Mooy magic downs defiant Eagles

A moment of magic from Melbourne City FC's midfield magician Aaron Mooy has sealed his side's passage into the Westfield FFA Cup's Round of 16.

But it was far easy for City against a valiant Edgeworth Eagles FC, who went close to causing the upset of the round against the more fancied A-League side.

In a tight contest at Magic Park in Newcastle, two superb free kicks from Mooy helped City edge out an energetic Eagles outfit 2-1 in the Round of 32 encounter.

The eventual decider came in the second minute of additional time, after City went behind to a first half penalty from Bren Abbott-Hammel.

Mooy restored parity in the first half, before he sealed the match in dramatic circumstances at the death with a sensational free kick.

But it looked as thought the Eagles – who more than matched City in the second half – were destined to force the visitors into extra time.

In a competition that prides itself on ‘the magic of the Cup’ it appeared that there would be magic of a kind at Magic Park.

Probably not the magic Melbourne City FC had wanted in its Round of 32 clash - especially after bowing out in the opener in 2014 - but the Eagles would have embraced the magic that sees the underdog prevail over a more fancied opponent.

As City took to the field to challenge Edgeworth, most pundits would have ranked John van’t Schip’s side as heavy favourite. But in the FFA Cup, as witnessed in its inaugural campaign last season, anything can happen.

Thankfully for City, it was the magic of Mooy’s right boot that salvaged a result, with the match looking destined for two periods of extra time and perhaps penalties.

Despite City dominating much of the opening stanza, the magic of the cup was well and truly alive for the underdog as the Eagles pleasantly surprised the home crowd – first winning a penalty and then converting it in style to take a shock 1-0 in the 25th minute.

But Mooy, City’s Mr Consistent last season, restored parity for City in a half that was far from reflective of City’s first half display.

City outshot the home side 14 shots to two and maintained 60 per cent possession at the close of the half, with Harry Novillo looking threatening on the left and National Youth League prospect Stefan Zinni showing excellent pace on the right.

But despite carving out a number of chances, City were unable to string together the right move to connect with striker Wade Dekker, who had earned a starting berth after being elevated to the senior list yesterday.

Novillo fired a wild warning shot into the air in the fifth minute as City looked to pressure the host early, with the former Lyon winger striking a set piece wide of goal, before Zinni powered another shot waywardly over the bar.

City looked most dangerous through set pieces with the Eagles defending smartly and preventing the visitors space in its final third, while Dekker in particular was marked closely.

The hosts meanwhile managed to cause City the most problems with low balls into the box.

The first troublesome delivery almost ended in an own goal from captain Patrick Kisnorbo, who skewed an interception into the thankful arms of goalkeeper Tando Velaphi in the 22nd minute.

Three minutes later and another dangerous Eagles attack caused the ball to ricochet around the penalty area before Kisnorbo conceded a penalty with a rather clumsy tackle on his opponent.

Abbott-Hammel stepped up to give the Eagles a surprise 1-0 lead, beating the outstretched Velaphi who had guessed the right way, but failed to get a hand on the well-taken spot kick.

However, the joy for the home side was relatively short-lived. City responded through Mooy’s first free-kick from 25m which found the top corner and left ‘keeper Ben Smith stranded.

But there was a sense that the Eagles wouldn’t capitulate – and they didn’t.

Holding City to 1-1 at the break, the home side came out looking the more positive side in the second stanza and kept van’t Schip’s side on the back foot for long periods.

Never really entering second gear or finding its rhythm, City still managed to create openings as Mooy, who was at the centre of most of City’s attacks, turned Zinni’s clever cut back agonisingly wide near the hour mark.

Novillo then powered in a great effort, which was saved by Eagles’ custodian, before Paartalu shot inches over the bar in the 83rd minute as the match edged towards extra time.

As City pushed for the elusive winner, Novillo won two free kicks in the opening two minutes of additional time. The first, taken by Novillo, was blocked by a frantic Eagles wall.

The second found the net through Mooy. With the clock running down, Mooy composed himself over the ball before executing an exceptional set piece, saving City’s blushes and ending Edgeworth’s dream of a magic upset in the Cup.

The win qualifys City for the FFA Cup's Round of 16.

Match Summary

Westfield FFA Cup - Round of 32

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Edgeworth Eagles FC 1 (Bren ABBOTT-HAMMEL 25' [PEN]) 

Melbourne City FC 2 (Aaron MOOY 34' 92')

Magic Park, Newcastle

Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones

Edgeworth FC 1 (Hammel 26’ (pen))

Melbourne City FC 2 (Mooy 35’, 90+3’)

Crowd: 2,430 @ Magic Park

Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones

Edgeworth FC starting line-up: 20.Ben SMITH (gk), 3.Aaron McLOUGHLIN, 4.Ayden BRICE, 5.Patrick WHEELER, 6.Luke WALKER (c), 7.Bren ABBOT-HAMMEL, 8.Josh EVANS, 9.Brody TAYLOR, 10.Keanu MOORE, 11.Dylan HOLZ, 12.Brenton OLZOMER

Substitutes not used: 1.Jim FOGARTY (gk), 2.Cameron HUGHES, 13.Lachlan PASQUALE, 14.Justin TANNOCK, 15.Domenico BIZZARI

Yellow cards: Nil

Red cards: Nil

Melbourne City FC starting line-up: 20.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 6.Erik PAARTALU, 8.Aaron MOOY, 9.Harry NOVILLO, 11.Michael ZULLO, 15.Stefan ZINNI, 17.Wade DEKKER, 18.Paulo RETRE, 21.Stefan MAUK, 22.Jack CLISBY, 24.Patrick KISNORBO

Substitutes not used: 2.Mahmut Ali EYIGUN, 13.Jonatan GERMANO, 19.Philip PETRESKI, 27.Luka PRELEVIC, 40.Yaren SOZER (gk)

Yellow cards: Nil

Red cards: Nil