Melbourne City FC marched into the Quarter Finals of the Westfield FFA Cup in supreme style. Here’s what we learned from the emphatic win over the Wellington Phoenix.
Fornaroli dazzles on debut.
Somewhat of an unknown quantity among Australian footballing circles, new signing Bruno Fornaroli made the best possible start to his life at Melbourne City FC.
The Uruguayan striker turned in an impressive display on his competitive debut for the club, often linking-up nicely with Aaron Mooy and Robert Koren in attack and scoring his first City goal with a well taken penalty.
While the early signs are promising, Fornaroli is sure to move from strength to strength as he continues to adjust to his new surroundings.
Five star goal-scoring performance.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the crushing win over the Phoenix was the variation of names on the score-sheet. With five individual goal-scorers for the evening, City’s attacking contingent displayed a welcome versatility in what was a ruthless night in front of goal.
The competition’s top-scorer with three goals, Aaron Mooy re-affirmed his status as the Club’s number one penalty taker with an expertly taken spot-kick to open the scoring, while Robert Koren flourished in his preferred ‘Number 10’ role, surging into the penalty area to tap home Stefan Zinni’s cross.
With Fornaroli, Harry Novillo and youngster Wade Dekker also getting on the scoresheet, John van’t Schip will be pleased to see his attack – which is still to welcome back Marc Marino, Corey Gameiro, James Brown, Steve Kuzmanovski and David Williams – firing on all cylinders in the early stages of the season.
A blow for Novillo.
The only sour note to come out of the match was a suspected hamstring injury to star winger Novillo. The Frenchman was in a typical bullish mood during his brief cameo, terrorising the Phoenix defence with a series of jinking runs and scoring a neat goal with a trademark finish after cutting in from the left-hand side. Since joining the Club half-way through last season, Novillo has quickly emerged as one of the most important members of the squad, and van’t Schip will be hoping that his main attacking threat is back out on the pitch sooner rather than later.
Dekker on the board.
Novillo’s absence provided an opportunity for the young Dekker to make his mark on the competitive stage. Elevated to the senior list after a stellar year for the Club’s youth team, the 21-year-old didn’t look out of place against the Phoenix after replacing Novillo, making a nuisance of himself and hassling defenders with some intelligent runs. A maiden competitive goal was just reward for Dekker - turning home Fornaroli’s cut-back in the 50th minute - and the youngster’s performance shows that he can be called upon to play a role for the team when required.
Our first Quarter Final opponents await.
The win sees City progress to the Quarter Finals of the Westfield FFA Cup for the first time in the Club’s history; an improvement from last-season’s exit at the Round of 32 stage of the tournament.
With Heidelberg United securing their passage to the Quarter Finals and Melbourne Victory, Oakleigh Cannons and Hume City FC still in the hunt for a place in the next round, the chances of an all-Victorian draw remain high, which could provide City with a local destination as the Club ramps up preparations for the new Hyundai A-League season.