Cahill benched early, team scores three more

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A second-half strategy change from Melbourne City coach Michael Valkanis paid dividends, as both substitutes came on to make immediate impacts.

Goal scorer Tim Cahill was substituted early in the second half, much to the marquee man’s displeasure, but the move from Valkanis helped City strive to a dominant 4-0 victory over Newcastle Jets.

Describing the performance as “clinical” during his post-game interview, Valkanis was visibly pleased with his side’s rampant win.

“It was a very good performance in regards to the way the boys executed the strategy”, the City boss said.

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“There probably could have been more goals.

“We’re very happy with the performance [and] very happy with the three points.”

The 4-0 victory was just City’s fourth cleansheet of the 2016/17 season and seemed even more impressive considering the absence of Michael Jakobsen due to an ongoing calf injury.

“(The cleansheet) was probably even more important than scoring so many goals,” Valkanis admitted.

“Today was a very good performance, a very good professional performance.

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“We need to find the momentum going into finals.

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Cahill opened the scoring in trademark style, beating Jets ‘keeper Jack Duncan with a nicely executed header in the 12th minute.

But as City entered the halftime break 1-0 leaders, their sheer control of possession didn’t translate to the scoreline and coach Valkanis recognised the need for a change.

“The [first-half strategy] worked OK.

“We didn’t quite execute it perfectly.”

For the first 45 minutes City were too Cahill-focused and seemed to ignore other viable outlets, in particular that of Ivan Franjic out wide.

Alas Nick Fitzgerald and Bruce Kamau entered the game at the expense of Cahill and Nicolas Colazo – two substitutions that Valkanis believed “worked to a tee”.

“It was always a plan in the second half at some point to inject two speedy wingers,” Valknais said.

“Two players like Fitzy and Bruce Kamau are always going to cause a lot of trouble coming on fresh.

“They did a very good job, both of them.

“It was perfectly executed, [I’m] very happy.”

The second half opened up as game changer and goal scorer Fitzgerald caused headaches for an uninspired Jets defence that were off the pace all night.

Captain Bruno Fornaroli joined the party with a six-minute brace and the Uruguayan paid a touching tribute to Fernando Brandan who ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament at training a fortnight ago.

“(The idea of a tribute) came from the playing group,” Valkanis revealed.

“Brandan is a special person.

“He’s a crowd favourite but he’s also a player favourite.

“(After the game) he was thrilled.

“He had a smile from ear to ear. It was great to get the 4-0 result for him as well.”

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

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