Melbourne City unearth newest young star in FFA Cup win

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Raphael Borges Rodrigues lit up ABD Stadium on several occasions during Melbourne City’s FFA Cup win over Hume City, raising suggestions he could be the next major product from City’s talent conveyer belt.

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In a game in which Mathew Leckie scored his first goal and Manuel Pucciarelli made his first start for the reigning A-League Men champions, those in attendance couldn’t help but have their attention drawn to the 18-year-old’s performance.

Borges Rodrigues was a constant threat throughout the match. He won the penalty which Marco Tilio missed after 11 minutes, was involved in the build-up to the goal and hit the woodwork in the second half.

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The Dutch-born attacker offered a spark which was largely missing for City in the match, even if his contributions weren’t reflected on the scoresheet.

Borges Rodrigues is the son of former Adelaide United striker Cristiano, who scored 11 goals in 49 games for the Reds between 2008 and 2010.

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Like his father, Borges Rodrigues showcased flair and composure on the ball, as well as a cutting edge that on many other nights would have resulted in a goal or two.

The performance came in a side featuring several of City’s young talents, headlined by Tilio. By adding his name to the list of inexperienced players seemingly ready to burst onto the A-League Men’s stage, Borges Rodrigues may well compound the issues facing head coach Patrick Kisnorbo in terms of balancing playing time.

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City are overloaded with superstar quality, most notably in attacking areas.

Already this season the likes of Tilio and Stefan Colakovski have struggled to secure sufficient playing time, whilst an increasingly dark cloud hangs over the future of Nathaniel Atkinson.

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If these players, who have already proved their quality at A-League Men’s level, are unable to dislodge the likes of Leckie, Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout, it is difficult to see how Borges Rodrigues will feature meaningfully over the coming season.

Having played in three A-League Men’s games over the last two seasons, Borges Rodrigues has experienced glimpses of the top level to compliment his development in City’s youth teams.

He featured prominently in City’s NPL3 Victoria squad up until the season’s premature cancellation, where he impressed with five goals in eight games.

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Borges Rodrigues clearly has a bright future ahead. The challenge for him as well as the rest of the City squad is receiving adequate opportunities to develop at A-League Men’s level.

Nonetheless, at only 18 years of age, Borges Rodrigues has plenty of time to establish himself as one of the next major stars of Australian football.

Feature 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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