A brace from captain Bruno Fornaroli helped Melbourne City to a 2-1 win over reigning A-League champions Adelaide United at AAMI Park on Friday night.
The Uruguayan stole the show with another trademark performance in attack, netting a sensational curling effort and a cheeky panenka from the penalty spot either side of the break to fire City to a 2-0 lead.
A maiden A-League goal to Sergio Guardiola gave the Reds a ticket back into the contest with 25 minutes to play, but John van’t Schip’s side looked in control throughout and held firm to register its second win in the space of four days.
The win moves City temporarily into second place behind Sydney FC on goal difference, with the Club’s FFA Cup Final opponents in action against Newcastle Jets on Saturday.
Head Coach John van’t Schip opted to shuffle his pack for the visit of the defending champions, making four changes to the side which sealed an FFA Cup Final berth on Tuesday night.
Given City’s busy schedule and the depth within the playing squad, rotation was always going to be on the cards.
One player determined to make an impact on his return to the starting line-up was winger Bruce Kamau.
He was certainly up for the clash against his former side. Kamau was in the thick of the action as City dominated possession in the early stages, coming close to opening the scoring with a cracking drive that skimmed the top of the crossbar.
That strike served a notice of City’s attacking intent as the home side continued to manufacture openings with slick ball movement and quick passing.
But it was a moment of pure genius from Fornaroli which breached the Reds defence inside the opening quarter of an hour.
The energetic Fernando Brandan seized on a turnover from the Reds defence and fed a driven pass to Fornaroli who looked up, picked his spot, and curled a stunning effort past an outstretched Eugene Galekovic to open the scoring.
City were in total control as Adelaide struggled to adapt to the home side’s high pressing game. Fornaroli missed a golden opportunity to double the lead from Luke Brattan’s pin-point cross, blazing his half volley just wide of the post.
You couldn’t discount the Reds from pinching a goal, however, and City dodged a couple of bullets during the opening half as youngster Ryan Kitto twice smashed efforts against the woodwork.
Adelaide would rue their wastefulness in-front of goal only 10 minutes into the second half when City were awarded with a spot-kick after Sergio Guardiola was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box.
Up stepped Fornaroli, who stepped up to the spot with the upmost confidence and chipped a panenka right down the middle to double City’s lead.
When Guardiola headed home from point blank range with under half an hour to play, it was game on.
City responded instantly as Kamau stung the palms of Galekovic at the near post, while Dean Bouzanis had to be on his toes to prevent Elrich’s cross-turned-shot from finding the top corner.
The Reds nearly snatched a point with five minutes to play, but Dylan McGowan could only blaze an effort from inside the City penalty area over the crossbar as John van’t Schip’s side registered its third win of the season.
Hyundai A-League – Round 4
Melbourne City FC 2 (Bruno FORNAROLI 11’, 56 [pen])
Adelaide United 1 (Sergi GUARDIOLA 65’)
Venue: AAMI Park
Referee: Chris Beath
Melbourne City FC: 20. Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Josh ROSE, 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 6. Osama MALIK, 8. Neil KILKENNY, 11. Bruce KAMAU (Nick FITZGERALD 82’), 18. Paulo RETRE 23. Bruno FORNAROLI, 26. Luke BRATTAN (Anthony CACERES 86’), 27. Fernando BRANDAN (Christian CAVALLO 90+3)
Substitutes not used: 1. Thomas SORENSEN (gk), 21. Ruon TONGYIK,
Head Coach: John van’t Schip
Yellow Cards: Rose 29’, Fornaroli 38’, Kilkenny 66’, Brandan 78’, Retre 81’
Red cards: nil
Adelaide United: 1. Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 3.Iacopo La Rocca, 4. Dylan McGowan, 8.ISAIAS, 9. Sergio GUARDIOLA, 14. George MELLS (Riley McGREE 74’), 16. Jesse MAKAROUNAS (Danny CHOI 65’), 19. Benjamin GARUCCIO, 21. Tarek ELRICH, 22, Ryan KITTO (Marc MARINO 80’), 24. Jordan O’DOHERTY
Substitutes not used: 5.Taylor REGAN, 20. John HALL (GK)
Head Coach: Guillermo Amor
Yellow cards: Isaias 35’, McGowan 39’, Elrich 52’, Makarounas 54’
Red cards: nil