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United, City draw top of table ALM classic

Melbourne City boss Patrick Kisnorbo has praised his side for their best performance of the season despite their fightback against Western United only resulting in a 2-2 draw in an A-League Men classic.

With City going into the game at AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon on top of the ladder on goal difference only from United, a winner would have seized the advantage in the race for the premiers’ plate.

sides level on points atop the ALM table, a winner in the battle of local rivals would have seized the advantage in the race for the premiers’ plate.

Initially it appeared that United would run away with the game courtesy of goals from Leo Lacroix and Rene Krhin in the opening half hour.

City, though, responded late in the first half via Connor Metcalfe, seizing the momentum, before levelling through talisman Jamie Maclaren in the 66th minute.

“I think in the second half we dominated completely,” Kisnorbo said.

Befitting its status as a potential grand final preview, the first half provided a frenetic spectacle as both teams attempted to move the ball rapidly and displayed clear attacking intent.

That then gave way to a second stanza in which United’s league-leading defence was forced to batten down the hatches and survive a furious onslaught from City’s potent attack; surrendering the lead but still doing enough to earn what coach John Aloisi called a “positive point”.

Numbers swelled by free entry for City members, the 8127 in attendance was the second-largest home crowd in United’s history.

“You know our fan base is only two years old so that’s going to grow,” Aloisi said.

“Hopefully they come back because they saw some great football.

“Tactically, it was a very good game and on top of that, it was exciting.

“We had four goals and the fans made the atmosphere as well.”

Chief among their missed opportunities, City had two chances cleared off the line by some desperate defending: Josh Risdon blocking an Andrew Nabbout effort moments before Lacroix’s 14th-minute opener and the Swiss defender then denying Curtis Good early in the second.

“If you scored after every chance it would be like AFL,” Kisnorbo said.

“This is why our game is so different, so unique.

“We played the best football, second half especially, we have this year.

“The way we were playing, moving the ball quickly on a difficult pitch was outstanding.”

Retaining top spot, City will now prepare to meet Melbourne Victory next Saturday.

United who have two games in hand over City, travel to face Sydney FC at the same time as the Melbourne derby.

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