Melbourne City FC has registered its first victory of the 2015-16 Hyundai A-League season, defeating the Central Coast Mariners 3-1 at AAMI Park on Sunday evening.
In City’s first home game of the new campaign, both sides found the back-of-the-net within the opening 15 minutes but two goals after the break from Bruno Fornaroli saw the hosts comfortably over the line.
Following the week’s FFA Cup exit, City welcomed back four players to its starting XI as Thomas Sorensen, Paulo Retre, Stefan Zinni and captain Patrick Kisnorbo took their place in John van’t Schip’s side.
Both ‘keepers were tested in the game’s opening stages with Mariners’ Nick Fitzgerald forcing Sorenson into a fine save while Aaron Mooy’s free-kick saw Paul Izzo intervene low to his right.
The returning Kisnorbo however handed his side the lead just after the 10-minute mark, rising highest from Mooy's in-swinging free-kick to fire a bullet header past Izzo to open the scoring.
Two minutes later, parity was quickly restored for the Mariners.
Cutting in from the left, Fitzgerald struck his attempt from 25-yards, tucking his effort just past the outstretched Sorensen.
The hosts however thought that they had restored its lead after 15 minutes as Mooy’s vicious free-kick was parried off the line by Izzo.
Van’t Schip’s front three was proving difficult to contain for the visitor’s defence as Zinni – combing with Fornaroli – came agonizingly close to reinstating City’s lead.
The Uruguayan’s piercing ball found the feet of Zinni, who could only steer his attempt onto the outer side of the upright.
Chances continued to flow for the hosts with Mooy and Zinni both directing their respective opportunities over Izzo’s frame close to the interval.
Tony Walmsey’s charges were next to find the back-of-the-net five minutes from the break with Fabio Ferreira tucking the ball past Sorensen, only to be ruled off-side by the referee’s assistant.
City nevertheless capitalized on its insurgency, adding its second seven minutes after the restart.
Immediately following his introduction, David Williams teed up Fornaroli with a precise cutback, picking out the striker to finish from eight yards.
Substitute Corey Gameiro then almost added a third for his side after 54 minutes, nodding Mooy’s cross into the ground, then bouncing over the crossbar.
The home support thought Fornaroli was next to capitalize for their side.
Following up Gameiro’s strike, the Uruguayan tucked in the rebound past Izzo, but was unfortunately adjudicated to have been in an offside position.
The striker however had no such issues ten minutes later.
With a neat turn on the edge of the area, Fornaroli’s strike proved too much to contain for Izzo, beating the ‘keeper to add in his fifth goal in all competitions.
The Mariners were denied of a consolation late in proceedings as Fitzgerald’s effort was deemed to have been offside.
Hyundai A-League 2015/16 - Round 3
Melbourne City FC 3 (Kisnorbo 11’, Fornaroli 54’ 72’)
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Fitzgerald 13’) [HT 1-1]
Referee: Chris Beath
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Melbourne City FC line-up: 1. Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 18. Paulo RETRE, 24. Patrick KISNORBO ©, 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 25. Jacob MELLING, 8. Aaron MOOY, 21. Stefan MAUK (16. Jason TRIFIRO 81’), 28. Steve KUZMANOVSKI (7. Corey GAMEIRO, 55’), 23. Bruno FORNAROLI, 34. Stefan ZINNI (15. David WILLIAMS 48’).
Unused Substitutes: 50. Alexander PAVLIDIS (GK), 36. Matthew MILLAR.
Yellow Cards: Garruccio (25’), Melling (85’), Williams (90+3).
Red Cards: None.
Central Coast Mariners line-up: 1. Paul IZZO (GK), 2. Storm ROUX, 22. Jake McGING, 5. Harry ASCROFT (14. Daniel HEFFERNAN 82’), 21. Michael NEILL, 8. Nick MONTGOMERY (16. Liam ROSE 61’), 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 10, Anthony CACERES, 6. Mitchell AUSTIN (18. Glen TRIFIRO 74’), 7. Fabio FERREIRA, 9. Roy O’DONOVAN.
Unused Substitutes: 30. Adam PEARCE (GK), 3. Joshua ROSE.
Yellow Cards: Ferreira (4’), Montgomery (58’).
Red Cards: None