The Western Sydney Wanderers won a comprehensive 3-0 victory over an inspid Melbourne City tonight at the Homebush Olympic Stadium.
It was a cold and blustery night at Homebush for the visit of Melbourne City. The game began with both teams trying to establish their midfield, the first major chance of the night coming in the 8th minute as City worked the ball wide for a cross that deflected into the 6 yard box, Brendan Hamill beating Florin Berenguer to knock the ball for a corner. Shortly after Shayon Harrison blasted a 20 yard left footed strike that Vedran Janjetovic turned away with a one handed save.
Roly Bonevacia responded in the 11th minute for the Wanderers. Mitch Duke ran into the right channel, launched it back across into the penalty area, a flick on from Oriol Riera presented a chance for Bonevacia but he blazed over. Rashid Mahazi had a shot from a long way out in the 17th minute that was powerful but well wide.
Kwame Yeboah had his first impact from a well worked Wanderers corner. Bonevacia laid the ball in along the by-line for Riera, his deft touch turned the ball backwards into the path of Yeboah who fired a fierce shot that looked like it was heading for the back of the net if not for a deflection from a City defender.
The Wanderers headed to the penalty spot just after the half-hour mark. Yeboah tip-toed into the penalty area before having his feet kicked out from under him by Rostyn Griffiths, it was quickly cleared by VAR and up stepped Oriol Riera to take the shot. Despite Western Sydney's previous woes from the spot, Riera sent Galekovic the wrong way with a perfect penalty into the bottom corner for a 1-0 lead to the home side. The rest of the half was a scrappy back and forth affair, both sides copping yellow cards for strong challenges in the midfield.
Only a couple of minutes into the second half Ritchie De Laet should have equalised for Melbourne City. An aimless ball into the middle managed to get past the entire Wanderers defence and fell to the fullback, he ran onto the ball and struck it well only to skim the edge of the far post.
Against the run of play the Wanderers doubled their lead. Half-time substitute Abraham Majok and Raul Llorente combined down the left flank, playing a pair of neat passes that gave Llorente open pasture, he summed up the situation and fizzed a low pass across the top of the City penalty area that found Mitch Duke in acres of space after taking advantage of a good Riera run to draw away the City defence. Duke gently placed the ball with a side foot volley that Galekovic had no chance of stopping.
With 10 minutes to play the two sides got into a bit of a melee after Raul Llorente cut down a City attacker as they refused to kick the ball out with Yeboah down hurt on the pitch. It didn't progress past the stage of push & shove and verbal confrontations, Mahazi joining Llorente in the referees notebook. The Wanderers closed out the game strongly, with several chances coming after through late sub Alexander Baumjohann although with the A-League's 5000th goal just begging to be scored the Wanderers had to settle for just a 3-0 win.
8 points adrift of Adelaide in 6th place, the win keeps the faint hopes of a finals position alive heading into the last handful of matches of the regular season. Western Sydney play Newcastle Jets in Newcastle on Saturday April 6th, in a clash that could determine the finals hopes of both sides.