Pollicina goal defeats Adelaide United

Melbourne City 1-0 Adelaide United

By Jonathan Tay (29/1/23)

Above: Rhianna Pollicina celebrates after scoring Melbourne City’s winner. Photo: Keep Up.

Melbourne City completed the double over an out-of-sorts Adelaide United at AAMI Park, easing to a 1-0 win on Sunday. Rhianna Pollicina’s 55th-minute tally proved the difference in a match that was far more one-sided than the final scoreline suggested. 

Adelaide were coming off of a dismal run of just one point over their last five games, which included their 3-0 loss to Melbourne City in the reverse fixture of this match. They were desperate to keep within touching distance of finals places, having fallen five points behind fourth-place Melbourne Victory. 

City meanwhile stuck with the same 3-4-3 formation as in their controlled win against Western Sydney last week – Leticia McKenna coming in as one of the two central midfield pivots, in place of the injured Karly Roestbakken. 

Above: Leticia McKenna (left) looks to close down Adelaide United’s Nanako Sasaki. Photo: Adelaide United.

The home side dominated the majority of possession and were particularly dangerous in transition, forward Bryleeh Henry often a speedy outlet in wide areas. McKenna also impressed throughout the game with her creativity and composure. The Western Australian set up Kaitlyn Torpey for an early chance with an accurate floated cross, which was sliced off-target.

Adelaide’s Chelsie Dawber countered with a 13th-minute strike straight into City keeper Sally James’ arms, before Melbourne left wingback Julia Grosso came closest to a first-half opener; her curled right-footed shot hitting the crossbar, before Rhianna Pollicina hammered a subsequent effort right at keeper Annalee Grove.

Those same two players combined for City’s deserved goal early in the second half; Grosso slipping a pass through to Pollicina inside the 18-yard box, with the attacking midfielder able to turn and fire home via a deflection for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.

Above: Hannah Wilkinson joins Rhianna Pollicina’s celebrations. Photo: Melbourne City.

City were able to test Grove more frequently, with Pollicina twice and striker Hannah Wilkinson forcing the Reds’ keeper into action. Adelaide on the other hand were left to live off scraps, with Dawber and her misfiring fellow forward Fiona Worts cutting frustrated figures all evening long. 

City looked far more likely to score a second than Adelaide to equalise, and Grosso, Wilkinson and substitute Caitlin Karic all had fantastic opportunities where they should have done better to deliver a more comfortable scoreline for the Melbournians.

Nevertheless, City saw out the remainder of the match with little resistance, keeping up the pressure on A-League ladder-leaders Western United. For Adelaide, time to find answers to their loss of form is beginning to run out, as a clearer divide begins to take shape between the top four and the rest of the competition.

Teams: MELBOURNE CITY (3-4-3): James, Chinnama, Checker, Bowen; Torpey, McKenna, Davidson, Grosso; Pollicina, Henry, Wilkinson. Substitutes: Hrehoresin (GK), Blissett, Galic, Malone, Karic.

Scorer: Pollicina 55’.

ADELAIDE UNITED (4-3-3): Grove, I. Hodgson, McCormick, Waldus, Hayward; Sasaki, Barbieri, Holmes; Dawber, Murray Worts. Substitutes: Wilson (GK), E. Hodgson; Westland, Bowler, Coorey.

Referee: Lara Lee.

Attendance: 595.

Artwork: Charlotte Stacey, founder of On Her Side.

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