Melbourne City FC earned a remarkable 4-3 come-form-behind win over Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park on Tuesday night.
City got off to a flying start against the Wanderers, with Ritchie De Laet registering the Club’s fastest goal in history rounding the keeper and delivering inside the opening 31 seconds.
The Wanderers hit back through Roly Bonevacia from the penalty spot, before Luke Brattan restored the lead with an incredible individual effort just before half-time.
Two successive goals inside the opening 10-minutes of the second-half saw Western Sydney take the lead. Tass Mourdoukoutas levelled the scores, nodding home at the back post, before Jaushua Sotirio curled an effort in from range to make it 3-2 to the visitors.
In the 84th minute, De Laet secured his brace, meeting Riley McGree's pass and firing his effort into the bottom corner. With the scores level, the game needed a hero and up stepped Bart Schenkeveld with a thumping header in stoppage time.
City will look to continue the winning momentum when they take on Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium next Saturday, before travelling to Jubilee Stadium to face Sydney FC.
A short turnaround saw Luke Brattan come into the side as Florin Berenguer moved into the final third. Riley McGree replaced Lachlan Wales, as Nathaniel Atkinson moved to the bench.
Young attacker Moudi Najjar was named on the bench for the first time following a standout season in the Foxtel Y-League.
Under lights at AAMI Park, Melbourne City got off to an electrifying start as marquee man Ritchie De Laet latched onto an errand pass before rounding Wanderers shot-stopper Nick Suman and making it 1-0 to the hosts inside the opening 31 seconds – the Club’s fastest goal in history.
With momentum on City’s side, Florin Berenguer drilled his effort from the edge of the area straight into the keepers’ arms, before Riley McGree went on a brilliant run, only to be again denied by Suman between the sticks.
In the 27th minute, the Wanderers were awarded a golden opportunity to level the scores. Curtis Good fouled Josh Sotirio in the area, with the referee pointing straight to the spot. Roly Bonevacia stepped up to take, sending Eugene Galekovic the wrong way and clawing the visitors back into the contest.
Head Coach Warren Joyce’s side continued to press in search of restoring the lead and did so through a magnificent solo effort from Luke Brattan. Captain Scott Jamieson slipped the ball through to the midfielder in the 38th minute before he nutmegged Nick Fitzgerald and fired the ball across his body and into the top corner.
As the second-half commenced, the Wanderers looked to find a way straight back into the match. Four-minutes into the half the visitors levelled the scores as Mourdoukoutas latched onto Bonevacia’s perfectly weighted ball to nod home at the back post.
Moments later Western Sydney took the lead as Sotirio found the top corner with a curling effort from range.
In the 68th minute, City had a golden opportunity to restore parity. Second-half substitute Lachlan Wales teed up Brattan expertly in the penalty area, although the midfielders effort from close range was skied over the crossbar.
City continued to press and four-minutes later Kearyn Baccus went inches away from drawing level with a brilliant half-volley from range. Nathaniel Atkinson then found Wales, whose effort from six-yards drifted across the face of goal.
With 10 minutes to play, the ball again fell to Brattan inside the penalty area, this time the midfielder turned one defender before his effort was desperately dealt with by the Wanderers defence.
In a bid to find an equaliser, Joyce handed Moudi Najjar his senior debut with seven minutes of regulation time remaining. Less than a minute later, City made it 3-3, as Riley McGree slipped through Ritchie De Laet who fired his effort into the bottom corner of the goal.
With the scores locked at 3-3, City needed a hero and up stepped central defender Bart Schenkeveld. Schenkeveld met Scott Jamieson's late corner with a thunderous header to hand City the three-points at home.
City have two consecutive away trips with Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium followed by Sydney FC at Jubilee Stadium. City’s next home match is against Adelaide United on Saturday 9 February at AAMI Park.