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2018/19 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Riley McGree (27' PEN)
  • Luke Brattan (32')
  • Roy O'Donovan (4')
  • Ronald Vargas (25')

Melbourne City inflict A-League defeat on 10-man Newcastle Jets

Newcastle marquee player Ronald Vargas was sent off in controversial circumstances as Melbourne City consigned the Jets to more A-League pain at AAMI Park.

The red card midway through Sunday evening's first half set the course for an action-packed 2-1 City victory, the hosts recovering after goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic's nightmare start left them trailing in the opening minutes.

Riley McGree converted from the penalty spot in the 25th minute when a Luke Brattan corner deflected off Vargas's arm.

The Venezuelan could hardly have escaped the line of fire and made his displeasure clear, telling referee Kurt Arms to "f--- off."

It was later indicated that Vargas had been booked for dissent, despite the fact the card had already been brandished when he unleashed at the official.

The Jets had the right to feel aggrieved given they had their own appeal for handball inside their penalty area dismissed minutes earlier.

Brattan then made the Jets pay for a defensive lapse, firing past a slow-reacting Lewis Italiano after being gifted ample space just outside the box.

The match started woefully for the hosts when Galekovic -- boasting a league-high four clean sheets this season and coming off a starring role in City's defeat of Western Sydney -- conceded the easiest of goals to Jets striker Roy O'Donovan.

Galekovic came forward to intercept a long pass from the Jets defence but misread the bounce, then collided with teammate Harrison Delbridge as he tried to head the ball clear, allowing O'Donovan to tap into an open goal.

There was more confusion on the stroke of half-time when Newcastle's Nigel Boogaard backed into Galekovic on the goal line, with the Jets awarded a corner despite the ball appearing to have crossed the line and City appealing for a free kick.

Tempers flared during the second half when Ritchie De Laet was booked for a late challenge on Jets defender Daniel Georgievski, sparking a mini-melee.

The visitors continued to create chances, most notably when Jason Hoffman's shot on goal from inside the box forced a terrific save from Galekovic.

But fourth-placed City held tight to stay within reach of the top three and leave Newcastle languishing in seventh.

"Without making excuses for the boys, I thought we looked flat," City coach Warren Joyce said. "They put a hell of a lot of effort in the last few weeks ... I thought it took its toll."

Newcastle coach Ernie Merrick applauded his side's valiant effort in the second half.

"There's no points to show for it but the team spirit that we showed is almost worth more than the points," he said. "The sendoff ruined the game a little bit. But we didn't sit back and defend ... we made a real game of it."