A clinical performance from Sydney FC saw them defeat Melbourne City 4-0 on Saturday night as the hosts were buoyed by the return of Bruno Fornaroli.
Bobo’s brace, as well as strikes by Milos Ninkovic and Adrian Mierzejewski secured the three points for Sydney, despite a bright start by City.
Fornaroli – who had been sidelined since August last year with an ankle injury – made his return as a second-half substitute, playing 32 minutes in an encouraging return to A-League action.
Due to the split round, City’s focus now turns to a clash against Perth Glory at nib Stadium in a fortnight’s time.
After naming the same eleven that defeated Brisbane Roar last weekend, Osama Malik suffered an injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Manny Muscat. Young midfielder Denis Genreau subsequently filled his spot on the bench.
The Uruguayan marksman Fornaroli was named on the bench for the first time this season, playing his last competitive match in the FFA Cup Round of 16 in August.
— Melbourne City FC (@MelbourneCity) February 10, 2018
City started the match positively, with a fierce Marcin Budzinski volley from outside the box flying inches over the crossbar in the opening minutes, showing the host’s attacking intent from the outset.
Young forward Daniel Arzani continued to build City’s early momentum as the 19-year-old collected the ball wide, cut inside two defenders and struck a low, curling shot that flew just wide.
City pressed Sydney well, putting Sydney keeper Andrew Redmayne under pressure as the Sky Blues tried to play out from the back.
Dean Bouzanis was called into action for the first time in the 17th minute, sharply smothering a Ninkovic shot. He followed up with another minutes later, denying Bobo from a tight angle.
Arzani continued to make strong, driving runs both centrally and wide, creating chances for himself and teammates but it was the visitors who opened the scoring after 32 minutes from the spot. Bouzanis brought down Sydney captain Alex Brosque and, despite getting a strong hand on Bobo’s strike, couldn’t keep out the resulting penalty.
City responded well, regularly getting into Sydney’s penalty area and forcing defenders to make desperate blocks. After being played in by Muscat, Budzinski unleashed a powerful low drive but Redmayne was able to get down and keep it out.
Despite the sustained pressure, Sydney found a second before the break. Milos Ninkovic would show the class that saw him pick up last year’s Johnny Warren Medal, delicately volleying his effort past Bouzanis.
The start to the second was a carbon copy of the first as City came out of the block firing.
Momentum was building and fans were up on their feet as the first change in the 64th minute brought on Bruno Fornaroli to the fore.
The crowd were silecned only minutes later though as Bobo headed home Zullo’s pinpoint cross in the 65th minute for his second of the night before a scuffed shot from Mierzejewski 14 minutes later beat Bouzanis on the far post.
Fornaroli was a goal on his return after 70 minutes as his volley inside the area was cancelled out for an earlier push but it wasn’t to be as the Sydneysiders were far too strong on the night.
City face Perth Glory on Saturday 24 February at nib Stadium – due to the split round – and will look to bounce back against the Glory build form in the final stretch of the season