Key Battle: Roy O’Donovan v Bruno Fornaroli

If recent history is anything to go by, Sunday afternoon’s match between Melbourne City FC and Newcastle Jets will be full of end-to-end attacking football. Ahead of the match, we take a look at the key numbers between two of the league’s most prolific attackers, Bruno Fornaroli and Roy O’Donovan.

Both Bruno Fornaroli and Roy O’Donovan joined the Hyundai A-League in 2015, before making their marks on Australia’s top-flight football competition with their attacking prowess and goal scoring ability.

While Fornaroli has broken goal-scoring records as one-club player, O’Donovan represented Central Coast Mariners before making the switch to the Jets.

Despite their individual dominance over the past two seasons, both players have suffered from an injury interrupted 2017-18 season.

Fornaroli has played five games, including three starts, since his return form a long-term ankle injury, while O’Donovan has featured in 11 games, having started in 10, after suffering a groin injury.

There is no doubt that with each minute he has played, Fornaroli has moved a step closer to finding the form that once saw him stun the competition. He has scored two goals since his return, including his first from open play last weekend against Western Sydney. The Uruguayan also registered a delightful assist – his first for the season – with a superb back heal that found Stefan Mauk.

In comparison, O’Donovan has had no problems finding the back of the net either. The 32-year-old has scored seven goals, including one penalty, and registered two assists.   

In terms of shots on target, Fornaroli has six and O’Donovan 15. The City striker has proven to be the more accurate of the two so far this season, with a shooting accuracy percentage of 60% (O’Donovan – 55.6%).

One of Fornaroli’s greatest strengths on the football pitch is his ability to hold the ball and distribute it to his teammates. The 30-year-old’s strength over the ball allows him to play a role as the main target up front, allowing his teammates to bounce off him.

The strength of Fornaroli combined with his quick feet may not only reflect the amount of successful dribbles he has made (Fornaroli – 4, O’Donovan – 0), but also the amount of fouls he has won (Fornaroli – 13, O’Donovan – 15).

The City attacker has also demonstrated his willingness to work hard defensively; having won four tackles compared to O’Donovan’s two. Similarly, the Jets forward has made two clearances (Fornaroli – 0) and three interceptions (Fornaroli – 1).

With three games remaining until the Finals Series, both Warren Joyce and Ernie Merrick will be happy to see their star strikers back to full fitness and primed to target the business end of the season. But for now, full focus will be on this Sunday’s match.  

It’s a must-win match for City, and there is no doubt that Fornaroli can be the deciding factor. While for O’Donovan, he will be determined to make amends following a two-game suspension.

City play Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday, kick-off 5:00pm, before returning to AAMI Park for their last home game of the season against Central Coast Mariners on Saturday, 7th April, kick-off 7:50pm.