A stunning second-half comeback from the Newcastle Jets saw Melbourne City FC fall to a devastating 2-3 loss at AAMI Park on Friday night.
John van’t Schip’s side appeared to be cruising to a second consecutive Hyundai A-League win when Aaron Mooy and Stefan Mauk fired City into a 2-0 first-half lead.
But a gallant Jets outfit rallied in the second half as Ben Kantarovski pulled a goal back, before Milos Trifunovic equalized from the penalty spot after Wade Dekker was penalised for handball.
The Serbian striker would then be the hero for Newcastle, heading home the winner from David Carney’s set-piece to put an end to City’s eleven match unbeaten record in all competitions at AAMI Park.
After an impressive 3-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners last weekend, Head Coach van’t Schip made only one change to the starting line-up which took the field in Round 3.
David Williams made his first A-League start of the season after impressing with a bright substitute cameo last week - replacing Stefan Zinni on the left-side of the front three - while Jack Clisby took his place on the bench after recovering from a quad injury.
Bruno Fornaroli was the star of the show last week with a brace against the Mariners and nearly fired City ahead on two occasions inside the opening five minutes. The Uruguayan first blazed an effort into the side netting, before rising high to smash a powerful header agonisingly wide of the target.
It was all one way traffic in the opening period as the Jets were content to sit deep and absorb pressure, as City deservedly took the lead in the 12th minute. Marquee man Mooy picked up possession outside the area and deceived his marker with a well disguised turn, before firing in a shot which cannoned off Jason Hoffman and into the net.
The Jets had an excellent opportunity to pull a goal back in the 20th minute when Nigel Boogaard found himself in acres of space at the back-post, but the Jets skipper could only send his header wide of the target.
And the visitors were punished only two minutes later as City doubled their advantage courtesy of a superb team goal. An excellent combination on the edge of the area allowed David Williams to slip Stefan Mauk through on goal, with the midfielder bundling the ball past Mark Birighitti to make it 2-0.
The Jets responded with a much improved start to the second-half and brought themselves back into the contest with a goal before the hour mark. Mateo Poljak floated a teasing ball towards the back post and Kantarovski soared highest, nodding past Thomas Sorensen to make it 2-1.
City nearly responded instantly as Fornaroli displayed great skill to weave past two Jets defenders inside the penalty area, but his shot was brilliantly saved by Birighitti and substitute Corey Gameiro could only blaze the rebound over the bar.
The miss would prove to be costly when the Jets were awarded with a penalty in the 72nd minute after Dekker was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area.
Trifunovic made no mistake, burying his penalty into the top corner past Sorensen to level the scores.
Brimming with confidence after the equalizer, the Jets were nearly ahead only minutes later when Trifunovic’s header was saved by Sorensen, but Patrick Kisnorbo made a superb last-ditch block to deny Carney an open goal.
But the Serbian striker would not be denied his second goal, heading an inch-perfect free-kick from Carney past Sorensen to complete the comeback.
Hyundai A-League Round 4
Friday, 30 October 2015
Melbourne City FC 2 (Aaron MOOY 12’, Stefan MAUK 22’)
Newcastle Jets 3 (Ben KANTAROVSKI 58’, Milos TRIFUNOVIC, 74’ [pen], 79’)
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Jared Gillett
Melbourne City FC Line-up: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 8. Aaron MOOY, 15. David WILLIAMS (Corey GAMEIRO 55’), 18. Paulo RETRE, 19. Benjamin GARUCCIO, 21. Stefan MAUK, 23. Bruno FORNAROLI, 24. Patrick KISNORBO (C), 25. Jacob MELLING (Matthew MILLAR 75’), 28. Steve KUZMANOVSKI (Wade DEKKER 55’)
Substitutes not used: 50. Alexander PAVLIDIS (GK), 22. Jack CLISBY
Yellow Cards: Kuzmanovski 27’, Gameiro 78’
Red Cards: Nil
Newcastle Jets Line-up: 1. Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK), 2. Daniel MULLEN, 3. Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (C), 5.Benjamin KANTAROVSKI, 7.Enver ALIVODIC, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 9.Milos TRIFUNOVIC, 13.Kjie LEE, 14. Mitch COOPER (Cameron WATSON 48’), 23. David CARNEY
Substitutes not used: 20.Ben KENNEDY (GK), 6. Cameron WATSON, 17.Radovan PAVICEVIC, 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 24.Nicholas COWBURN
Yellow Cards: Hoffman 15’, Kantarovski 42’, Lee 59’, Carney 64’, Trifunovic 80’, Birighitti 84’
Red Cards: nil