Melbourne City FC put on an attacking master-class to record a 4-2 win over Adelaide United in an entertaining contest at Coopers Stadium on Thursday night.
City got the ball rolling early when Erik Paartalu capped off his return to the first team with a near-post header in the eighth minute, before Aaron Mooy doubled the advantage with a blistering strike to give John van’t Schip’s side a 2-0 lead into the break.
Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen was instrumental in keeping a determined Adelaide United attack at bay, until a second-half brace from Bruno Fornaroli propelled City to its second win of the Hyundai A-League season – despite the Reds pulling goals back through Sergio Cirio and Pablo Sanchez.
Looking to bounce back from a disappointing result last week, Head Coach van’t Schip made only one change to the starting line-up which faced the Newcastle Jets.
The return of Paartalu in midfield saw Stefan Mauk line-up on the right-side of attack in place of Steve Kuzmanovski, while Harry Novillo and Aaron Hughes featured on the substitutes bench following their return from injury.
With both sides exchanging early fouls in a robust start to proceedings, it was City who nearly took the lead after four minutes, with skipper Patrick Kisnorbo heading a swinging free-kick from Aaron Mooy over the crossbar.
The Reds were determined to put an end to their barren streak in-front of goal – Adelaide’s previous two goals this season were own goals - and the home side were nearly ahead inside five minutes.
A superb through ball from Marcelo Carrusca saw Bruce Djite spring the off-side trap, but it was Sorensen to the rescue for City; the big Dane spreading himself well to make an excellent one-on-one block.
City were presented with a golden chance to open the scoring only two minutes later when a piercing through-ball from Mooy sent David Williams clean through on goal, only for Craig Goodwin to deny a certain goal with a superb last-ditch tackle.
The missed opportunity wouldn’t prove to be too costly as Partaalu fired City into the lead from the resulting corner, bustling through the Reds defence to head home Mooy’s swerving corner past John Hall at the near post.
The Reds continued to create chances in attack and it took a strong right hand from Sorensen to prevent Jimmy Jeggo’s stinging effort from creeping into the far corner, before Osama Malik went close with a free header that sailed over the bar.
But it was another moment of magic from marquee man Mooy which doubled City’s advantage in the 35th minute. A clever dummy from Fornaroli allowed Jacob Melling to tee-up Mooy, who unleashed a scorching drive which cannoned in off the underside of the crossbar.
The Reds flew out of the blocks after half-time in search of a way back into the match, with Sorensen rushing out quickly to prevent Djite from turning home Goodwin’s arrowing cut-back.
Bruno Fornaroli had two golden opportunities with in the space of minutes to extend City’s advantage, first mistiming a free header inside the six-yard box, before firing another effort wide of the target after another piercing pass from Mooy.
But it would soon be third time lucky for the Uruguayan in the 56th minute after some encouraging interplay with substitute Harry Novillo. A pin-point pass from the Frenchman found Fornaroli inside the area, who skipped past Goodwin and Malik with ease before firing past Hall to give City a comfortable 3-0 advantage.
Adelaide continued to surge forward as the game broke wide open, with Sorensen again proving his worth by beating away a blistering effort from Mate Dugandzic, until Cirio threw the Reds a lifeline with a neatly worked team goal in the 66th minute.
An excellent combination between Marcelo Carrusca and Dugandzic allowed Cirio to find space outside the area, curling in a superb effort past Sorensen to give his side hope with under half-an-hour to play.
The home side had the wind knocked out of their sails only four minutes later as Fornaroli turned home his second goal of the night, holding his run long enough to latch on to Novillo’s through ball before rounding Hall to complete a swift counter-attacking move.
Sorensen continued his stellar match between the posts to deny the Reds a late sniff of hope, winding back the clock with an astonishing one-handed save to deny a bullet header from Malik.
Adelaide ‘keeper Hall produced two moments of quality to prevent City from ramming home their advantage, showing superb reflexes to deny Fornaroli a hat-trick, before getting down quickly to parry Novillo’s bullet free kick onto the post.
Sanchez netted a late consolation from the penalty spot to reduce the deficit, but City were already well on their way to an impressive away win.
Hyundai A-League Round 5
Thursday, 5 November 2015
Adelaide United 2 (Sergio CIRIO 66’, Pablo SANCHEZ 85’)
Melbourne City FC 4 (Erik PAARTALU 8’, Aaron MOOY 35’, Bruno FORNAROLI 56’, 70’)
Venue: Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Melbourne City FC line-up: 1. Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 8.Aaron MOOY, 15. David WILLIAMS (Harry NOVILLO 55’), 18. Paulo RETRE, 19. Benjamin GARUCCIO (Jack CLISBY 73’), 21. Stefan MAUK (Stefan ZINNI 87’), 23. Bruno FORNAROLI, 24. Patrick KISNORBO (C), 25. Jacob MELLING.
Substitutes not used: 20. Tando VELAPHI, 3. Aaron HUGHES
Yellow cards: Melling 24', Paartalu 39', Sorensen 44', Clisby 79', Retre 90+ 4'
Red cards: nil
Adelaide United line-up: 20. John HALL (GK), 4. Dylan MCGOWAN, 5, Osama MALIK, 8. ISAIAS, 9. Sergio CIRIO, 10. Marcelo CARRUSCA (George MELLS 76’), 11. Bruce DJITE (C) (Pablo SANCHEZ 63’), 16. Craig GOODWIN, 17. Mate DUGANDZIC, 18. James JEGGO (Bruce KAMAU 63’), 21. Tarek ELRICH.
Substitutes not used: 2. Michael MARRONE, 30. John SOLARI (GK)
Yellow cards: Goodwin 4'
Red cards: nil