Melbourne City has continued its perfect start to the pre-season with a 4-0 win over NPL Victoria and fellow FFA Cup side Melbourne Knights.
City were in control from start to finish in the contest, taking a two goal buffer into the break thanks to Bruno Fornaroli and Manny Muscat. Fornaroli continued his fine goal scoring form with a brilliant overhead kick and a tap-in to round off his man of the match performance.
It was debuts in City colours for Fernando Brandan and Bruce Kamau with the latter sitting out his side’s last friendly due to a muscular twinge while Argentinian Brandan made his first appearance after signing earlier on Tuesday.
A soft Knights Stadium pitch welcomed both sides as a light tower almost threatened to cancel the fixture. After stadium staff worked hard to get the tower online again, referee Shaun Evans got proceedings underway on a cold and breezy night.
It was a timid start to the match as City controlled much of the run of play while the Knights looked to have weapons up their sleeve on the counter.
City’s first chance came after 18 minutes as a string of passes saw Paulo Retre strike on the edge of the area but his effort was palmed away by Fraser Chalmers in the Knights goal.
It didn’t take City long to find the back of the net however as Fornaroli turned his defender one way then the other to find a gap and curl his effort past Chalmers.
It was two not long after as brilliant break by Bruce Kamau saw the winger beat two players before laying off for Muscat who opened his account as a City player with a tidy finish.
City maintained their dominance until the break and saw Nick Fitzgerald and Anthony Caceres replace Retre and Brandan after the interval.
A moment of brilliance lit up the icy night as a corner to the back post was nodded down to Fornaroli to weave his magic. Much like his elimination goal against Perth Glory, the Uruguayan’s overhead attempt beat the keeper to have supporters of both teams in awe.
The Knights held their own after the third goal, creating two chances down the right wing, one of which kissed the crossbar.
It was City however who added to the score line as Fornaroli completed his hat-trick. Tireless work from Bruce Kamau beat his player and the onrushing keeper to lay off to El Tuna as he finished into an open net.
As the subs flowed onto the field, City looked in control but not as potent as they did in the opening half.
Chances to Steve Kuzmanovski and Daniel Arzani made up the rest of the match as the Knights almost found their consolation 81 minutes in. A heart-in-mouth moment for Dean Bouzanis almost gifted Caleb Mikulic the goal the Sunshine-based side were looking for but the linesman was prompt in flagging for offside.
Overall a successful night for City as they turn to its first competitive match of the 2016/17 season on Tuesday in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 clash with Floreat Athena in Perth.