Melbourne City FC opened their pre-season account with a 3-1 win over Dandenong Thunder on Wednesday night in a match where fresh faces impressed.
A dominant first-half performance saw City take a 3-0 lead into the half-time interval, before the hosts pegged one back in the second-half.
New recruits Tolgay Arslan, Terry Antonis, Jamie Young, Steven Ugarkovic, Alessandro Lapone and Marin Jakolis were all named in Head Coach Rado Vidosic’s starting XI.
Under the lights in Melbourne South-East, it was a physical opening to City’s clash with Dandenong Thunder as both teams wrestled for the early ascendency.
In their first public fixture in City blue, City’s newest recruits looked to impress in new colours.
It was Tolgay Arslan with the earliest sight on goal, as the number 10 picked up the ball before driving forwards only to be fouled by a Thunder defender on the edge of the box. Arslan stepped up to take the resulting set-piece, firing his effort over the crossbar.
In what was a sign of things to come, Arslan continued to impress in the midfield and was rewarded for his efforts when he opened the scoring on the 22nd minute mark.
A brilliant run from Callum Talbot saw the defender play it through the Thunder defence to the forward running Arslan. Arslan made no mistake from the tight angle, drawing the keeper out and expertly placing the ball in the back.
Marin Jakolis looked ever dangerous on the left-wing, as Steven Ugarkovic asserted his authority in the middle of the park.
City doubled their lead with two goals in six minutes after Terry Antonis fired a brilliant effort from the top of the box into the top corner – a wonderful goal from the new man.
Antonis’ attacking prowess was again on show when he buried an effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty box. A strong City attack saw the ball fall to Antonis, who made no mistake with his first time effort.
Goals from City’s new recruits saw Vidosic’s side take a 3-0 lead into the half-time break, with Nuno Reis and Curtis Good nullifying the Thunder attack.
It was a new XI that took the field in the second-half, as a host of City’s academy stars were on show.
In what continued to be a physical contest, the hosts found a breakthrough 10 minutes into the second-half to reduce the deficit.
City’s young guns showcased their ability with a number of attacks, but were unable to trouble the Thunder keeper.
With 10 minutes to play in the pre-season friendly, Patrick Beach pulled off the save of the night to ensure the score remained 3-1 at the full-time whistle.
City begin their Australia Cup campaign when they take on NPL Victoria side Oakleigh Cannons in the Round of 32 this Sunday 13 August, kick-off 2:00pm at Jack Edwards Reserve.
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