Supreme City too strong for South Melbourne in the FFA Cup

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The slick Melbourne City machine picked up right where it left off last season, rolling over a dogged South Melbourne side 3-0 in front of a strong crowd at Lakeside on Friday night.

It was the A-League Men side that came out firing, bossing possession in South Melbourne’s half in the early minutes.

South Melbourne had set up like a team willing to absorb plenty of pressure and potentially hit on the counter, a system which had been typical of their style under Esteban Quintas. Their 4-1-4-1 formation sought to deny City the space to implement their flowing attacking style.

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Although City looked confident and dangerous on the ball, with multiple shots whizzing past the frame of newly acquired South goalkeeper Javier Diaz Lopez’s goal, they were unable to force a save from the Spaniard for the first 20 minutes.

Their failure to register a shot on target was rectified however in the 23rd minute when Scott Galloway played through Nathaniel Atkinson down City’s right side, who pulled his cross back towards Connor Metcalfe in plenty of space to put away a simple finish and open the scoring.

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Despite City’s dominance, the vocal and numerous South crowd desperately clung to every half-chance their side generated, willing the home team into an extra gear each time they dared to cross the halfway line into City territory.

City carried their lead into half-time, barely allowing the NPL side a sniff of goal for the whole first 45 as they maintained over 80% of the possession.

South Melbourne came as close as they had for the whole match in the 53rd minute, when Marcus Schroen tried his luck from a free-kick which seemed destined for the top corner but for an outstanding save from Thomas Glover.

However, it was City who made the next decisive move when midfielder Aiden O’Neill played an intelligent ball which was let run by Atkinson for the arriving Galloway to rifle the ball into the roof of South Melbourne’s net on 66 minutes.

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The second goal broke any of the South spirit left on the pitch.

Soon after, in the 73rd minute, the lethal combination on City’s right-hand side of Atkinson and Galloway combined yet again as the latter made it three for City.

The admirable crowd of 4291 had accepted the result by this point, as City saw out the game to lock themselves in for a Round of 16 appearance.

Friday night wasn’t one for the traditionalists of Australian football. City confirmed their status as the team to beat in the upcoming season A-League Men’s season and reinforced the reality that seemingly no amount of grit, guile or history can overcome the cosmopolitan, cash-rich modern team.

South Melbourne 0

Melbourne City 3 (Metcalfe 23’, Galloway 66’ 73’)

Lakeside Stadium

Referee: Lachlan Keevers

Assistant Referees: George Lakrindis & Andrew Meimarakis

Fourth Official: Jack Morgan

South Melbourne: Javier Diaz LOPEZ (GK), Lirim ELMAZI, Jake MARSHALL (Perry LAMBROPOULOS 80’), Luke PAVLOU (Matthew LOUTRAKIS 80’), Harrison SAWYER, Marcus SCHROEN, Bradley NORTON (C), Joshua WALLEN (Gerrie SYLAIDOS 63’), Marco JANKOVIC, Daniel CLARK (Luke ADAMS 67’), Ben DJIBA (Yianni PANAKOS 80’)

Unused subs: James BURGESS (GK), Sasha MURPHY

Melbourne City: Tom GLOVER (GK), Scott GALLOWAY, Scott JAMIESON (C) (Jordan BOS 86’), Rostyn GRIFFITHS (Kerrin STOKES 79’), Aiden O’NEILL (Anthony LESIOTIS 86’), Florin BERENGUER (Raphael Borges RODRIGUES 80’), Nathaniel ATKINSON, Stefan COLAKOVSKI, Connor METCALFE, Curtis GOOD (Nuno REIS 72’), Marco TILIO

Unused subs: Matthew SUTTON (GK), Luke ORESTI

Featured Image Credit: Melbourne City FC

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Oscar Rutherford
Sports tragic studying Law/Arts at Monash University. Second-best paid Oscar working in football who has been to China.

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