Melbourne City have set up a colossal derby with local foes Western United after dispatching Macarthur Bulls 3-1 at AAMI Park on Wednesday evening.

Melbourne City - Macarthur FC

  • City beat Bulls 3-1 in their Wednesday A-League Men's match.
  • Macarthur have conceded eight goals in the past three games.
  • Melbourne are now atop the ladder, Macarthur fifth.

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Rallying back from a one-goal deficit to return to the top of the A-League table, the win sets up a huge meeting with their now second-placed rivals, who have two games in hand, on Saturday.

"I thought we created some good chances but what I was most pleased with was how we managed the second-half," City coach Patrick Kisnorbo said.

"We still pressed with a lot of intensity and kept the ball in good areas and that's what I was really pleased with."

Conversely, a second loss in a row means Macarthur missed out on the chance to go third.

After a short turnaround, they will now look to regroup in a western Sydney derby against the Wanderers on Saturday.

Hit by injuries, Ante Milicic's side has conceded eight goals in their past three games and look a far cry from the unit that so ruthlessly shut foes out at the start of the season.

That early-season run of momentum was snapped by a COVID-enforced spate of postponements that cost the Bulls all of January, which their coach doesn't see as a coincidence.

"When we came back after our 36 days (break) you could see that we weren't that same team in terms of our momentum and confidence," he said.

"It was an absence from playing but 90 per cent of the squad had COVID.

"The knock-on effect of that is when we're playing games the players aren't at the fitness levels that are required.

"And with that accumulation (of fixtures) we, unfortunately, lost too many key ones in terms of injuries."

The Bulls took the lead in the 15th minute when a cross spilled off Adrian Mariappa and, with goalkeeper Matt Sutton caught in no man's land, fell into the path of Apostolos Giannou who converted.

Sutton was making his first start this season after incumbent Tom Glover was dropped after City surrendered a 2-0 lead against Perth Glory last week.

Nonetheless, City, easily the league's most lethal attack this season, stormed back with three unanswered goals to secure their fourth win in five games.

Mariappa inadvertently turned the ball into his own net in the 28th before Florin Berenguer seized the lead just before half-time.

Jamie Maclaren then dispatched a penalty won by Marco Tilio in the 54th to complete the scoring.


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The full A-League Men's schedule can be found using this link.