Novillo double sends City second
A brace to Harry Novillo and another from Bruno Fornaroli – his 13th of the season – had City 3-0 up and cruising inside 50 minutes.
Phoenix’s Roly Bonevacia scored a contender for goal of the season midway through the second half to close the gap but it was mere consolation.
Only wasteful finishing from the home side denied them an even bigger win but it doesn’t matter as they jump up to second spot, just two points behind league-leaders Western Sydney.
1-0 Fornaroli (12’) – The Uruguayan was released down the left wing, with Manny Muscat coming across the close him down. Fornaroli cut back inside, poking the ball through the defenders legs and getting into the box before placing his shot into the bottom, far corner.
2-0 Novillo (31’) – Both City’s wing-backs were involved, with Ivan Franjic switching the ball to Michael Zullo on the left. Zullo took one touch to control before firing in a powerful cross which was perfect for Novillo to volley home from close range.
3-0 Novillo (49’) – Anthony Caceres won the ball deep in Phoenix territory and found Mooy on the edge of the box. The Socceroos star shaped to shot but instead played it wide to Novillo on the right of the box and he rifled an unstoppable effort into the far top corner. A cracking strike.
3-1 Bonevacia (66’) – The Dutchman received the ball about 30 yards out from goal and unleashed a rasping effort which swerved and dipped past Thomas Sorensen, grazing the post on its way in. Another Roly rocket!
Phoenix did have a few promising moments in the first half and were inches away from getting back on level terms on 19 minutes.
A free-kick in a dangerous area was swung in by Michael McGlinchey, with Andrew Durante muscling in between two City defenders to win a header which was heading for the bottom corner.
But Thomas Sorensen was athletic enough to get across and down low to keep it out and retain City’s 1-0 lead.
Just over 10 minutes later City made the most of their next chance and the contest was as good as over.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
*Formaroli’s goal means he has now scored against all other nine Hyundai A-League clubs, from just 16 matches this season.
*Phoenix are now winless in their last seven games, their longest streak in more than two years when they didn’t win for 10 straight matches.
*City are now unbeaten in their last four Hyundai A-League games against Wellington.
How good are City to watch when in full flight? Some of their attacking play was simply scintillating and a number of their goals were howitzers.
There is so much variety to their attack that opposition defences are finding it hard to deny them space and chances on goal.
From Mooy’s brilliant vision and passing, to Novillo’s pace and power, not to mention Fornaroli’s excellent finishing…and even bringing out a Rabona.
Add to that the pace, work-rate and delivery from Zullo and Franjic on the flanks and City provided 90 minutes of sheer entertainment at AAMI Park.
THE FINAL WORD
When City in this mood there’s very few teams that can stop them. John van ‘t Schip has got them attacking with verve and building perfectly for the back end of the campaign. What a salivating prospect Friday night’s clash with Western Sydney at Wanderland promises to be.
Phoenix continues to struggle with injuries while their road form has been dreadful this season. More worryingly for coach Ernie Merrick is they were opened up too easily at the back on too many occasions. Very unlike the Phoenix and Merrick-coached teams. If they are to push for the top six, they must beat the Mariners in Christchurch on Saturday.
Melbourne City: Sorensen (gk), Melling, Kisnorbo (c), Hughes, Franjic (Retre 62’), Paartalu (Fitzgerald 79’), Caceres (Malik 69’), Zullo, Mooy, Fornaroli, Novillo
Wellington Phoenix: Moss (gk), Ridenton (Stevens 59’), Muscat, Durante (c), Doyle, Riera, Lia (Fenton 52’), Bonevacia, Rodriguez (Appiah 71’), McGlinchey, Powell
Scorers: Fornaroli 12’, Novillo 31’, Novillo 49’, Bonevacia 66’
Red cards: Nil
Yellow cards: Durante 14’, Lia 52’, Zullo 65’
Conditions: 20C, Cloudy
Attendance: 10,825 @ AAMI Park