Melbourne City FC have marched into the Semi Finals of the Westfield FFA Cup 2015 with a comprehensive 5-0 win over National Premier Leagues (NPL) Victoria side Heidelberg United on Tuesday night.
A blitzing second-half hat-trick from Socceroos midfielder Aaron Mooy - along with a brace to Bruno Fornaroli - was enough to see John van’t Schip’s side progress to the last four of the tournament
It was not all smooth sailing for City despite the emphatic score-line, with goalkeeper Tando Velaphi making a spectacular save to deny Kaine Sheppard with the score at 1-0, in what was an impressive performance between the posts.
The historic Olympic Village stadium was rocking with supporters from both clubs, with an astonishing 11,372 fans arriving in droves to experience Heidelberg’s warm hospitality and star Greek international Kostas Katsouranis in action for the home side.
Despite a host of first team regulars sitting on the sidelines, City fielded a starting XI with a blend of youth and experience.
Youth team product Hernan Espindola made his first competitive start for the Club since signing on as an injury replacement, while Mooy, Robi Koren and Erik Paartalu made up a formidable trio in the middle of the park.
With a spot in the Semi Final of the FFA Cup at stake, it only took two minutes for City to stamp their authority on the contest, with Fornaroli slamming home the opening goal from the six yard area after some expert interplay from Mooy and Wade Dekker.
Mooy was in a bullish mood in the opening minutes and nearly doubled the advantage with a deflected long-range effort that narrowly sailed wide, before forcing goalkeeper Griffin McMaster to parry away a darting free kick.
The early goal allowed City to settle and press forward, with Jack Clisby rattling the post with a header in the 9th minute and Mooy side footing wide after capitalising on a defensive error.
With City dominant in general play, Heidelberg fashioned their first opportunity on goal in the 17th minute, with star man Katsouranis skewing a difficult volley high and wide of the goal after latching on to a clearance from Clisby.
And they were denied a certain equaliser only two minutes later as Velaphi pulled off a spectacular diving save to keep out Sheppard’s sweeping effort from point blank range.
The chances continued to flow for City at the other end, with McMaster racing off his line to thwart Fornaroli, before Paulo Retre saw his long range effort cleared off the line by Steven Pace.
Sheppard continued to make a nuisance of himself up front for the home side and saw a lethal effort superbly blocked by City captain Patrick Kisnorbo, while McMaster kept his team in the game with a crucial finger-tip block to deny Koren.
Velaphi showed a strong pair of hands three minutes from half-time to thwart Sheppard’s effort at the near post, as City entered the break with a precarious one goal advantage.
A marauding run from Hernan Espindola gave City a set-piece opportunity immediately after the restart, with Mooy’s curling free kick sensationally headed out of the top corner by Heidelberg captain Luke Byles.
City were firmly in the ascendancy and continued to create opportunities in attack, with Mooy stinging the palms of McMaster and Erik Paartalu firing the rebound high into the scoreboard behind the goals.
McMaster was proving to be the busier goalkeeper and was called into action again in the 63rd minute, springing to his left to deny Koren’s low drive before Mooy saw his rebound ruled out for offside.
But Mooy would then dazzle the crowd with a two scintillating moments of quality, twice drilling home low efforts past McMaster within the space of five minutes to fire City into a 3-0 lead.
Heidelberg searched for a ticket back into the match and came close to reducing the deficit in the 75th minute through substitute Kenny Athiu, who could only direct a looping header over the crossbar.
Mooy would soon complete his hat-trick, pouncing on the rebound after McMaster made a brilliant save, while Fornaroli put the icing on the cake in injury time with his second goal to seal City’s progression to the Semi Finals.
Westfield FFA Cup 2015 Quarter Final
Tuesday, 29 September 2015
Heidelberg United 0
Melbourne City FC 5 (Bruno FORNAROLI 2’, 90+2’, Aaron MOOY 65’, 69’ 84’)
Venue: Olympic Village, Heidelberg
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Melbourne City FC Line-up: 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 6. Erik PAARTALU (Jason TRIFIRO 77’), 8. Aaron MOOY, 10. Robert KOREN, 17. Wade DEKKER (Stefan MAUK 66’), 18. Paulo RETRE, 22. Jack CLISBY, 23. Bruno FORNAROLI, 24. Patrick KISNORBO (C), 30. Hernan ESPINDOLA (Stefan ZINNI 54’)
Substitutes not used: 1. Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 19. Matthew MILLAR, 21.
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
Heidelberg United Line-up: 23. Griffin MCMASTER, 3. Leslie DOUMBALIS, 4. John LAZARIDIS (Andreas GOVAS 75’), 7. Ruben WAY, 9. Kostas KANAKARIS (Mark MCGOUGH 82), 10. Jack PETRIE, 13. Luke BYLES (C), 17. Steven PACE, 20. Nejc KOLMAN (Kenny ATHIU 67’), 21. Kostas KATSOURANIS, 22. Kaine SHEPPARD
Substitutes not used: 1. Jason KOUTSODONTIS (GK), 24. Andrew CARTANOS
Yellow cards: Katsouranis 46’, Kanakaris 79, Athiu 90+4
Red cards: nil