Melbourne City got back to winning ways with a bang after a few tough weeks in the NPL2 competition, recording a big 5-1 win over Langwarrin SC on Saturday.
Raphael Borges Rodrigues was the star of the day netting two goals in each half, while Luke Oresti also got on the scoresheet in the 39th minute.
Head Coach Crisdion Krstevski named a strong starting XI, with six players included who are either part of City’s A-League Men’s squad or have featured on the bench at some point this season.
Starting XI: 90. William SPARROW (GK), 2. Dom FOLINO, 17. Sebastian ESPOSITO, 13. Kerrin STOKES, 38. James RALLIS, 16. Emile PEIOS, 7. Luke ORESTI, 8. Emin DURAKOVIC, 21. Ben MAZZEO, 12. Harry POLITIDIS, 10. Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES.
Substitutes: 15. Adrian SINAGRA (GK), 4. Josh DAMEVSKI, 5. Jordan DELLIDIS, 23. Max CAPUTO, 43. Marcus HUMBERT, 99. Giorgio SERDENES.
City held possession well from the early moments and immediately put the Langwarrin defence on the back foot.
Our strong start meant it wouldn’t take long for the deadlock to be broken, going 1-0 ahead after just seven minutes.
A smart decision to press at the correct time from Emile Peios forced a mistake from the Langwarrin defence, allowing him to win the ball back in a dangerous area and put it on a platter for Raphael to finish.
City would continue to have the better of the chances thanks to some strong performers in midfield allowing us to control the tempo.
Raphael went close to finding his second in the 23rd minute, showing off his skills with an exquisite spin and some fancy footwork in the box, but unfortunately, his shot missed the target.
Langwarrin would strike against the run of play just five minutes later, Lucas Portelli finding the top corner with a perfectly placed free-kick – also the host’s first shot of the afternoon.
It wouldn’t take long for City to equalise though and it came through midfielder Luke Oresti, who found the back of the net following a set piece.
Peios’ corner was batted away by Langwarrin goalkeeper James Burgess, but it was straight into the path of Oresti who was waiting on the edge of the box and hit the ball through a sea of bodies to find the bottom corner.
The one-goal lead was doubled just moments before half time thanks to a quick transition move that saw Raphael complete a first-half brace.
Sebastian Esposito won the ball back at the opposite end of the pitch and found Ben Mazzeo who went on a driving run through the middle of the pitch and released to Raphael at the perfect time, allowing him to take a couple of touches before rounding both the goalkeeper and a defender then finding the back of the net.
The second half would begin the same way the first ended, Raphael once again finding the back of the net to make it 4-1.
This time it was a strong run down the left from Harry Politidis which pulled the defence apart, with our skipper seeing his initial shot saved before Raphael completed his hat trick with a cool follow-up finish.
Although City continue to control the contest, Langwarrin still managed a few attempts on goal but William Sparrow was strong in between the sticks and ensured we were in no danger of surrendering the lead at any point.
Raphael’s fourth of the afternoon came in the 70th minute when he and Oresti’s hard-pressing proved too much for the Langwarrin defence to handle, allowing him to win the ball back and once again find the back of the net, sealing the big win.
City sits in 13th place on the NPL2 table and will be looking to build some momentum with another win when we host 14th-placed Brunswick Juventus at Parade College next Sunday afternoon.