City smash Mariners to keep hopes of finishing fifth alive

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Melbourne City has kept their hopes of finishing fifth alive after putting five past a helpless Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park.

The equation is simple now.

Should Wellington go down by two goals to Perth Glory on Sunday, City will jump to fifth on the table and travel to face Adelaide United in the first week of the finals.

In doing so, City equalled their greatest winning margin and go into week one of the finals with all the momentum in the world behind them.

Warren Joyce made a number of precautionary changes to the team that went down to the Wellington Phoenix last week.

James Delianov made his starting debut while Dario Vidosic returned to the field for the first time since last year’s Christmas Melbourne derby.

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Meanwhile Harrison Delbridge was left out of the side – to ensure he would not receive a suspension – while Jamie Maclaren sat out due to suffering a toe injury.

Neither side showed any urgency to score early on, aside from an early heart-in-mouth moment for Delianov – where he nearly got intercepted by an ever-dangerous Matt Simon – decent chances were few and far between.

It only took some Shayon Harrison magic to break the deadlock in the 34th minute and ignite a tedious opening half.

Stuck out on the right-wing – the 20-year-old moved past Jacob Melling, Matt Millar and even Jem Karacan as he opened the scoring with a low shot at the far-post which, thankfully for Harrison, came off the post and not Lachlan Wales who slid in.

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The goal buoyed the home side into action as captain Scott Jamieson put in the perfect cross to Riley McGree who volleyed City’s second and his seventh goal for the season in the 42nd minute.

Not even a brief brawl on the edge of the City goal could reinvigorate the Mariners – as Matt Simon clashed with Kearyn Baccus – with the visitors looking all but deflated as the first half came to an end.

It took until the 48th minute for the Mariners to register their first attempt but this was overshadowed by a resurgent City as Wales set up Vidosic from point blank for City’s third and the midfielder’s first goal since December 2018.

By the 55th minute City fans started booking flights to Adelaide as Harrison netted his second and things started looking ugly for the Mariners.

Delianov had to wait until the 64th minute to make his first proper save – standing his ground at the near post to keep out Jordan Murray’s header from a corner.

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With the scoreboard threatening to look like a cricket score – referee Kurt Ams awarded the home side a penalty after McGree was brought down entering the box.

Albeit City would be denied an opportunity to extend their lead to five goals after the VAR overruled the decision as McGree was fouled outside the box – perhaps a blessing in disguise for City.

At 16-years-old Idrus Abdulahi became City’s youngest player as he made his professional debut coming on for Dario Vidosic in the 81st minute.

Sitting comfortably at four goals ahead, a combination of City’s youth linked up to score the goal of the match – finished by substitute Ramy Najjarine into the top left corner in the 92nd minute.

Melbourne City

Starting XI:

  1. James DELIANOV (GK), 3. Scott JAMIESON, 5. Bart SCHENKEVELD, 8. Riley MCGREE, 9. Shayon HARRISON, 10. Dario VIDOSIC, (51. Idrus ABDULAHI 81′), 13. Nathanial ATKINSON, 15. Kearyn BACCUS, (21.Ramy NAJJARINE 73′),19. Iacopo LA ROCCA, 26. Luke BRATTAN (34. Connor METCALFE 57’)

Unused Substitutes:

40. Majak MAWITH, 41. Mitchell GRAHAM,

 

Central Coast Mariners

Starting XI:

  1. Adam PEARCE (GK), 3. Jack CLISBY, 6. Tom HIARIEJ,(33. Lewis MILLER 69′), 7. Andrew HOOLE, 13, Aiden O’NEILL,(17. Peter KEKERIS 89′), 18. Matt MILLAR, 19. Matt SIMON, 22. Jacob MELLING, 25. Jordan MURRAY, 28. Samuel GRAHAM, 68. Jem KARACAN

Unused Substitutes:

  1. Ben KENNEDY,  29. Stephen MALLON,  36. Dylan RUIZ-DIAZ

Match Official: Kurt Ams

Assistant Referee 1: Wilson Brown

Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Illevski

Fourth Official: Jack Morgan

Video Assistant: Kris Griffiths-Jones

 

Featured Image: Melbourne City FC

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RMIT Journalism | Football Nation Radio Like all football fans my general mood for the week is dictated by how my team performs over the weekend.