Three goals in the second half has helped Melbourne City to a come-from-behind win over Sunshine George Cross at Chaplin Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
Bozidar Lojanica gave Sunshine the lead after 18 minutes, but a goal early in the second half from Baki Efe squared it up, before a brace from Luka Prelovic sealed the points for Melbourne City.
Sunshine George Cross started with new signing Ayodeji Omoboye commanding a strong presence up front.
It was the hosts with the more opportunities in the opening minutes. Lojanica and Damien Rastocic had their chances but their shots went inches wide.
Anthony Cassar however had the clearest of chances by rounding City keeper Yaren Sozer but lacked the finishing left foot touch and hit wide of the mark.
Then on 17 minutes Sunshine finally got a reward for its early pressure. A long ball beat the offside trap and found forward Lojanica, who tapped the ball into the back of the net for the opening goal.
On the other end Melbourne City looked rather shy in front of goal and only on 25 minutes did they get a clear chance at goal courtesy of a volley from Hernán Espíndola.
Two minutes later a mistake from Chris Dib saw City’s Wake Dekker one-on-one with Georgies’ keeper Robert Santilli but his perfect timing denied City’s best opportunity in the opening 45 minutes.
The second half was the visitors’. Despite an early chance from Sunshine newcomer Omoboye, it was all Melbourne City.
A good cross from the left hand side found Baki Efe unmarked, and he levelled the scores. City began to play the ball with more creativity courtesy of Phil Petreski.
Just past the hour mark, City found its lead. Against the run of play, Luka Prelovic got on the end of a cross to make it 1-2.
With only a minute to go, Sunshine earned a corner and it was goalkeeper Santilli who went up to try his luck.
After two successive corners, the hosts found themselves in trouble after losing possession, leaving Prelovic with an open goal to extend the lead and get his brace.
City coach Joe Montemurro spoke after the game highlighting his content in the performance of his young squad.
“Playing against older and more mature opposition gives our side a good testing ground and we kept to our game plan,” Montemurro said.
“We had to do some re-adjusting and it paid off as we got the favourable result.
“Sunshine pressured us more I would say and made things difficult for us but I think we are learning how to play against the big boys.
“We have had players coming back from injury, some coming off the emotional experience of winning the National Youth League and there have also been opportunities to train with the first team.
“There has been a lot of turnover. Week by week we’re growing and this is what you need in order to adapt to the different scenarios and playing systems.”
Sunshine George Cross 1 (Bozidar Lojanica 18′)
Melbourne City 3 (Baki Efe 55′, Luka Prekovic 64′, 89′) at Chaplin Reserve, Sunshine
Sunshine George Cross: 1. Robert SANTILLI, 2. Eddie CETKIN 4. Brandon SCERRI, 5. Christopher DIB, 17. Jacob ATTARD, 6. Damien RASTOCIC (15. Amara KROMAH 69′), 8. Slaven VRANESEVIC, 9. Bozidar LOJANICA (13. Christopher ANTONIADIS 80′), 10. Adrian LOGOZZO, 11. Anthony CASSAR, 19. Ayodeji OMOBOYE.
Unused Substitutes: 21. James KAPURANOVSKI, 7. Brandon ZAFFINA, 3. Brandon GALEA.
Melbourne City: 1. Yaren SOZER, 3. Nicholas SYMEOY, 6. Phil PETRESKI, 7. Hernán ESPINDOLA (5. Leo ATHANASIOU 75′), 8. Ratip CILELI, 9. Wade DEKKER, 10. Luka PREKOVIC, 12. Anthony RIZK, 13. Haralambos STAMBOULIDIS (21. Michael YOSESKI 83′), 14. Baki EFE, 15. Luke GALLO (19. Anthony TARANTO 75′).
Unused Substitutes: 17. Baley ROW, 20. Yianni SKILIROS