Melbourne City FC have booked their passage into the Quarter Finals of the Westfield FFA Cup 2015 in emphatic style, crushing the Wellington Phoenix 5-1 at AAMI Park on Wednesday Night.
A dazzling first-half display saw John van’t Schip’s men race into an early 3-0 lead, with penalties to Aaron Mooy and debutant Bruno Fornaroli scored either side of a trademark goal from Harry Novillo.
Wellington were given a sniff of hope when Roy Krishna lashed home another penalty – the third of four awarded by referee Lucien Lavedure for the evening – before Robert Koren restored City’s three goal advantage five minutes before the interval.
Wade Dekker put the icing on the cake five minutes after the restart, netting his first competitive goal for the Club as City turned in a commanding performance ahead of the upcoming Hyundai A-League season.
Novillo’s injury proved to be the only sour note of the game, after the Frenchman limped off with a suspected hamstring injury early in the first-half.
With both teams looking to find their feet early, it was the Phoenix who threatened with a set-piece opportunity in the second minute, with Matthew McGlinchey firing in a dangerous free-kick that was headed over the bar by Ben Sigmund.
City began to monopolise possession after a cagey opening period and fashioned a first opportunity on goal when Novillo released Koren inside the penalty area, but his effort was magnificently blocked by the lunging Sigmund.
Novillo himself came close to breaking the deadlock in the 16th minute, receiving a neat pass after some great hold-up play from Fornaroli and beating Lewis Italiano with a spectacular drive that cannoned off the crossbar.
The hosts continued to carve out a number of chances and it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 18th minute. A surging run from Stefan Zinni drew a foul from Manny Muscat, with Mooy coolly sending Italiano the wrong way to make it 1-0.
The opening goal proved to be the catalyst for a rampant display of attacking football as City began to steamroll a shell-shocked Phoenix defence. A speculative long-range effort from Michael Zullo threatened to catch Italiano off-his line, before Novillo doubled the advantage with a trademark finish.
Cutting inside from the left, the Frenchman twice deceived his markers with a well-disguised fake shot, and then lashed a brilliant effort across Italiano into the bottom corner as City threatened to run away with the contest.
The mood around the stadium was momentarily soured when Novillo limped off the ground, but was lifted again in the 31st minute when Italiano clumsily conceded a second penalty for bringing down Koren. Up stepped debutant Fornaroli, who fired his spot-kick down the middle to record his first ever Melbourne City FC goal.
The Phoenix were thrown a life-line almost immediately after conceding a third when Paulo Retre was adjudged to have fouled Alex Rufer inside the box, with Roy Krishna emphatically powering his penalty past Tando Velaphi to keep his team alive.
But any chance of a miraculous comeback was snuffed out only five minutes before half-time when Zinni’s teasing cross evaded a stagnant Wellington defence, allowing Koren to ghost in and slip the ball into the bottom corner to restore City’s three-goal advantage.
Substitute Dekker looked lively after replacing Novillo in the first-half, and was wheeling away in delight in the 50th minute, tapping home after some brilliant interplay from Fornaroli and Mooy to make it a resounding 5-1 lead.
The chances continued to flow for the home-side, with Fornaroli only a whisker away from turning home Koren’s fizzed cut-back into an empty net and Retre smashing an effort high and wide of the goal.
It took until the 82nd minute for the Phoenix to register their first chance of the second half, with Roly Bonevacia shooting harmlessly wide, before Velaphi was forced to tip a clever effort from Joel Stevens over the crossbar.
A nightmare evening for the away side was compounded two minutes from time when referee Laverdure gave Krishna another opportunity to net a consolation goal from the penalty spot, but Velaphi produced a magnificent save to parry the ball out of the bottom corner.
Stefan Mauk nearly added further insult to injury in the final minute of the match, playing a neat one-two with Erik Paartalu before forcing Italiano to save well with his feet.
Westfield FFA Cup 2015 Round of 16
Wednesday, 26 August 2015
Melbourne City FC 5 (Aaron MOOY 18’ [pen], Harry NOVILLO 21’, Bruno FORNAROLI 32’, Robi KOREN 40’, Wade DEKKER 49’)
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Roy KRISHNA 34’ [pen])
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Lucien Laverdure
Melbourne City FC Line-Up: 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 8. Aaron MOOY, 9. Harry NOVILLO (Wade DEKKER 29’), 10. Robert KOREN, 11. Michael ZULLO (Stefan MAUK 54’), 15. Stefan ZINNI (Jack CLISBY 46’), 18. Paulo RETRE, 23. Bruno FORNAROLI, 24. Patrick KISNORBO (C).
Substitutes not used: 40. Yaren SOZER (GK), 2. Ali EYIGUN
Yellow Cards: Aaron MOOY 65’
Red Cards: nil
Wellington Phoenix Line-Up: 20. Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 4. Roly BONEVACIA, 10. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 13. Albert RIERA, 14. Alex RUFER (Vince LIA 35’), 18. Ben SIGMUND (Tamupiwa DIMAIRO 36’), 21. Roy KRISHNA, 22. Andrew DURANTE (C), 23. Matthew RIDENTON (Joel STEPHENS 46’), 31. Andrew BLAKE.
Substitutes not used: 30. Oli SAIL (GK), 11.Kwabena APPIAH.
Yellow Cards: Roly BONEVACIA 67’, Vince LIA 71’, Roy KRISHNA 77’
Red Cards: nil