Logarzo brace and Beall heroics end City’s undefeated run

Melbourne City 1-3 Western United

By Kieran Yap (16/12/22)

Above: Chloe Logazro celebrates with her teammates after scoring. Photo: @wufcoffocial twitter

A second-half brace from Chloe Logarzo has sent Western United to the top of the A-League Women’s table.

The meeting between the two top sides was one of the most anticipated matches of the round. Perfect conditions awaited the players at AAMI Park, where Melbourne City faced their toughest opponent so far.

Western United and Melbourne City both had perfect records coming into this match. City had scored more goals and surged to title contention after some thrilling displays. Their attacking talent has been impressive in form and depth. Their defence has been versatile and well-drilled.

Western United have been the surprise packet of the season to anybody who did not watch the Victorian NPLW. This was a team that arrived in the W-League more ready than any other new side in history.

The Victorian players gave them the core to compete with anybody.  Additions of overseas stars like Sydney Cummings, Jess McDonald, and Hillary Beall gave them the edge to beat the best.

Above: Hannah Keane, one of Western United’s impressive signings ahead of their first-ever season in the competition. Photo: West Australian.

The biggest name to sign for the club was Matildas’ star Chloe Logarzo. So far this season, manager Mark Torcaso has used the gun midfielder sparingly. She has often been brought into games in the second half, as she returns from a long-term knee injury.

She has steadily improved with each game, but against City, it became official. Logarzo is back.

It was a game of contrasting styles. City are set up to possess the ball, Western United were determined to press. In the second minute, that early effort paid off. Sally James’ pass was intercepted, and Adriana Taranto unleashed a low drive from outside the area to open the scoring.

If City were stunned by conceding, they didn’t show it. Their attacking trio got themselves quickly into the game with Maria Rojas causing problems for the United defence, and Bryleeh Henry coming close to levelling the scores.

Western United were bravely playing a high defensive line. Given the pace of Emina Ekic and Henry on either flank, it was a risky strategy. But the compressed space in midfield helped keep the skills of Rhianna Pollicina and Daniella Galic in check.

Above: Action from today’s game at AAMI Park. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Stock Images.

Dario Vidosic’s side did equalise before halftime, and it was a brilliant individual goal from Ekic.

The ball fell to the American attacker on the left of the attack, and she twisted to find space and shoot despite the attention of three defenders.

McDonald tried to restore the lead for United, but James stopped her shot from the improbable angle.

The second half was no less action-packed, and Rojas almost scored in the opening stages. A long ball from midfield put her into space behind Cummings. Her lofted shot was stunning in its execution and only luck prevented it from going in. There was a sigh of relief in the Western Core supporter group as it bounced off the crossbar.

Rojas continued to torment the United defence, and eventually earned them a penalty. Her low cross was judged to have been stopped by a handball from Tyla Jay Vlajnic.

Pollicina stepped up to take the shot, and put her side ahead, but Beall dived low to her right to make a spectacular save. It was the turning point of the match.

Eyebrows were raised when Mark Torcaso subbed off striker Hannah Keane. She had enjoyed few scoring chances, but her pace up front and pressing was valuable. However, onto the pitch stepped Logazro, and she looked determined to impact the game.

Logarzo’s first goal was the type she is famous for. She picked up the ball and ran at the City defence. She attempted to play the ball wide, but it bounced back to her. In vintage style, she struck a shot from 20 yards that flew past Sally James and thrilled the crowd.

Both Logarzo and McDonald threw themselves into defensive duties. The star recruits could be seen clearing the ball or crowing the City attack as the clock ticked down.

Although City had most of the possession, the game felt like it was on Western United’s terms. Vidosic’s side created scoring chances, but Beall was equal to anything that was on target.

Cummings and Alana Cerne were excellent in making sure any City strikes had to be earned. United were defending deeper than they were in the first half but did not buckle under the pressure.

In the final moments, Western United iced the contest. McDonald earned an injury-time penalty kick after Julia Grosso handled, and Logazro calmly slotted it past James to put an exclamation point on the victory.

Above: Chloe Logarzo hits her second and Western United’s third from the spot in their famous win. Photo: West Australian.

Logazro is back, Western United sit atop of the table. Most frightening is that they are still improving.

Squads: MELBOURNE CITY (4-3-3): James, Torpey, Chinnama, Bowen, Grosso, Pollicina, Davidson, Galic, Henry, Rojas, Ekic. Substitutes: Blissett, McKenna, Karic, Accardo, Barbieri (GK)

Scorers: Ekic 28’.

WESTERN UNITED (4-3-3): Beall, Vlajnic, Cummings, Cerne, Iermano, Robers, M. Taranto, A. Taranto, McDonald, Keane, Medwin. Substitutes: Dall’Oste (GK), Logarzo, Johnson, Dakic, Sardo.

Scorers:  Taranto 2’. Logarzo 64’, 90+6’ (pen).

Referee: Kate Jacewicz.

Attendance: 5,392.

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