Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Wanderers win first game at home this season after Nikita Rukavytsya’s late goal downs City

AARON Mooy nearly came back to haunt his former club, but a 90th minute strike from Nikita Rukavytsya earned the Wanderers just their second win of the season.

It was a moment to savour for Western Sydney’s new recruit, who had missed a glorious chance to put his side ahead just moments before.

But his goal, which followed Tomi Juric’s 78th minute penalty, earned the Wanderers a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Melbourne City.

After a forgettable first half, the second 45 minutes was packed with drama, including a straight red card for Connor Chapman. The City player may be in strife after he was sent off for manhandling the referee.

The match was delayed by an hour due to an electrical storm over Parramatta.

There was an hour rain delay to start, which cut down precious time between kick-off’s for the Wanderers. Tomorrow night they take on Melbourne Victory at the same venue — an absurd 45 hours after the full time whistle sounded against City.

With that in mind, Tony Popovic had little choice but to make drastic changes to his team that played against Brisbane Roar on Sunday, including throwing on Sydney Olympic junior Jonathan Aspropotamitis for his debut in place of Matthew Spiranovic.

Ante Covic also made way for Dean Bouzanis — the first time in the club’s history the veteran goalkeeper didn’t appear in goals for a home game.

Erik Paartalu congratulates Safuwan Baharudin on his opening goal for Melbourne City.

Mooy returned to his old stomping ground for the first time since joining City, and on the same day he was named in Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos squad. If the midfielder had a point to prove, he didn’t waste much time making it. He whipped in a dangerous free-kick early in the first half that came within inches of resulting in the opening goal after Patrick Kisnorbo’s header skimmed the underside of the cross bar, before ricocheting to safety.

Mooy’s next cross into the box was of an even higher quality. Again Kisnorbo met it, but his effort was cleared off the line by Yojiro Takahagi, before Safuwan Baharudin headed home in the 27th minute.

Nikita Rukavytsya flies through the air after his winner as Tomi Juric trails after him.

There was barely an acknowledgment from the Wanderers faithful who braved the rain and delayed start to cheer on their team.

Fortunately, they were given something to cheer 10 minutes later, when Mateo Poljak scored his first goal of the season after some good lead up work by Juric.

It was 1-1 at the break, but the Wanderers returned with renewed energy in the second half. The home side dominated, and Juric had two good chances to put his team in front — the first with a well-worked free kick and the second which he should have buried, only to see his effort well saved by Tando Velaphi.

Nikita Rukavytsya celebrates in front of the RBB faithful in what has been a difficult A-League season.

The Wanderers were made to pay just moments later, when Mooy’s curling free-kick evaded everyone and found the back of the net. As beautifully struck as it was, Bouzanis will look at the replay and think he may have done better to stop it. Fortunately it didn’t prove decisive.

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