Melbourne City has booked a place in the FFA Cup Quarter Finals, following a 2-1 win over Marconi Stallions FC at Marconi Stadium on Wednesday night.
Jamie Maclaren opened the scoring within the first two minutes, before Craig Noone continued his impressive start to life in City blue, making it 2-0 on the cusp of half-time. Martin Fernandez hit the back of the net with a fierce strike in the 85th minute, but it proved to be merely a consolation goal for the hosts.
City now awaits their Quarter Final opponents, with the Cup draw to be held next Wednesday 28 August following the completion of the Round of 16.
After its Round or 32 win against reigning NPL Premiers, Campbelltown City, Melbourne City faced another tricky FFA Cup assignment against NPL/NSL powerhouse, Marconi Stallions at Marconi Stadium in Sydney’s west.
In cold and windy conditions, it took less than 90 seconds for City to get off the mark with high pressure from Galloway, Luna and Cabrera forcing an error leaving Galloway to cross for in-form Jamie Maclaren, who made no mistake with the header from six yards out.
With City one goal up, both sides took chance to settle into the game with the following 30 minutes of play an even tussle with no real chances created.
On 38 minutes some fluid City play saw Adrian Luna break with the ball before squaring across the edge of the box to Connor Metcalfe whose low drive drew a smart save from Vekic.
On 44 minutes City were rewarded for their positive play as Maclaren stole the ball in the Stallions penalty area, passing out to Luna who squared to Metcalfe on the edge of the box. Under pressure Metcalfe smartly flicked the ball further left to the prolific Craig Noone with the Liverpudlian’s first-time edge of the box strike finding the bottom right corner of Vekic’s goal to make it 2-0 City.
With City in control of the tie, the second half offered little in the way of action or any real chances for either side to impact the scoreline. On 75 minutes it looked like City had carved their opponents open once more with Metcalfe sliding Cabrera through only for the Uruguayan to be flagged a very marginal offside.
On 85 minutes Marconi latched onto a poor touch from Metcalfe with the ball falling to Fernandez who jinked left before chipping a stranded Bouzanis from the edge of the box to make it 2-1 and give the home side hope in the final five minutes.
Five minutes later Marconi were on the march again creating havoc in the City area with a long throw that City failed to clear, the ball falling to Fernandez again who could only blaze over. The onslaught continued shortly after with Bouzanis pulling out a smart stop to deny the home side.
City then had a chance of their own as Lachie wales played through Maclaren however the Socceroos striker could only fire into the legs of Vekic.
Despite a nervy final few minutes, City controlled the majority of the match and eventually ran out 2-1 winners, advancing to the Quarter Finals once again.