Melbourne City has finished off the regular season off in style, defeating Central Coast Mariners 5-0 at AAMI Park on Friday night.
A Shayon Harrison brace headlined the performance as Warren Joyce made wholesale changes to the side that travelled to Wellington last Sunday.
Riley McGree and Dario Vidosic added to the scoreline with youngster Ramy Najjarine capping off the performance with his debut goal for the Club in the five-star performance.
A number of changes were made across the whole squad for the contest with next week’s Elimination Final in mind. Scott Jamieson and Bart Schenkeveld returned to the side, being joined by Kearyn Baccus, Lachie Wales and Dario Vidosic in the XI.
19-year-old James Delianov made his senior debut between the sticks with a youthful bench including Y-League players Mitch Graham, Idrus Abdulahi and Majak Mawith. Rostyn Griffiths was an out through a hamstring injury while Mark Birighitti’s sore knee has kept him out of the side.
Eugene Galekovic, Curtis Good, Ritchie De Laet, Harrison Delbridge, Jamie Maclaren and Florin Berenguer were all rested.
After a quiet opening spell, City took the lead thanks to a brilliant solo run and finish from youngster, Shay Harrison. After picking the ball up on the right wing, the on-loan Tottenham forward squeezed through Melling and Millar before skipping past Karacan and sliding the ball around Clisby inside the far post.
City doubled its lead in the 42nd minute with Dario Vidosic playing in Scott Jamieson who delivered a pinpoint cross to unmarked Riley McGree who volleyed home from 10 yards out, giving Adam Pearce no chance.
City started the second half in the same fashion it finished the first half when on 50-minutes, Lachie Wales’ quick feet allowed him to cross for Dario Vidosic to slot home from close range.
Full of confidence, City added another five minutes later when Lachie Wales slid in Shay Harrison who beat a static Hiariej before firing past Pearce to make it 4-0.
After a quieter ten minutes, City looked to have won a penalty on 69-minutes when McGree surged from midfield only to be brought down by Lewis Miller. After initially awarding a penalty, a VAR review confirmed contact was outside the box, resulting in a free kick which Vidosic crashed into the wall.
On 82-minutes, City handed a debut to 16-year old Idrus Abdulahi with the young Maribynong High student replacing Vidosic to become City’s youngest ever A-League player. Not long after Adbulahi was at the start of another flowing City move, bursting through midfield with the ball eventually falling to Najjarine on the edge of the box. The Young Socceroos forward made no mistake as he cut inside onto his left foot before rifling the ball into the top left corner to give City its biggest win of the season.
All eyes go on Perth vs Wellington on Sunday night to determine City’s fate in its first Finals match. A win for Perth by a margin of two goals or more would put City in fifth and ensure an away final in Adelaide. Anything less and it plays Victory in Melbourne.