Melbourne City FC continued their strong pre-season with a 2-0 friendly win over Central Coast Mariners at CFA Melbourne on Wednesday morning.
Head Coach Erick Mombaerts’ men had the lion’s share of possession in the first half, threatening the Mariners goal on numerous occasions and nullifying the visitor’s threat up front.
Moudi Najjar had a strong start to the game, with two chances inside the opening quarter of an hour of play. The first of those chances was a glancing header that drifted just wide, before his close-range strike was well saved.
City’s two Uruguayans then combined, as Javier Cabrera’s cross found Adrian Luna, although his intelligent header was saved by Central Coast goalkeeper, Adam Pearce.
With chances limited for the Mariners in the first-half, their best effort came when Dylan Ruiz-Diaz picked the ball up on the edge of the area. The attacker turned before striking towards goal, although his effort was tipped over the crossbar by Dean Bouzanis.
City continued to press as the half progressed, as Ramy Najjarine went inches away from opening the scoring from range. The winger struck his effort with great force, although Pearce got a vital fingertip to see the ball out for a corner.
It was from the resulting corner that City would make it 1-0 in the 39th minute. Florin Berenguer played it short to Scott Jamieson who laid it back to the attacker, before Berenguer crossed it towards Rostyn Griffiths, Griffiths’ intelligent header back across goal was then met by the Frenchman with a neat half-volley to open the scoring.
Three minutes later City doubled their lead as Ramy Najjarine met a cross with a curling effort from just inside the area – a top finish from the youngster.
Second-half substitute Craig Noone looked lively in the second period, working tirelessly up the left wing and beating his marker.
With 20 minutes to play, Jacob Melling tried his luck from range, although his effort was well saved by Bouzanis.
A subdued second half saw chances fall few and far between for either side. One of those chances was with four minutes left to play, Berenguer found himself in space on the edge of the area, but his strike was fired straight down the throat of the keeper.
In the last minute of the game, Cabrera had a chance to extend the hosts lead, but his effort was blasted over the crossbar.
Melbourne City FC – 2 ( Florin Berenguer 39’, Ramy Najjarine 42’)
Central Coast Mariners – 0
Starting XI: Bouzanis, Galloway, Windbichler, Good, Jamieson, Griffiths, Berenguer, Najjarine, Luna, Cabrera, Najjar
Second XI: Bouzanis, Delbridge, Griffiths, Good, Jamieson, Brillante, Berenguer, Luna, Noone, Cabrera, Colakovski