Melbourne City FC have produced a ruthless second half display to record a superb 4-1 victory over Brunswick City SC at Dunstan Reserve on Saturday.
After trailing inside the opening ten minutes courtesy of a penalty from Brunswick striker Juan Portillo, second half goals to Hernan Espindola, Anthony Rizk and Wade Dekker proved to be the difference as Joe Montemurro’s side rallied from a half-time deficit to secure a stunning come-from-behind victory.
City controlled majority of the play throughout the first half as the hosts were content to defend deep on the counter attack, but were caught on their heels in the eighth minute when Rizk brought down Dimitri Vithoulkas inside the penalty area.
Captain Portillo made no mistake from the penalty spot, sending City goalkeeper Yaren Sozer the wrong way to fire Brunswick City into an early 1-0 lead.
Despite absorbing a wave of pressure from their much-fancied opponents, it was Brunswick who nearly doubled their advantage, with Sozer clawing a misdirected cross from Portillo out of the top corner in the 16th minute, before the hosts were denied a second goal for a foul inside the penalty area.
Melbourne City FC fashioned their first opportunity on goal in the 22nd minute when Brunswick goalkeeper Jason Crea’s punch fell to Espindola, who could only direct a looping header onto the roof of the net.
The hosts continued to frustrate City with their physical approach to the contest and were resolute in defence for the remainder of the first period, with Luka Prelevic going close from a free-kick after Stefan Zinni was cynically brought down by Frank Serratore.
City came close to levelling the scores shortly after the restart when Dekker was given time and space to shoot from distance, firing an effort narrowly wide of the target with Crea well beaten.
Brunswick continued to threaten on the counter and nearly found themselves with a two goal cushion, with Matthew Murphy only able to direct a free header into the hands of Sozer after wriggling clear of his marker inside the penalty area.
The home side were made to pay for the missed chance in the 57th minute when Rizk fired home the equalizing goal, smashing home an excellent centre from Espindola as City began to translate their dominance onto the scoreboard.
Anthony Ianchello nearly provided Brunswick with the perfect response only a minute later, lashing in a low effort across goal that was beaten away superbly by the strong right hand of Sozer.
City were gifted a golden opportunity to take the lead when Crea was penalised for handling a back-pass, with Espindola’s resulting indirect free-kick cleared off the line superbly by Brunswick defender Nick Tzoulis.
Firmly entrenched in their own half, the home side continued to defend doggedly, with Murphy making another excellent goal-line clearance as City began to ramp up the intensity.
And the pressure eventually took its toll in the 74th minute when Zinni’s electric run was halted abruptly by Duglas Mendez inside the penalty area. Espindola could only fire his penalty against the post, but the winger was on hand to tap in Leo Athanasiou’s cut-back to fire City into the lead.
City began to run riot in the attacking third as Brunswick’s resistance seemed to wither to an end, with Crea rushing out to smother a shot from Dekker after Luka Prelevic had danced around the defence with ease.
However Dekker would finally put his name on the score sheet in the 80th minute, playing a neat one-two with Espindola and calmly side-footing the ball into the back of the net to effectively end the contest.
Espindola capped off an impressive individual performance with his second goal only three minutes from time, surging into the box and finishing emphatically past Crea to put the icing on the cake.
Brunswick City 1 (Juan PORTILLO 8’ pen).
Melbourne City FC 4 (Anthony RIZK 56’, Hernan ESPINDOLA, 75’, 86’, Wade DEKKER 79’)
Melbourne City FC Line-up: 1. Yaren SOZER (GK), 4. Jordon HALL, 5. Leo ATHANASIOU, 6. Phil PETRESKI (Joseph MONEK 75’), 7. Hernan ESPINDOLA, 9. Wade DEKKER (Tom BARFOROSH 82’), 10. Luka PRELEVIC, 11. Stefan ZINNI, 12. Anthony RIZK, 13. Haralambos STAMBOULIDIS, 16. Matthew MILLAR (Ratip CILELI 70’)
Substitutes not-used: 20. Jack WEST-ASTUTI, 22. Mehdi SARWARI.
Yellow cards: Monek 90+2
Red cards: nil
Brunswick City Line-up: 15. Jake CREA (GK), 17. Evan KARAVATIS, 63. Duglas MENDEZ, 45. Frank SERRATORE (Lucas AOUN 83’), 3. Michael VARKOPOULOS, 48. Nick TZOULIS, 50. Resit CULCULOGLU, 18. Matthew MURPHY, 35. Anthony IANCHELLO, 00. Dimitri VITHOULKAS (Peter CONSTANTINOU 80’), 10. Juan PORTILLO (Ahmet TURER 54’).
Substitutes not-used: 1. Christy BENNETT-SPARK (GK), 8. George MARKELIS.
Yellow cards: Mendez 5’, Serratore 27’, Crea 38’
Red cards: nil