Melbourne City FC kicked off its PlayStation 4 2016 National Premier Leagues 2 West campaign in style with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Bendigo City on Saturday night.
Goals to Phil Petreski, Stefan Zinni, Jordan Hall and Giuseppe Marafioti secured a convincing first round away win at Epsom Huntly Reserve, with City and Moreland Zebras the only two clubs to register opening day victories in the NPL 2 West competition.
With the windy conditions in Bendigo causing havoc for both sides, it was City who took the lead through a sensational set-piece from Petreski.
Lining up his free-kick on the right apex of the 18-yard-box, Petreski picked his spot with ease, curling an effort past the despairing dive of Bendigo goalkeeper Robert Munday and into the top corner to make it 1-0.
City were in complete control and doubled its advantage in the 30th minute when the pacey Zinni was on hand to fire a loose ball through the legs of Munday, after Christopher Cristaldo saw his initial effort saved by the Bendigo ‘keeper.
Marafioti came close to making it 3-0 shortly after, latching on to a fizzing cross from Zinni before firing an effort narrowly wide of the post, as City entered the break with a comfortable advantage.
City continued the second half in the same attacking vein and were denied a third goal when Munday stood up tall to keep out Cristaldo’s shot with his feet, while the hosts missed a golden chance to pull a goal back when David Younan blazed a free header over the crossbar.
The miss proved to be costly for Bendigo as City trebled the lead in the 55th minute, with defender Hall rising highest from a corner to fire a header past Munday and give City a comfortable 3-0 advantage.
Marafioti put the icing on the cake for City with under 20 minutes to play, controlling another dangerous cross from Zinni at the back post, before steering the ball into the bottom corner to fire the Club to a convincing Round 1 win.
City’s under-20 side also made a perfect start to its NPL 2 title defence, registering a 2-1 win over Bendigo City.
Melbourne City FC will aim to continue its excellent start to the NPL 2 West season when it faces Whittlesea Ranges at Epping Stadium on Saturday, February 27.
National Premier Leagues West 2 – Round 1
Saturday February 20, 2016
Bendigo City SC 0
Melbourne City FC 4
Venue: Epsom Huntly Reserve, Bendigo
Melbourne City FC line-up: 40. Yaren SOZER (GK), 35. Phil PETRESKI, 44. Jordan HALL, 43. Tomislav FADJLEVIC, 5. Baley ROW, 39. Austin WONG, 6. Denis GENREAU, 57. Giuseppe MARAFIOTI, 41. Yusuf AHMED, 46. Christopher CRISTALDO, 34. Stefan ZINNI.
Substitutes: 42. Jack WEST-ASTUTI (GK), 47. William NUTTAL, 38. Nicholas GONZALEZ, 37. Tom BARFOROSH, 36. Marcus DIMANCHE
Bendigo City line-up: 1. Robert MUNDAY (GK), 2. Daniel PURDY, 3. Joshua BAUER, 4. Issac COMMADEUR, 5. Dillon MAIKOUSIS, 6. Joe WILLIAMS, 7. Lachlan BEEVER, 8. George MCHEILEH, 9. Godwill BASHA, 10. David YOUNAN, 11. Vladimir KAHMEES.
Substitutes: 20. Dante THOMAS, 13. Ronaldo YOUSEF, 14. Alkin KELES, 15. Carl O’KEEFE, 16. Say KAPAW