An impressive defensive display, coupled with two second-half goals sent Melbourne City FC into a semi-final following a 2-0 win over Wellington Phoenix.
Josh Kennedy’s deft touch on the end of Aaron Mooy’s strike on goal opened the scoring for City in the 60th minute with Harry Novillo securing the result, striking at the near post 12 minutes later.
The result sets up a semi-final against 2014/15 Hyundai A-League Premiers Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium this Friday night, kick-off 7:30pm.
Phoenix started the brighter, buoyed by its home support at Westpac Stadium and Socceroos livewire Nathan Burns fired a warning shot just wide of Velaphi’s upright in the opening minutes.
Melbourne City FC’s first sight on goal was a minute later when David Williams was slipped through on goal by a perfect Robert Koren through ball, but the striker dwelled on the ball a second too long, allowing Ben Sigmund to slide across and block the shot.
A clever short corner in the 26th minute saw Koren and Mooy combine with a swift one-two before Mooy fed the former Lyon winger as he fired in an effort from the top of the box that was cleared off the line.
Phoenix had a fantastic chance to take the lead just prior to the half hour mark as a fine McClinchey free kick curled onto the top of the cross bar.
The start of the second half was a mirror image of the first as Phoenix threatened early with Burns breaking through the last line of the defence and playing a searing low pass, which just evaded Fenton at the back post.
However, as the half ticked on, Melbourne City clicked into a next gear.
Jonatan Germano delivered a near-pinpoint ball to Kennedy, who could only knick the ball past Glen Moss’ post.
Kennedy again went close by a matter of inches in the 59th minute as a header from almost the exact move looked to have beaten the outstretched Moss, but found its way just wide of the far post.
But the former Socceroo striker made it count following a swift attacking move. Captain Patrick Kisnorbo broke up a Phoenix attack with a tough sliding tackle and City sent the ball forward in a 4v4 counter attack.
Koren made ground through the middle of the park before slipping the ball through to Novillo on the left wing. Novillo tried to shake his marker however, the ball fell kindly to Mooy who drove a low shot in and Kennedy was on hand to steer the ball past the wrong-footed Moss.
City were still forced under further pressure as Tando Velaphi made an important save from Burns’ free header at the back post but with a stoic Kisnorbo holding the defensive line, City held firm in defence and hurt the Phoenix on the counter.
Novillo again played his part, first breaking down the left hand-side and beating his man, before firing in a cross which fell to Koren. Koren then chipped the ball back to the Martinique international whose effort rocketed off the post and onto the back of the diving Moss, finding its way into the back of the net.
The Nix continued to push for a way back into the match but it was to no avail as Melbourne City FC secured its path into the next stage of the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.
Hyundai A-League Elimination Final 2
Sunday, 3 May 2015
Wellington Phoenix 0
Melbourne City FC 2 (Josh Kennedy 61’, Moss OG 72’)
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Ben WILLIAMS
Wellington Phoenix: 1. Glen MOSS (GK), 2. Emmanuel MUSCAT, 4. Roly BONEVACIA, 5. Michael BOXALL, 9. Nathan BURNS, 10. Michael MCGLINCHEY (21. Roy KRISHNA 58’), 13. Albert RIERA, 16. Louis FENTON, 17. Vince LIA (8. Alex RODRIGUEZ 78’), 18. Benjamin SIGMUND, 22. Andrew DURANTE (C)
Substitutes not used: 20. Lewis HAMILTON (GK), 15. Jason HICKS,
Yellow cards: Bonevacia 45’, Sigmund 70’
Red cards: Nil
Melbourne City FC: 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 5. Erik PAARTALU, 6. Aaron MOOY, 9. Harry NOVILLO (8. Massimo MURDOCCA 89’), 10. Robert KOREN, 13. Jonatan GERMANO, 15. David WILLIAMS, 16. Joshua KENNEDY (26. Marc MARINO 84’), 18. Paulo RETRE, 24. Patrick KISNORBO (C)
Substitutes not used: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 21. Stefan MAUK, 28. Nicholas SYMEOY
Yellow cards: Paartalu 42’Red cards: Nil