Tim Cahill netted a spectacular goal on his A-League debut as Melbourne City romped home to a 4-1 win over Melbourne Victory in the 20th edition of the Melbourne Derby on Saturday night.
Cahill left a lasting impression just 27 minutes into his first Melbourne Derby, stunning the 43,188 strong crowd at Etihad Stadium with a sensational half-volley to open his A-League account.
Bruno Fornaroli doubled his side’s advantage with a clever header, before man-of-the-match Luke Brattan put the game out of reach minutes after the restart as City swept aside its opponents with a rampant display of attacking football.
Marco Rojas gave Victory a glimmer of hope just past the hour mark with a superb solo effort, but Fernando Brandan put the icing on the cake only seconds later as John van’t Schip’s side cruised to its second win of the season.
Head Coach van’t Schip made three changes to the side which triumphed over Wellington on the opening day of the season.
Goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis was handed his starting A-League debut for the Club in place of the suspended Thomas Sorensen, while Manny Muscat replaced Connor Chapman in defence for his first league start in City colours.
Unsurprisingly, all the buzz and excitement was firmly centred on Cahill’s first ever A-League appearance, who started behind Fornaroli in place of last-week’s match winner Anthony Caceres.
But no one could have anticipated what would unfold after just 27 minutes, as the Socceroos striker announced his arrival in style with one of the most spectacular goals in A-League history.
Fornaroli showed strength to win an aerial scramble against James Donachie just past the centre circle and as the ball hit the ground, there seemed to be no avenue to goal.
Cahill, who sensed Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas had strayed off his line, had other ideas. He looked up, picked his spot and unleashed a stunning 40-metre half-volley which sailed into the top corner.
The goal sparked scenes of sheer jubilation amongst the City faithful; celebrations which would continue only moments later as Fornaroli completed a quick-fire blitz with City’s second goal in four minutes.
It was a combination from the two South American marquee’s that breached the Victory defence, as a pin-point cross from Nicolas Colazo picked out Fornaroli at the back post, who nodded home beyond Thomas to make it 2-0.
Colazo was a constant danger from set-pieces with his deadly left foot and nearly added a goal of his own on the stroke of half-time, but Thomas did well to palm a bending free-kick out of the bottom corner.
City started the second half as they meant to go on, leaving the Victory defence chasing shadows with a monopoly of possession and an incisiveness in the final third to match.
The lead was stretched even further only seven minutes after the restart as Brattan capped off another masterful performance in midfield with his first City goal.
The electric Kamau sent Alen Baro tumbling with a barnstorming run into the penalty area before a neat cut-back found its way to Brattan, who coolly slotted home beyond Thomas to make it 3-0.
Victory – who managed just two shots on target for the match – pulled a goal back in the 62nd minute when Rojas weaved his way into the penalty area and fired past Bouzanis to breathe life back into the contest.
Any hope the home side had of staging a memorable comeback was extinguished almost immediately, as Fernando latched onto the end of Josh Rose’s long ball and fired past Thomas at the near post to restore City’s-three goal advantage.
Substitute Nick Fitzgerald was thwarted by a smart save from Thomas in the dying seconds, but the job was already done as van’t Schip’s side took home the spoils in a thrilling derby win.
Hyundai A-League – Round 2
Saturday 15 October 2016
Melbourne Victory 1 (Marco ROJAS 62’)
Melbourne City FC 4 (Tim CAHILL 27’, Bruno FORNAROLI 31’, Luke BRATTAN 52’, Fernando BRANDAN 62’)
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Referee: Chris Beath
Melbourne Victory line-up: 20. Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 2. Jason GERIA, 5. Daniel GEORGEVSKI, 7. Marco ROJAS, 17. James DONACHIE, 21. Carl VALERI (C), 13. Oliver BOZANIC (Leigh BROXHAM 56’), 11. Mitchell AUSTIN (Nicholas ANSELL 56’), 14. Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH (Sebastian PASQUALI 76’), 8. Besart BERISHA, 15. Alan BARO.
Substitutes not used: 27. Alastair BRAY (GK), 23. Jai INGHAM,
Yellow card: Geria 40’, Georgevski 45’, Baro 70’
Red cards: nil
Melbourne City line-up: 20. Dean BOUZANIS (GK), 3. Joshua ROSE, 22. Michael JAKOBSEN, 2. Manny MUSCAT, 27. Fernando BRANDAN (Osama MALIK 78’), 8. Neil KILKENNY, 26. Luke BRATTAN, 17. Tim CAHILL (Anthony CACERES 65’), 9. Nicolas COLAZO, 11. Bruce KAMAU (Nick FITZGERALD 76’), 23. Bruno FORNAROLI (C)
Substitutes not used: 40. Yaren SOZER (GK), 4. Connor CHAPMAN
Yellow cards: Kilkenny 18’
Red cards: nil