After a campaign full of record-breaking exploits, spectacular goals and captivating contests of football, we take a look back at five of City’s most memorable matches of the 2015/16 season.
City 2-1 Victory – Saturday 18 December, 2015
Entering the 18th edition of the Melbourne Derby in red-hot form, it was understandable most of the pre-game talk was focused on City’s potent attacking force.
Cue one of the most pulsating Derby clashes in recent history.
John van’t Schip’s side flew out of the blocks inside the opening half an hour, racing to a two goal lead courtesy of Stefan Mauk and Paulo Retre.
Besart Berisha pulled one back on the stroke of half-time, but it was goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen who resembled an impenetrable wall between the posts.
The Great Dane repelled a ferocious second half onslaught with a string of superb saves – including a stunning reaction save to tip Kosta Barbarouses’ header onto the post – earning City a memorable Derby win.
City 3-2 Western Sydney Wanderers – Saturday 9 January, 2016
Remarkable goals, defensive errors and late winners – this clash simply had it all.
First-half strikes to Harry Novillo and Bruno Fornaroli set the ball rolling; the Frenchman lifting the roof off AAMI Park with an inch-perfect free-kick past Andrew Redmayne to open the scoring.
The Wanderers capitalised on a pair of defensive errors to restore parity, but it was Novillo who had the final say.
With only five minutes remaining, the Frenchman showed determination to rescue a loose ball before curling home an unstoppable strike past Redmayne to snap the Wanderers 10-match unbeaten streak.
City 2-0 Perth –Elimination Final – Sunday 17 April, 2016
Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the Bruno Fornaroli show.
Fresh from breaking the Hyundai A-League regular season goal-scoring record, City’s star Uruguayan had no trouble translating his astonishing form into the pressure cooker environment of Finals football.
His first strike; a stunning bicycle kick worthy of winning any football match. His second; a curling free-kick past a despairing Ante Covic, completed a match winning brace to send his side into the Semi Final.
The 11,273 fans who graced AAMI Park were treated to one of the individual performances of the season, as ‘El Tuna’ ensured City celebrated its first ever home final in memorable fashion.
Adelaide 0-1 City – Round 23, Friday 11 March, 2016
Travelling to face the league leaders on their home turf is always a daunting task. Facing them when they’re on a 14-match unbeaten streak is even more difficult.
Nevertheless, City’s venture to Coopers Stadium in Round 23 resulted in one of the most complete team performances of the season.
A display reinforced by steel, determination and a willingness to win saw John van’t Schip’s side upstage a rampant Reds’ outfit across the park.
Osama Malik was immense in the middle of the park against his former side, while Nick Fitzgerald’s sweet left-footed strike was just reward for a City side who controlled the contest from start to finish.
City 3-1 Brisbane – Round 24, Friday 18 March, 2016
The battle between two of the A-League’s title contenders and the league’s top-two marksmen made City’s Round 24 clash against table-toppers Brisbane Roar a tantalising contest for fans and neutrals alike.
It certainly lived up to all the hype. With top spot up for grabs and a one-goal deficit to overturn after Dimitri Petratos’ searing first-half volley, John van’t Schip’s side had all to play for.
The response was electrifying. Bruno Fornaroli’s fancy footwork to leave Roar defender Jack Hingert red-faced was the catalyst for Aaron Mooy’s equaliser from the penalty spot, while substitute Anthony Caceres nodded City in-front for the first time with nine minutes to play.
The icing on the cake was administered by Nick Fitzgerald, who forged a knack for scoring important goals in the back half of the season, and in the process, fired City to the summit of the A-League table for the very first time.