepped up to the penalty spot when Curtis Good knocked Jaushua Sotirio to the ground, a very soft but ultimately technically fine decision, and one that was upheld by the VAR. Bonevacia's stutter step run-up caused Eugene Galekovic to make his move too early, and Roly fired it into the netting on the opposite side.
Parity did not last for very long. 6 minutes before half-time Luke Brattan launched an extra-ordinary blast, after nutmegging Nick Fitzgerald, Brattan took a single touch then fired rocket into the top corner.
After having an average first half in defence, Tass Mourdoukoutas stepped up on the attack to bring the Wanderers back level. O'Doherty picked up the ball wide on the edge of the penalty area, and with the City penalty area packed after the preceding corner, O'Doherty whipped a cross to the back stick, that Mourdoukoutas rose highest for and headed home for his first A-League goal.
Western Sydney had an incredible 3-2 lead in the 54th minute. Roly Bonevacia found Jaushua Sotirio on the edge of the area in an acre of space, the flying winger lined up a strike, curling the ball into the top corner giving Galekovic no chance.
Keanu Baccus put his side's position in real doubt with a moment of madness, after a midfield battle for a bouncing ball, Baccus forlornly chased through to the City defence, then hammered his opponent with a silly lunge. The official had no hesitation to produce a yellow card, and after being booked earlier in the game in a melee following the Sotirio goal, he was given the inevitable red card.
Melbourne City went in search of an equaliser of their own, and had a golden chance when Lachlan Wales was played in on goal. With a shot on goal seemingly a certain thing, Mourdoukoutas added a goal saving tackle to his goal scoring feat, cleanly cutting the ball out from the feet of Wales for a corner. City found their 3rd goal in the 86th minute, De Laet picking up a brace when he picked up the ball on the edge of the area, and managed to squeeze out an angle to shoot through Mourdoukoutas, and shot past Suman at the far post.
With the game drawing to a close, a siege of the Wanderers penalty area began as City sought out a seemingly inevitable winner, and inevitable it was. The abysmal set piece defending of the Wanderers once again failing at the worst moment. Winning a corner, City launched it into the penalty area in the 94th minute, Bart Schenkeveld was left completely unmarked and he rose and scored the winner with an unerring header.
Another game, another failure to see out a win. Baccus has once again put his side under immense pressure with idiotic red cards, and despite scoring one stunning goal, Sotirio butchered two more chances after being put through one on one with the keeper. Babbel has yet to correct the ongoing failure of the team to defend set pieces. With two days rest they will face Brisbane Roar and could drop to 9th if they lose.
The Wanderers face Brisbane Roar in Brisbane on Friday the 25th.