Melbourne City FC has secured a first-ever AFC Champions League win, downing United City FC 3-0 thanks to Stefan Colakovski’s opener and a second-half Marco Tilio brace.
Patrick Kisnorbo named five changes as his side laced up for the second time in four days. There was a new-look front three as Jordan Bos, Raphael Borges Rodrigues and Stefan Colakovski all featured from the first whistle, whilst Kerrin Stokes replaced Carl Jenkinson at right-back. Rostyn Griffiths was shifted from midfield to centre-back, making way for a first start in City colours for Tsubasa Endoh.
Self-inflicted disaster nearly struck just two minutes into the contest, when a ball over the defence baited Tom Glover into coming out of his area to clear, whilst Griffiths had tracked back with the intention of heading back to his keeper. The miscommunication resulted in a defensive header towards an empty net, but, needing to beat both the ball to the goal line and the United City attacker to the ball, Griffiths was able to save City’s blushes with an important clearance.
Our City boys would recover soon after however, with Bos seeing the team’s first big chance in the 11th minute. Some quick one-two interplay at the edge of the area freed up Endoh to whip a ball across the face of goal for his opposite winger, but Bos met it with his knee instead of his boot and sent the resulting effort well over the bar.
United City goalkeeper Matt Silva pulled off a stunning save in the 27th when he tipped away a corner-bound strike from Marco Tilio, flicking the ball onto the upright with his fingertips whilst at full stretch.
The breakthrough finally arrived in the 34th for Melbourne, with Colakovski’s first goal of the season serving as the contest’s opener. The forward was fed over the top of the United City defence and capitalised on a scuffed defensive header to burst through on goal, sliding his shot into the bottom left corner across Silva.
Colakovski had the ball in the back of the net for a second time in the 42nd, assisted superbly by a low, fizzed cross from Bos, but the latter was deemed to have been offside when he initially received the ball, with the goal ruled out accordingly.
The Macedonian youth international started the second half just as brightly, seeing another opportunity to find the back of the net again in the 47th. From a similar situation to his opener, Colakovski this time dragged his shot narrowly too wide as the ball trickled past the upright.
Raphael had a chance to net his second senior career goal just five minutes later, teed up brilliantly by Tilio at the front post. The young forward got a deft touch on the ball to send it goal-bound, but the shot ricocheted under Silva’s sprawling body and looked set to trickle over the line if not for a vital defensive clearance.
He may have been substituted just a few minutes later, but Scott Jamieson was pivotal to Melbourne’s second goal which was scored in the 59th minute. The left-back played a line-breaking ball from defence, straight through midfield and in behind the United City backline for Endoh to run onto, with the Japanese midfielder then squaring a pass for Tilio to finish.
It was Tilio again in the 75th to make it three for his side, with the winger lifting a shot past Silva despite some desperate, late lunges from opposition defenders.
The comfortable lead allowed Kisnorbo to manage the game and make a host of late substitutions as his side saw out the 3-0 scoreline without issue.
Melbourne City has moved top of Group G on four points, tied with BG Pathum United but ahead on goal difference. The City boys’ next test will arrive in three days time when the team takes on Jeonnam Dragons.