Melbourne City has prevailed in its first pre-season friendly of the 2018/19 season, defeating Indian Super League outfit Kerala Blasters on Tuesday night.
Two first half goals to Dario Vidosic and Riley McGree set the visitors on course for a strong victory before City’s young brigade entered the game to put the result beyond doubt.
Lachlan Wales, Ramy Najjarine, Bruno Fornaroli and a second to McGree wowed the local fans at the capacity Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi as City flexed their muscle against their Indian opponents.
The result means City sits atop of the Toyota Yarris La Liga World tournament standings as they prepare for their final match in Kochi against La Liga side Girona.
It was a number of new and familiar faces to the starting side that took the field as Warren Joyce handed City debuts to Wales, McGree and Michael O’Halloran. Joyce used his full compliment bar goalkeeper James Delianov during the second half as City powered home.
A sold out Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium greeted both sides in their first pre-season match as Melbourne City looked to put the past three weeks of pre-season into action in Kochi.
The A-League side showed their class from the start as sharp combination play in the forward half set the tone in the opening stages. Anthony Caceres and O’Halloran looked lively in the first 15 minutes as the duo peppered the Kerala penalty area with dangerous runs forward.
Despite a settling period for the hosts, it would be City to strike first after 30 minutes as a patient build up on the right saw Luke Brattan curl a pinpoint ball onto the head of Dario Vidosic who made no mistake from eight yards.
The dominance didn’t end there for City as they doubled their lead three minutes later. A brilliant combination in the midfield saw Riley McGree finish with aplomb on the edge of the area, opening his City account with an impressive strike.
O’Halloran was yet again in the thick of the action and his closest effort on goal came after 41 minutes as he forced a sprawling save from Deeraj Singh from 25 yards.
The second half gave an opportunity to the full list of City’s travelling group to impress the coaching staff as the heavens opened in Kochi.
City picked up where they left off after 50 minutes as Wales became the second City debutant on the scoresheet before McGree completed his brace five minutes later.
Impressive performances from Najjarine as well as Connor Metcalfe, Gianluca Iannucci, Josh Cavallo would have caught the eye of City fans from afar as Bruno Fornaroli capped off the result with a signature finish.
Melbourne City’s final match in India will be against La Liga side and fellow City Football Group club Girona on Friday 27 July at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, kick-off 11.30pm AEST.