Unlikely hero emerges after tempers flare in a result the first of its kind between City & Jets

Melbourne City and Newcastle Jets played out an entertaining and fierce 0-0 draw in the Isuzu UTE A-League on Saturday.

Tempers flared in Melbourne, where City and the Jets played out a goalless draw for the first time in their A-League Men history.

Leo Natel escaped with a yellow card after clashing with Newcastle in the second half, while Jamie Maclaren, Mathew Leckie, Marin Jakolis and Max Caputo were all thwarted by Jets goalkeeper Ryan Scott at AAMI Park.

Nuno Reis also had a goal ruled out in the first half as City – unbeaten in three matches – moved within a point of the top six after 22 games, while the Jets remain second from bottom.

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It was a man-of-the-match performance from Scott, with City defender Nuno telling Paramount+: “Today their goalkeeper was one of the best in the match”.

Jets head coach Rob Stanton, meanwhile, said: “I thought it was a great performance. We showed some good resilience and great character.

“The last month has been pretty hard on the players, staff and club. I think we showed the club has a heartbeat. If we can sort out our ownership, we can regain our identity.”

“It’s a great club. It has massive potential, we just need to create that identity with new owners and set the direction. I think we showed it on the park,” he added.

City’s bench was stacked with Socceroos talent as Maclaren, Leckie and Curtis Good were named among the substitutes, with Ralph Napoli deputising for ill head coach Aurelio Vidmar.

It was the third straight game all-time Isuzu UTE A-League goalscorer Maclaren was out of the starting XI – marking the first time it had happened since playing for Scotland’s Hibernian in 2018.

There was an early let off for Jets goalkeeper Scott, who stormed out of his penalty to beat Tolgay Arslan to the ball. Instead, Arslan played the ball beyond Scott but the latter scrambled back into his box and saved the attempted shot.

Steven Ugarkovic nearly put City ahead in the seventh minute when he brought the ball down on one touch and then got the volley away on the second. However, it went just wide.

City did have the ball in the back of the net in first-half stoppage time and Nuno Reis thought he had his second goal in as many matches. But after wheeling away in celebration, the Portuguese defender’s goal was ruled offside much to the relief of Scott.

Tempers threatened to boil over once the first-half whistle blew as Arslan and Jets substitute Jason Hoffman clashed heading down the tunnel.

It was end-to-end action when the second half resumed in Melbourne, with both teams enjoying opportunities.

There was a great chance for the Jets, who carved open City on transition. Unfortunately for Golden Boot contender Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, he could not get on the end of a cross in the six-yard box.

In the 52nd minute, an opportunity went begging for Ugarkovic, who somehow flashed his round wide with the goal gaping after Max Caputo’s volley had drawn a save from Scott.

Daniel Stynes’ face said it all 26 minutes from the end after being set up by Reno Piscopo inside the penalty area. The Jets midfielder watched his effort sky over the crossbar.

There was a coming together between both sides as Leo Natel made contact with Kosta Grozos’ head after also appearing to kick out at Callum Timmins. The City winger escaped with a red card.

City goalkeeper Jamie Young made a strong save to keep out Daniel Wilmering’s long-range effort in the 82nd minute.

Maclaren almost popped up with the winner with three minutes of regulation remaining – the Socceroo found himself unmarked in the box but Marin Jakolis’ cross was overhit.

Then in the second minute of stoppage time, Leckie saw his shot saved by Scott before the Jets goalkeeper stepped up with an incredible close-range save to thwart Jakolis and he celebrated theatrically.