Saturday 23rd December 2017
Kick Off 19.50 Actual 19.57
Melbourne City 0 Melbourne Victory 1, attendance 20,727
90’ + 6 M. Milligan (pen)
@ AAMI Park
AUD $35 Admission + AUD $5.85 fees, Will Call.
Programme, free, 16 pages.
Melbourne City were formed in 2009 as Melbourne Heart, playing their first season in the A-League in the 2010/11 season. They were rebranded in 2014 following a takeover by City Football Group, who also own Manchester City.
AAMI Park was opened in 2010, and had been known as Melbourne Rectangular Stadium whilst under construction, but an 8 year deal was signed with insurance firm AAMI in March 2010, which meant it took on the sponsors name. The stadium has a capacity of 30,050 and as well as City, it also hosts the majority of Melbourne Victory matches (bigger games are at the 56,000 capacity Etihad Stadium, which I visited on 3rd November 2006, 3-3 versus Central Coast Mariners, attendance 28,118) and Melbourne Storm of the National Rugby League.
With tonight’s match being the Melbourne derby, we played safe, booking the tickets on-line, before leaving England, then collecting them at the stadium on the night. Despite the media claiming on the morning of the match that in excess of 25,000 tickets had already been sold, this was clearly not the case, unless five thousand people didn’t bother coming, despite paying for tickets.
The same Tram, No.70, which we took to the basketball at Hisense Arena last night, could be used, as it is only a couple of hundred yards further along the road for the soccer. As it was only around 25 minutes walk from the city, we took that option instead for this one.
City are managed by Warren Joyce (played for Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End, Plymouth Argyle, Burnley and Hull City) who started his managerial career as player-manager at Hull City, before moving to Royal Antwerp, then Manchester United Reserves, then a short stint at Wigan Athletic, taking charge at Melbourne in June this year. By far the best known of their players, is Ross McCormack, on loan from Aston Villa, who has been transferred for combined fees of £25 million plus, over a number of moves from Cardiff City, Leeds United and Fulham, before joining Villa. He came off the bench tonight, but his shirt number, 44, could possibly describe his waistline, as he looked well overweight.
There was a really good atmosphere for this one, with the visiting fans probably outnumbering the hosts by two to one. It looked all set to end scoreless, especially after Victory had a shot that smashed off the crossbar and bounced down just short of the goal line, but deep into stoppage time the City ‘keeper needlessly tripped a forward running away from goal, on the edge of the box, and the penalty was convincingly struck into the net at the end where the main away support were situated.