Melbourne City FC have secured a stirring 3-1 victory against Adelaide United in an absorbing contest at AAMI Park on Friday night.
A second-half blitz saw Safuwan Baharudin and Josh Kennedy cancel out Pablo Sanchez’s opener in the space of four minutes, while Iain Ramsay added a third late on to propel Melbourne City FC back into sixth place on the Hyundai A-League table.
A shift in tactics saw John van’t Schip’s men begin in a 3-5-2 formation, with Safuwan Baharudin replacing David Williams on the right flank to provide more defensive cover. Kew Jaliens moved into a central defensive role alongside Patrick Kisnorbo and Connor Chapman, while Massimo Murdocca replaced the injured Jacob Melling in midfield.
Determined to end a barren run of three games without finding the back of the net, Melbourne City FC made a blistering start to the match and nearly opened the scoring as early as the second minute.
An excellent centre from Aaron Mooy found defender Jack Clisby inside the penalty area but he could only lash his shot straight at goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic. The defender often found himself in dangerous spaces, fizzing another shot wide of the goal only a minute later.
An excellent challenge from Safuwan Baharudin allowed Mooy to surge forward in the sixth minute but the midfielder’s long distance effort drifted wide of Galekovic’s left hand post.
Melbourne City FC came close to breaking the deadlock in the 30th minute after Mooy released Robert Koren down the right-hand side. The Slovenian then drilled in a cross towards the back-post run of Clisby, with Michael Marrone nearly diverting the clearance past Galekovic for an own goal.
After a testing opening period the Reds began to monopolise possession and made their dominance count in the 32nd minute. An excellent chipped pass from Sergio Cirio sent Pablo Sanchez through on goal and the winger coolly slotted past Tando Velaphi to make it 1-0.
The Reds continued to press forward in search of a second goal before half-time, with Marcelo Carrusca firing a shot narrowly wide before Cirio stung the palms of Velaphi with a drive from outside the area.
A tactical change by John van’t Schip at the interval saw Melbourne City FC return to their favoured 4-3-3 formation, with David Williams replacing Clisby to provide an extra attacking threat in the final third.
And the change paid dividends in the 52nd minute when Baharudin fired home from the six-yard box to level the scores. A corner from Mooy was poorly dealt with by the Red’s defence, allowing the Singaporean international rifle home his first ever Melbourne City FC goal.
The game was turned on its head after Kennedy took the lead for Melbourne City FC in the 55th minute. An excellent sweeping ball from Williams found Koren on the left-flank, whose pin-point cross was wonderfully headed home by the towering striker to make it 2-1.
Melbourne City FC almost made it 3-1 in the 63rd minute after Mooy’s stinging drive produced a strong diving save from Galekovic. The Adelaide United goalkeeper then produced a stunning reaction save to prevent Kennedy from adding his second goal after Koren’s cut-back found the striker in the six yard box.
Baharudin was proving to be a threat at set-pieces for the home-side, nearly adding his second goal with an inventive acrobatic effort that sailed over the bar.
Melbourne City FC continued to carve out dangerous goalscoring opportunities, with Kennedy hitting the side netting after a poor clearance from James Jeggo and Massimo Murdocca narrowly curling an effort wide of the goal. Galekovic was once again called into action in the 70th minute, holding on to a powerful strike from Mooy after an excellent knock-down from Kennedy.
But substitute Ramsay was on hand to seal the victory three minutes from time, slotting a drilled cross from Murdocca through the legs of Galekovic to hand Melbourne City FC a much needed three points.
Hyundai A-League Round 19
Friday, 27th February 2015
Melbourne City FC 3 (Safuwan BAHARUDIN 52′, Josh KENNEDY 55′, Iain RAMSAY 87′)
Adelaide United 1 (Pablo SANCHEZ 32′)
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Alan Milliner
Melbourne City FC Line-up: 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 5. Erik PAARTALU (78’ Iain RAMSAY), 6. Aaron MOOY, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 10. Robert KOREN, 16. Joshua KENNEDY (Paulo RETRE 88’), 22. Jack CLISBY (David WILLIAMS 45’), 24. Patrick KISNORBO (C), 27. Kew JALIENS, 29. Safuwan BAHARUDIN
Substitutes not used: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 17. Jason HOFFMAN.
Yellow cards: Baharudin 89’
Red Cards: Nil
Adelaide United Line-up: 1. Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK) (C), 2. Michael MARRONE, 4. Dylan MCGOWAN, 7. Pablo SANCHEZ (Cameron WATSON 83’), 9. Sergio CIRIO, 10. Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11. Bruce DJITE, 16. Craig GOODWIN, 17. Awer MABIL (Miguel PALANCA 59’), 18. James JEGGO, 21. Tarek ELRICH.
Substitutes not used: 30. John HALL (GK), 15. Benjamin WARLAND, 24. Bruce KAMAU.
Yellow cards: McGowan 39’, Mabil 59’, Carrusca 65’
Red cards: Nil