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No shots fired: Corica stares down sack after another disaster as Sydney FC hand Vidmar dream start

3rd November, 2023
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3rd November, 2023
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The Aurelio Vidmar era at Melbourne City has started with a 2-0 win over Sydney FC thanks to goals from Steven Ugarkovic and Jamie Maclaren.

City dispensed with Rado Vidosic this week following their 6-0 thrashing at Adelaide United and saw an instant reaction with a committed, controlled performance – aided by a Sydney FC side that offered very little indeed.

The result edges Steve Corica deeper into the mire following another meek performance from the Sky Blues.

This is now their worst ever start to an A-League season, they are yet to score in more than 270 minutes of football and didn’t muster a single shot on target at AAMI Park.

Corica has plenty of credit in the bank with Sydney fans after their Australia Cup triumph, but the lack of adventure and defensive organisation on display in the three games so far is threatening to any coach. 

“Definitely we’re not the same team that won the Cup,” he said. “So it’s something we need to obviously look at and we’ve never had a start like this. 

“In the Cup, we were playing some great football, we were defending really well and we’re missing a bit of everything at the moment.

“Everyone’s got to take responsibility, I have to take it as well. It’s my responsibility. But the players need to obviously take responsibility as well. 

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“They’re silly mistakes, some of them, the goals that we’ve been conceding. But you need to stop the rot really. And it has to stop this week.”

His side conceded within 60 seconds of the start of a half for the second week running and, despite multiple changes to the line-up, showed little to suggest that a major improvement is coming soon.

City’s issues were predominantly at the back, having conceded eight in two games, while Sydney’s were up top, and they travelled south having not scored at all this season. 

It was hardly the immovable object and the unstoppable force, but something was going to have to give. Pat Wood was given preference over new signing Fabio Gomes, but when his chance came in the opening stages via a Joe Lolley cross, he was on his heels.

English winger Lolley was the most threatening player in the opening half hour, though it was hardly a crowded field. He had four of Sydney’s five first half efforts, but failed to trouble the keeper with any of them.

City were attempting to play a possession game, but found themselves largely playing in front of the opposing defence with little penetration.

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Eventually, they found some through winger Marin Jakolis, who began to find himself left alone – inexplicably so – by right back Rhyan Grant. 

His runs from deep often threatened but lacked end product, but did enough to force the defence into retreat that, when the opener finally came, he could claim at least a little of the credit.

Sydney were camped on the edge of their own box late in the half as City found some thrust, and after several potshots that flew wide earlier in the half, Ugarkovic finally found his range from the edge of the D to beat Andrew Redmayne in the goal. By the break, it was no more than the hosts deserved.

It got better yet. Jakolis broke free within seconds of the restart, crossing for Maclaren to break a five game scoreless streak and increase the size of the task facing Corica’s men. 

Questions, again, could be asked of Grant, who charged at the ball and left his man to run free behind.

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Corica had soon seen enough. He rang the changes throughout the half, but his side failed to generate any sustained pressure and of the subs, only Jaiden Kucharski looked likely to create something meaningful.

As City sat on the lead Gomes was able to get on the end of some crosses, but failed to find the target and, by the end, City keeper Jamie Young was still to face a shot on goal.

The City fans ended the game by suggesting Corica’s time might be up tomorrow. That won’t happen, but with a trip to table-topping Adelaide next week before the derby with Western Sydney before the month is out, things need to improve, and fast.

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