A select Melbourne City side has gone down to Chinese Super League outfit Guangzhou R&F 4-1 at CFA Melbourne on Tuesday during the side's pre-season camp in Australia.
The highlight of the match though for City fans was the performance of Bruno Fornaroli who found the back of the net during his 67 minutes on the park.
Guangzhou were too strong in the end for the youthful City however with Israeli international Eran Zahavi featuring with a brace.
The hosts began on the front foot and Fornaroli was the focal point to City's attack in the contest. His combination with Christian Cavallo on the left saw the fullback whip in for the late run of Nick Fitzgerald as the forward’s header forced a fine save from Yuelei Cheng.
It didn’t take long though for Fornaroli to make his mark on the match, finding the back of the net after 15 minutes. Speedsters Bruce Kamau and Fitzgerald combined brilliantly through the Guangzhou defence, opening the door for the latter for a chance on goal. Fitzgerald flicked his effort unselfishly into the path of Fornaroli who propped past his defender, scoring into an empty net.
The opener sparked the hosts into action and ten minutes later they would have their equaliser. Zahavi found himself the beneficiary of a turnover in the middle of the park as he played out wide to Feiya Cheng. The winger had the composure to find the run of Zahavi once again, who finished clinically past Eugene Galekovic.
A drinks break ensued and that saw City switch off, opening the door to the second goal in quick succession. The Chinese outfit found themselves with plenty of space on the left as Haifeng Ding’s pinpoint cross to the pack post found the head of unmarked Brazillian Junior Urso.
City worked their way back into the ascendancy after conceding and the members were treated to another piece of Fornaroli magic. First, it was a dummy that broke open the Guangzhou defence on the left, honouring the driving run from Cavallo and then he would leave the ball again for his teammate, seeing Kamau strike his effort wide.
With changes made at the interval, a youthful City side entered the field in the second half, looking to impress Head Coach Warren Joyce.
It was the visitors however who maintained a strong squad in the second period and Zahavi would show his class again after 54 minutes, taking on three defenders and forcing a sharp stop from Eugene Galekovic.
A minute later though and the Chinese side would have their fourth as a turnover in the middle of the park saw Lu Lin latch onto an effort on the edge of the area, curling his shot into the top corner.
As the match ran down, Fornaroli exited the game after 67 minutes putting in a tidy shift back in City colours as he looks to play a part in the latter stages of the A-League season but it wasn't a concern for the visitors who added a fourth through Zahavi soon after.
Dylan Pierias impressed during the final stages of the contest, having two opportunities to find a consolation goal but it wasn’t to be as the Chinese Super League side comfortably saw out the match.
Melbourne City’s A-League side will now prepare for a blockbuster clash with Sydney FC at AAMI Park on Saturday, kick-off 7.50pm. Click here to get your tickets for the match.
Melbourne City FC: 18.Eugene Galekovic, 2.Manny Muscat, 21.Ruon Tongyik, 13.Mitch Graham, 19.Christian Cavallo, 15.Denis Genreau. 5.Anthony Lesiotis, 34.Connor Metcalfe, 11.Bruce Kamau, 7.Nick Fitzgerald, 23.Bruno Fornaroli
Substitutes: 42.James Delianov, 40.Yaren Sozer, 16.Tristian Patsiotis, 14.Gianluca Iannucci, 3.Lucas Portelli, 17.Mark Karlic, 38.Josh Cavallo, 36.Dylan Pierias
Guangzhou R&F: 1.Yuelei Cheng, 7.Eran Zahavi, 8.Junior Urso, 10.Renatinho, 11.HaiFeng Ding, 18.Teng Yi, 20.Miao Tang, 21 Feiya Chang, 32.Zhizhao Chen, 35.Tixiang Li, 36.ZhengYu Hung
Substitutes: 4.Geng Zhang, 5.Jiaqi Zhang, 6.Haojian Cai, 13.Chugui Ye, 14.Marko Perovic, 17.Chenlong Zhang, 19.Jihong Jiang, 23.Lin Lu, 24.Jiajian Mai, 25.Feng Han, 26.Junliang Ma, Zhi Xiao, Yuyang Li, Weiming Chen, Shuaishuai Shen