LNTUP

City’s football good enough to take back all points from Newcastle

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Manny Muscat struck late to end Melbourne City’s three-game losing streak and leave Newcastle ruing missed opportunities in a 2-1 defeat at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Muscat, promoted to the starting side, scored with a powerful right-foot strike from a goal mouth scramble in the 86th minute in a game the second-placed Jets dominated in rain-affected conditions.

The Saturday night round-nine win lifted third-placed City to 16 points, one behind Newcastle.

Back-up City gloveman Dean Bouzanis was a late call-up to the starting side after Eugene Galekovic was injured in the warm-up and he kept the visitors in the game early.

Joey Champness, Steve Ugarkovic, and Jason Hoffman forced Bouzanis into saves as the Jets’ in-form attack peppered City in the opening 20 minutes.

However, it was a stray City boot that eventually set up Newcastle’s opener in the 32nd minute.

A challenge in midfield sprayed to Andrew Nabbout up front.

The striker’s first shot was blocked by Bouzanis but the rebound fell perfectly for Nabbout, who finished into an open net.

The hosts continued to hold the bulk of possession but City struck next when Jets captain Nigel Boogaard was penalised for a push into the back of Scottish international Ross McCormack from a Nick Fitzgerald cross.

McCormack, on loan from Aston Villa, converted from the spot in the 40th minute.

The victory broke a four-game winless run for City.