Keeper’s ‘magnificent’ assist sparks ruthless eight-second move & Celtic loanee’s stunner

Five saves and an incredible assist - Jamie Young's superb performance

Melbourne City winger Marco Tilio produced a moment of individual brilliance to net the reigning Isuzu UTE A-League Premiers a point in a 1-1 draw with Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Saturday evening.

Sydney led through left-back Jordan Courtney-Perkins’ stellar strike in the first half but despite dominating possession and chances the hosts couldn’t put their opponents away and it proved costly as Tilio’s brilliant solo run and finish – assisted by goalkeeper Jamie Young – earned City a point on the road.

The Sky Blues had the chance to move above Macarthur FC and into the top four but couldn’t notch a third-consecutive win to keep recent momentum rolling.

City can take positives from coming back to earn a point against one of the in-form sides in the league – but Saturday’s result made it four games without a win as head coach Aurelio Vidmar continues to search for the points needed to make up ground on the top six.

Sydney looked ominous in the first half but despite a classy goal that carved out a one-goal lead, the hosts almost went into half-time on level terms after a late chance for City.

Fabio Gomes headed just wide of the mark inside four minutes after Luke Brattan was given far too much time to look up and play an early ball into the box. It set the tone for a barrage from the Sky Blue and the pressure almost told when Anthony Caceres drew a save out of Young, and Robert Mak crashed the rebound off the woodwork in a double chance that went astray.

Sydney’s opener came in the 39th minute and the passing sequence matched the clinical finish by Courtney-Perkins who was set free down the left wing after a sequence of four first-time passes that had City chasing shadows.

Courtney-Perkins took possession, drove into the box and fired the ball into the top-right corner, leaving Young with no chance of a save.

Sydney were dominant throughout the opening stanza but almost allowed City a way back in when Mathew Leckie pounced on a loose ball inside the six-yard box. The visitors had rarely ventured forward through the first half but should have found a leveller if not for Rhyan Grant’s desperate block in the goal mouth.

A low, driven strike from distance from Brattan early in the second half took a slight deflection off a City body and flashed just wide of the post as Sydney looked to get back on top soon after the restart at Allianz Stadium.

Mak was next in line to threaten City’s goal with a shot from a tight angle which deflected off full-back Callum Talbot; it appeared for a moment the ball would drop over the line but drifted over the crossbar.

With just one goal on the board at the hour mark, Sydney had left the door open for City to strike back – and Tilio made them pay with a magnificent combination of touches, close control and precise finishing to make it 1-1.

The blistering attack unfolded in mere seconds as Young collected a Sydney corner and belted the ball down the park for Tilio to chase. The Celtic loanee took the ball in his stride, cut past Corey Hollman with ease and lashed a left-footed strike off the post and in.

Jamie Maclaren headed a rare sight on goal over the crossbar from a free-kick routine for City before Young produced one more crucial intervention deep into stoppage-time, blocking Joe Lolley’s strike with a clutch save at the death as both teams took a share of the spoils.

Young’s final intervention before the final whistle put the cherry on top of a dominant performance by the City custodian, who was beaten only once by a Courtney-Perkins bullet.

“He’s been very good for us,” said City head coach Aurelio Vidmar post-game. “He made some nice saves there tonight, that’s what you expect your goalkeeper to do. Then he played that magnificent ball to Marco for the goal. Pleased with his performance.”

Paramount+ analyst Alex Brosque joined Vidmar in heaping praise on Young, particularly for his role in City’s equaliser.

“This moment here was incredible,” Brosque said whilst reviewing the Tilio goal for Paramount+. “It’s quick-thinking from Jamie Young there to play out to Tilio and that touch, at pace, on his right foot is incredibly difficult to execute. Then the finish as well, I mean, the confidence he already had from the touch allowed him to cut inside.

“But what a wonderful goal there from Tilio to get his side back into the game.”