Melbourne City has progressed to the Quarter Finals of the Westfield FFA Cup after defeating New South Wales National Premier League side Hakoah Sydney City East 3-2 at Leichhardt Oval.
City made three changes to the eleven that took on Peninsula Power in the Round of 32 as Bart Schenkeveld made his debut for the Club at centre back.
Luke Brattan and Daniel Arzani also made their way into the eleven, replacing Osama Mailk and Bruce Kamau respectively as City looked to continue fine tuning their lineup ahead of the upcoming season.
It was a whirlwind start at Leichhardt Oval as City got off the mark after just eight minutes through a set piece. Brattan’s curling ball to the back post was honoured by the run of Michael Jakobsen as the centre back nodded home to open the scoring.
Hakoah’s first foray forward was only two minutes later and it found them level. A pinpoint cross from the left found the head of Kiwi Andre De Jong as he powered his effort across Dean Bouzanis to restore parity.
City were not done there in the frantic opening stages as they regained the lead after 13 minutes. Arzani’s cutback to Bruno Fornaroli saw the striker force a fine save from Hakoah keeper Anthony Bouzanis as the parried effort fell into the path of Fitzgerald. With the ball rolling on the line, the winger had the easiest of finishes, restoring his side’s advantage.
The match settled after the crazy opening 20 minutes however the match would take a turn for the worst for Fornaroli as a nasty tackle from behind saw the Uruguayan stretchered off the pitch with an injury. The striker will have scans on his ankle with his prognosis to be determined in the coming days.
The show had to go on for City as they continued their march towards the Quarter and they would find another goal after 62 minutes through Fornaroli’s substitute Denis Genreau.
A dangerous set piece on the edge of the City area saw Scott Jamieson rocket his effort into the Hakoah wall as the young midfielder was quickest to react to the deflection.
He slotted his effort past Bouzanis to extend City’s lead, tightening their grip on the contest.
City would be served another blow as goal scorer Jakobsen clutched at his back after an awkward slip in the second half. The Dane’s fall saw him exit the match with back stiffness, adding another casualty to the list from the night.
It was chance after chance for the visitors to seal the match however Hakoah would continue to be a headache for City, scoring in injury time to pull the Sydneysiders to within a goal in the final minutes of play.
City would hold on however, securing their passage to the next stage of the cup.
It’s a massive 2016 FFA Cup Final replay for City as they take on 2016/17 Premiers and Champions Sydney FC away from home with the match to be played on the week of the 11th or 18th of September.