If you’ve been missing the magic of the FFA Cup then we don’t blame you – it’s been over 2 years since our last game in the competition.
With our upcoming Round of 32 clash against South Melbourne finally set to take place this coming Friday, now seems as good a time as ever to look back at Melbourne City’s FFA Cup history so far.
The Cup’s inaugural iteration in 2014 saw City matched up against Sydney FC in the Round of 32, a nail-biting fixture that was taken all the way to extra-time thanks to goals for either side from Nick Kalmar and Corey Gameiro respectively. Unfortunately for City, a pair of Ali Abbas penalties would secure the result for Sydney, with our first-ever run in the Cup getting cut short at the first hurdle.
City hit back with a bang in the 2015 edition, with a massive six campaign goals from new signing Aaron Mooy leading us to the Semi Finals in just our second year.
Along the way, City racked up big wins against Wellington Phoenix and Heidelberg United, putting five past either team in the Round of 16 and Quarter Finals respectively. Alas, another difficult 3-1 loss, this time on the road at Perth Glory, would end our campaign just as silverware began to appear on the horizon.
Of course, an inaugural senior men’s trophy wouldn’t elude us for too much longer, with City famously claiming the 2016 FFA Cup on an unforgettable November night that year. The boys first had to scrap their way past a testing pair of NPL opponents, securing 2-1 wins away to Floreat Athena and Brisbane Strikers, before clicking into gear against Western Sydney in the Quarters. That familiar fixture – the teams has met at that stage of the competition three times – will be remembered for Michael Jakobsen’s famous bicycle-kick and goals on debut to Tim Cahill and Fernando Brandán.
City’s own little Argentinian maestro would pop up again in our huge Semi-Final clash with Melbourne Victory, netting in the 77th minute to double our advantage and confirm an inaugural FFA Cup Final berth for City against Sydney FC. Of course, that night will be remembered for one defining moment, with the aforementioned Cahill rising to head home Ivan Franjic’s cross to score the game’s only goal, confirming City as 2016 FFA Cup Champions.
Our success couldn’t be replicated in the 2017 edition when City edged past Peninsula Power and Hakoah Sydney City East before falling short against eventual winners Sydney FC in the Quarters.
Yet again it was the Quarter-Final stage that proved to be City’s undoing in the 2018 campaign, where, following narrow 1-0 wins over Brisbane Roar and Newcastle Jets, City were unable to recover from a 2-0 first-half deficit, ultimately going down 2-1 following Riley McGree’s 53rd minute consolation goal.
This brings us to a bittersweet 2019 edition that, despite its painful conclusion, was also extremely memorable, with Jamie Maclaren and Craig Noone combining for a whopping 10 goals between them over the course of the campaign. Early stage wins over Campbelltown City and Marconi Stallions saw City again face off against Western Sydney in the Quarter-Finals, but it was City who would have the last laugh, with Noone nabbing a brace to help his new side into the Semis. There, City overran a spirited Brisbane Strikers, putting five goals past their Queensland opposition, before falling short against Adelaide United in our second Cup Final.
Overall, City’s strong record in the competition – with two Finals and only one failure to progress past the opening round – is backed up by the fact that we have the equal second-most wins in the competition, tied with Sydney FC and behind only Adelaide United.
With his six goals in the 2019 campaign, Jamie Maclaren is our current highest scorer in the Cup and occupies equal-sixth in the competition’s all-time goalscoring ranks with seven in total.
Although he’ll miss Friday’s clash, Maclaren could be a chance to overtake Bruno Fornaroli (9 goals) as our all-time leading goalscorer in the FFA Cup, should City advance to the next stage.