Franjic stunner earns Valkanis the perfect start

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In their first game under interim coach Michael Valkanis, Melbourne City have earned an unassertive 1-0 win over a 10 man Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park on Friday night.

Ivan Franjic opened the scoring for City in the 19th minute with a stunning volley, but the Wanderers tightened up defensively after going down to 10 men in the second half to stop the home side from extending their lead.

Valkanis put his own stamp on the team following his replacement of John van’t Schip who returned home to care for his terminally ill father.

Michael Jakobsen returned from a calf injury and helped strengthen City’s depth in defence while Wanderers’ missed Brendan Santalab due to suspension.

The home side flew out of the starting blocks and played some very aggressive football. Bruce Kamau was the central playmaker, using his pace and intensity to weave past the Wanderers defence.

The winger almost got Melbourne City off to the perfect start in the second minute as he tried to catch Wanderers’ keeper Vedran Janjetovic off his line, but his long range cross-cum-shot flew just wide.

City came awfully close to taking the lead in the 10th minute through a Tim Cahill header, but it was cleared off the line by Jaushua Sotirio.

Friday night’s clash stipulated a change in goal for the Wanderers as Janjetovic made his debut against the men in light blue. Regardless of the alteration, however, no keeper could save Franjic’s strike that put City 1-0.

A Wanderers clearance was met by Franjic’s right foot and his volley rifled into the bottom corner to give the home side the lead.

Joshua Rose almost became the second fullback to be on the score sheet in the 24th minute, but unlike Franjic’s superb strike, his golden opportunity was wasted.

Wanderers’ first chance came in the 27th minute as Jack Clisby played a fantastic ball to captain Mitch Nichols, a sublime first touch enabled him to shoot but only as far as City keeper Dean Bouzanis’ gloves.

An Aritz Borda elbow to City captain Bruno Fornaroli’s face in the 31st minute saw referee Alan Milliner show the Wanderers’ defender a straight red card, leaving the men in red and black down to 10.

Milliner’s whistle ended an enthralling half entirely dominated by the home side, City leading 1-0.

Playing with 10 men handicapped the Wanderers second half was surprisingly a huge improvement on their first.

The biggest chance for the Wanderers came in the 62nd minute as Bruno Pinatares cut onto his left foot but his curling strike was wonderfully saved by Bouzanis.

As Nicolas Martinez got involved the away side looked likely to equalise and in the 85th minute substitute Lachlan Scott came close, his shot beating Bouzanis but his attempt went just wide.

The final chance of the game came in the 88th minute when Kamau had a one-on-one with Janjetovic but the Wanderers keeper topped off a gutsy debut with another brilliant save.

Following four minutes of stoppage time, the fulltime whistle meant City had earned their first Hyundai A-League victory since November.

 

Melbourne City 1 (Franjic 19’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 0

Stadium: AAMI Park
Crowd: 10,731

Referee: Alan Milliner
Assistant Referees: George Lakrindis and Ryan Gallagher
Fourth Official: Jonathan Barreiro

Melbourne City: 20. BOUZANIS Dean (GK), 3. ROSE Joshua, 5. FRANJIC Ivan, 8. KILKENNY Neil, 9. COLAZO Nicolas (12. FITZGERALD Nick 85’), 11. KAMAU Bruce, 17. CAHILL Tim (10. CACERES Anthony 80’), 21. TONGYIK Ruon, 22. JAKOBSEN Michael, 23. FORNAROLI Bruno (C), 26. BRATTAN Luke (6. MALIK Osama 70’)
Substitutes: 1. SORENSEN Thomas (GK), 2. MUSCAT Emmanuel, 6. MALIK Osama, 10. CACERES Anthony, 12. FITZGERALD Nick

Western Sydney Wanderers: 20. JANJETOVIC Vedran (GK), 3. CLISBY Jack, 5. HAMILL Brendan (42. BACCUS Keanu 74’), 6. NICHOLS Mitchell (C), 10. MARTINEZ Nicolas, 13. PINATARES Bruno, 14. KUSUKAMI Jumpei (18. CORNTHWAITE Robert 36’), 15. BACCUS Kearyn, 16. SOTIRIO Jaushua, 17. BORDA Aritz, 22. ASPROPOTAMITIS Jonathan
Substitutes: 1. TYSON Jerrad (GK), 7. LUSTICA Steven, 18. CORNTHWAITE Robert, 23. SCOTT Lachlan, 42. BACCUS Keanu

Featured image credit: Steve Christo

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Adrian Johnsonhttps://thefootballsack.com.au
A-Grade football fan, C-grade player

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