Maclaren double leads City past Wanderers

Two Jamie MacLaren (3R) goals have given Melbourne City a late 3-2 A-League win over Western Sydney.
Two Jamie MacLaren (3R) goals have given Melbourne City a late 3-2 A-League win over Western Sydney.

A Jamie Maclaren brace, including an injury-time game-winner, has fired Melbourne City to a dramatic 3-2 win over Western Sydney.

The Wanderers looked headed for an upset early on Friday night when Kwame Yeboah found the net after just 90 seconds at Bankwest Stadium.

Maclaren equalised after Western Sydney midfielder Pirmin Schwegler was controversially ruled to have dragged Denis Genreau down in the box in the 55th minute.

Replays showed the contact was minimal between the pair.

The Wanderers' frustrations worsened when Josh Brillante netted in the 73rd minute, before Yeboah completed his double soon after to set up a thrilling finish.

And up stepped arguably the most in-form player in the league in Maclaren, who was found unmarked by Lachlan Wales in the second minute of injury time.

The Socceroos star drove his shot past the outstretched arms of Daniel Lopar, extending his remarkable goalscoring run to nine goals in four A-League games.

He also has 19 in his past 12 matches for club and country but, more importantly, McLaren ensured City retain their spot at the top of the table.

Furious Wanderers coach Markus Babbel said the penalty altered the course of the contest.

"I couldn't see a chance until there. It changed everything," he said.

"I'm not saying anything about the referees. But we are not blind here, no?"

Pressed on whether he thought it was a penalty, Babbell stormed: "Is this a serious question? Serious question? F***'s sake. No comment."

City coach Erick Mombaerts declined to weigh in on the contentious decision.

"The previous game we conceded two penalties. I can't say anything. There's a VAR so I'll let the referee take his decision," he said.

A thunderstorm halted the preceding W-League game, delaying the kick off for 30 minutes, though the Wanderers were quickly into their stride with an early strike.

Yeboah began the sequence by chesting down for Mitchell Duke, whose switch of play allowed Bruce Kamau to cross for Yeboah to finish.

City, however, were quick to recover and controlled possession for most of the first half against a wasteful Wanderers midfield.

The only issue for the visitors was creating some genuine chances, with a Brillante thunderbolt tipped over the bar their only serious look at goal.

Similarly, the Wanderers were limited to one shot on target in the first half.

The game was brought to life by Maclaren's penalty, and tensions rose further when Rostyn Griffiths lashed out after being penalised for a foul.

Maclaren appeared to have sewn up the win when he found Brillante soon after, only for Yeboah to finish Alexander Meier's header across goal.

But the City striker delivered again for the winner, consigning the Wanderers to back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.

Australian Associated Press