Melbourne City FC has clinched a spot in the FFA Cup Final following an emphatic 5-1 win over Brisbane Strikers at Perry Park on Tuesday night.
It took just three minutes for the Strikers to open the scoring as Andy Pengelly struck early with a low drive from the edge of the area. City responded immediately to falling behind, placing Brisbane's defence under constant pressure. Perseverance eventually prevailed on the half hour mark as Connor Metcalfe netted his first senior goal with an impressive finish.
The contest was all one way traffic in the second period, as City ran away with the result. Jamie Maclaren led the way with a brace, as Javier Cabrera and Scott Galloway opened their goal scoring accounts for the Club with two tremendous goals.
Head Coach Erick Mombaerts took in the same starting eleven that faced the Western Sydney as City looked to solidify their side before the season proper.
Luna, Cabrera, Glover and Griffiths retained their spot on the bench as Najjar made up the final squad.
It was an opening full of adrenaline for both sides as the hosts made the perfect start after only two minutes.
Space on the edge of the area was afforded to talisman, Andy Pengelly as the striker’s low, fizzing shot found its way into the bottom corner after a slight slip from Bouzanis, giving Strikers a surprise lead.
The opener sparked City into action as the member federation side looked to maintain their advantage, sitting deep and inviting ominous City pressure. A flurry of half chances to Maclaren and Berenguer saw City go close to restoring parity however it was Metcalfe who would find the breakthrough after 30 minutes.
After a relentless press from Maclaren, the Socceroos striker took three wonderful touches to evade the Strikers’ defence as he slipped the midfielder through on goal. Metcalfe made no mistake from close range, giving City a deserved reply as the visitors looked towards regrouping before the break.
The goal swayed momentum once again as the Strikers made their way forward again, this time hitting high and wide of Bouzanis’ goal but City’s best chance for the lead came after 39 minutes as Noone drew out Scott on the angle, opening up the net to Najjarine. The cutback – slightly behind the youngster – saw him volley the effort inches over the bar as both sides went into the break level.
The response was immediate from City as Maclaren found himself in the right place at the right time once again to take the lead. Jamieson’s clipped ball to Berenguer saw the Frenchman head his effort centrally as Maclaren snuck in front of his marker to poke home.
The lead only spurred City on in the second half as they flexed their muscle and had their third after 62 minutes. Substitute Javier Cabrera found the back of the net after a front-to-back play from City and the result almost looked home.
Icing on the cake was added in the 80th as Maclaren rounded his brace and in the 92nd as Galloway drove a stunner to round out an impressive 88 minute performance from City and a ticket to the 2019 FFA Cup Final.