Melbourne City FC has retained second place in the NPL3 with a resounding 6-0 victory against Ballarat City at home.
Unavailability of key players forced Petr Kratky into several changes heading into the clash, with Kerrin Stokes, Alec Mills, Raphael Borges Rodrigues and last week’s match-winner Lucas Byrns all absent from the playing squad. Tim Boke, Domenic Folino, Matthew Grimaldi and Jacob Herbert came into the lineup in their place.
The lineup is in as we prepare to face @ballaratcityfc at Casey Fields:
2. Tim BOKE
5. Jordan BOS
6. Jordi VALADON
13. Daniel LUCENTE
18. Matthew GRIMALDI
19. Max CAPUTO
21. Moonib ADUS
28. Domenic FOLINO
36. Jacob HERBERT
39. Anthony LESIOTIS
42. Ahmad TALEB (C) (GK)
— Melbourne City Youth – LIVE (@MelbCityYouth) May 23, 2021
The City boys were able to get off to a flying start thanks to Grimaldi, who made the most of his starting opportunity by burying a 5th minute header into the top corner following the cross from the right.
Despite taking the early lead, City would struggle to create any meaningful opportunities for much of the opening half an hour, with Anthony Lesiotis’ sliced volley from outside the area in the 17th minute proving the best chance of that period for the home side.
However, City would establish its dominance as the game entered its next third, with Jordan Bos placing an on-target header from the corner in the 31st minute, though the full-back was unable to deliver it with enough power to beat the keeper.
Daniel Lucente also came close soon after, driving into the box and forcing the keeper into a low save to his right that prevented the ball from nestling into the bottom corner.
City’s persistence was embodied in the 38th minute by Bos’ determination to win possession high up the field, the ball eventually spilling to Max Caputo inside the area, allowing the striker time to fire off an effort that took a deflection on its way into the back of the net.
The home side nearly netted again in the 42nd when Moonib Adus was able to knock a cross back into the centre of the area, where Grimaldi’s subsequent volley dipped narrowly over the bar.
Just two minutes later, City would have its 3-0 lead to take into the break, with Caputo nabbing his second from close-range with an off-balance finish into the bottom left corner.
City’s dominance only continued after the restart, Caputo taking just seven minutes to nab his next goal, sealing his hat-trick with a powered finish following Grimaldi’s intelligent reverse ball into the box.
Not long after in the 62nd minute, a rifled shot from Lucente proved too hot to handle for the Ballarat keeper, Caputo able to latch on to the spilled ball first, burying it into the back of the net for his fourth.
Ballarat’s best moment came in the 67th minute when they were able to force a huge save from City skipper Ahmad Taleb as the Ballarat attacker was bursting through on goal with the shot bound for the bottom corner.
City refused to let up however, with the team’s sixth and final goal arriving in the 82nd minute. The Ballarat keeper pulled off an impressive initial save to deny Adus from close range but the ball spilled centrally and Jordi Valadon was able to get there first and wallop it into the back of the net.
Caputo was incredibly denied his fifth in the 90th minute when he was played through on goal at a slight angle, powering a strike bound for the top left corner if not for an important hand from the keeper to tip the effort wide of the post, ensuring a final 6-0 scoreline.
The win is City’s third on the trot, with the side moving to 19 points for the season from a possible 27. The boys will return to Casey Fields again in Round 10 for a huge Melbourne Derby on Sunday afternoon.
Feature image credit: Kas Photography