Wanderers, City draw in A-League Men

Western Sydney boss Marko Rudan praised his side’s grit after they became the first Isuzu UTE A-League side to keep Melbourne City’s Jamie Maclaren scoreless this season.

The Wanderers ground their way to a 1-1 draw at CommBank Stadium on Sunday, with Maclaren failing to find the net after scoring in a record 10 straight Isuzu UTE A-League games to start the year.

City were frustrated by the Wanderers, who grabbed the game’s opening goal through Brandon Borrello in the 15th minute, as the home side sat deep and looked to counter in sapping conditions.

The visitors had 30 shots to the Wanderers’ two with midfielder Richard van der Venne scoring their goal before the hour mark, earning City a draw and opening up a four-point lead at the top of the table.

“It’s a fantastic point, we fought right until the end and that was all part of the plan,” said Rudan.

We played to our strengths, we kept Maclaren to zero for the first time and we stopped all the supply into him.

“He didn’t really get a sniff apart from at corners.”

Perhaps the bigger challenge for Rudan’s side, who hold onto third spot, will be next Sunday’s trip to Newcastle.

The Wanderers have struggled to perform in games against teams below them on the table this season, but against City they showed they could make life difficult for anyone in the competition.

“We’re still building,” said Rudan, who hoped Milos Ninkovic and Kusini Yengi would be able to feature against the Jets next week.

“That (game with the Jets) is going to be the real test. I didn’t see that (attitude) last week but that’s our challenge (to maintain it).”

After withstanding an early City onslaught the Wanderers broke up the field through Ruon Tongyik.

Playing out of position as a rightback, the towering defender found an on-rushing Ramy Najjarine who was able to set up Borrello for a well-taken finish.

City went searching for an equaliser with Mathew Leckie, Marco Tilio and Maclaren all coming up short.

Eventually it fell to van der Venne after a botched clearance by Wanderers defender Marcelo.

Van der Venne took one touch before sending a dinked shot over the head of Wanderers keeper Lawrence Thomas to earn his side a point ahead of next week’s meeting with Brisbane.

“I was standing right behind him and you could see that he’s looking at that top corner and to be able to bend it like Beckham – it was amazing,” said interim City boss Rado Vidosic.

“They’ve got a great defensive unit and when your opponent drops so deep it’s not easy to score a goal.

“The performance was excellent. It was probably the best 90-minute performance since since I took over.”