Melbourne City FC returned to the winner’s list with a 2-0 win over Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Ritchie De Laet opened the scoring in the ninth minute when he met Lachlan Wales’ cross with a thunderbolt of a strike from outside the area.
In the 60th minute Bruno Fornaroli made it 2-0 with a beautifully placed strike to open his 2018/19 Hyundai A-League goal scoring account.
City will look to extend their winning streak when they return to action following the international break against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, 24 November.
Head Coach Warren Joyce made two changes to the starting XI that faced Sydney FC last week, with Lachlan Wales replacing Dario Vidosic in attack and Nathaniel Atkinson returning from international duty.
With Melbourne’s rain clearing just prior to kick-off, perfect conditions for football greeted the two teams at AAMI Park. In front of their home fans, City, who suffered a disappointing loss to Sydney FC a week prior, looked to return to winning ways.
Determined to make amends for their performance a week earlier, Head Coach Warren Joyce’s side looked to pressure the Nix from the onset.
Following a cagey opening five minutes where both teams struggled to retain possession, City would begin to penetrate in the attacking third and found the opener soon after through Ritchie De Laet in the ninth minute.
Lachlan Wales burst down the left-wing before cutting the ball back past the edge of the penalty area, where a fast approaching De Laet buried a rocket of a low drive inside the left goal post.
After taking the lead, City looked to maintain possession in their attacking half in search of an opening. In the 22nd minute, that opening nearly came. Bart Schenkeveld pierced the Wellington defence with a brilliant through ball which was met by Bruno Fornaroli, who did superbly to lose his marker, but his first touch ultimately let him down.
It was the first of four chances in three minutes for the home side.
In the 23rd minute, captain Scott Jamieson found Wales in space, whose cut back was met by Riley McGree. The 20-year-old looked to hit the target from just inside the area, only to be undone by a desperate block by Fenton.
Moments later City would continue to pile on the pressure, this time Florin Berenguer skipped past his defender before attempting to slide Fornaroli through at the back post, only for the ball to be turned out for a corner. It was from the resulting corner that City looked threatening again, this time the ball fell to Kearyn Baccus. In search of his maiden goal in City colours, the midfielder’s cracking effort from 20-yards travelled just shy of the crossbar.
In a half that was very much one way traffic, the Nix’s best chance came in the 28th minute. David Williams earned his team a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box, Singh stepped over the deal ball, only to be denied by Eugene Galekovic who did brilliantly to tip the ball over the bar.
With five minutes remaining in the first-half, Joyce’s men would continue to push in search of extending their lead.
In the 42nd minute the home side had a golden double-chance to make it 2-0. Wales produced a scintillating backheel which put Fornaroli through one-on-one with Kurto, only to be denied by the shot-stopper, the rebound then fell to Berenguer whose effort from close range was cleared off the line.
The second-half commenced just as the first finished, with City on the front foot looking to extend their lead. Ten minutes into the second period Berenguer slid the ball into Fornaroli, whose first-time effort from 15-yards was directed straight down the throat of Kurto in goal – much to the keeper’s relief.
Perseverance would eventually prevail for City’s star striker in the 60th minute. McGree laid the ball off to Fornaroli just outside the box, who off one step placed the ball into the top corner with a perfectly timed strike.
With City looking to maintain possession and secure the three-points, clear cut chances were few and far between in the last 20 minutes of play.
Schenkeveld recovered well from a late scare to secure man-of-the-match accolades following his collision with teammate Galekovic.
McGree's late bursting run earned his team a dangerous free-kick in stoppage time. Second-half substitute and former Nix attacker Dario Vidosic stepped over the dead ball, but his effort was just high, striking the top of the netting.
City return to action following the international break when they travel north to play Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, 24 November, kick-off 7:50pm.