Category Archive: Melbourne City FC

Melbourne City FC News

Mar 19

Melbourne City give reminder that for football to flourish it has to entertain | Jonathan Howcroft

Watching City briefly reach a level comparable to last season brought home how many A-League teams have stagnated or declined year on year

On Saturday night, a funny thing happened: Melbourne City entertained their home crowd for a full 90 minutes. The 4-0 rout of Newcastle Jets was only the second time City have scored more than twice at AAMI Park this season and the first occasion they’ve won at home by more than a single goal.

Related: A-League: Tim Cahill sparks Melbourne City rout of Jets

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/20/melbourne-city-give-reminder-that-for-football-to-flourish-it-has-to-entertain

Mar 18

A-League: Tim Cahill sparks Melbourne City rout of Jets

  • Melbourne City 4-0 Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park
  • First-half Cahill header puts City on path to home final

Tim Cahill delighted both his club and country bosses on Saturday night, sending Melbourne City on their way to a 4-0 A-League rout of Newcastle Jets. The Socceroos veteran kept City in control of the race for third place on the ladder, and a home final, with a trademark first-half header against the Jets.

Nick Fitzgerald, who replaced him as a second-half substitute, doubled their lead with a delightful chip before Bruno Fornaroli’s late double. But Cahill stole the show on the way from AAMI Park to two World Cup qualifiers in the next fortnight. The 37-year-old hung in the air on the back of young defender John Koutroumbis, powerfully heading past goalkeeper Jack Duncan.

Related: Pep Guardiola’s zonal theory will take time for Manchester City to learn | Jonathan Wilson

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/18/a-league-tim-cahill-sparks-melbourne-city-rout-of-jets

Mar 05

Melbourne City hold on in frantic finish to keep Central Coast at bay

  • Central Coast Mariners 2-3 Melbourne City
  • Newcastle Jets 1-3 Brisbane Roar

Melbourne City climbed into third place after surviving a frenetic 3-2 A-League thriller against 10-man Central Coast, thanks to some luck and Paul Izzo’s goalkeeping implosion.

A Bruno Fornaroli brace, own-goals and goalkeeping howlers were the order of the day as Mariners captain Nick Montgomery and young City defender Ruon Tongyik both found the wrong net, before Izzo’s 62nd-minute red card and the subsequent penalty finished City’s job for them.

Related: Further frustration for Wanderers in stalemate with struggling Adelaide

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/05/melbourne-city-hold-on-in-frantic-finish-to-keep-central-coast-at-bay

Feb 18

A-League: Wanderers win Sydney derby as Melbourne City thrash Phoenix

  • Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 Sydney FC
  • Wellington Phoenix 1-5 Melbourne City

Western Sydney have sent Sydney FC to their first A-League defeat this season, shocking the runaway leaders 1-0 to claim their first derby win in more than three years.

Thirty-seven months after Brendon Santalab scored the winner in the Wanderers’s last cross-town victory, the veteran striker set the stands alight on Saturday night with a 26th-minute opener that was never answered at ANZ Stadium.

Related: A-League: Adelaide United too good for Newcastle Jets in heated encounter

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/18/a-league-melbourne-city-thrash-phoenix-in-wellington-western-sydney-wanderers-sydney-fc

Feb 11

Depleted Melbourne City come back to earn draw against Brisbane Roar

  • Melbourne City 2-2 Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park
  • Second-string City side recover from two goals down

Melbourne City’s second-stringers showed their wares, earning a point with a gritty comeback to draw 2-2 with the Roar in Brisbane.

Bereft of star power with seven suspensions and a further two injuries to senior players, City looked gone for all money when Jamie Maclaren put his side two up by half-time.

Related: A-League: Castro nets twice as Perth Glory thrash Adelaide

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/11/depleted-melbourne-city-come-back-to-earn-draw-against-brisbane-roar

Feb 10

Glory coach: pressure on cashed-up Melbourne City in W-League final

  • Bobby Despotovski says Melbourne City are no longer untouchable
  • ‘We all try to be like City. But we don’t have the funds of tycoons’

Perth Glory women’s coach Bobby Despotovski insists Melbourne City are no longer untouchable, and says all the pressure will be on the cashed-up club in the W-League grand final.

City went undefeated on the way to winning last season’s title in their maiden campaign in the W-League, but the star-studded squad have done it much tougher this time, overcoming a mid-season slump to scrape into fourth spot.

Related: Melbourne City down Canberra United in extra-time to reach W-League final

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/10/glory-coach-pressure-on-cashed-up-melbourne-city-in-w-league-final

Feb 05

Ignorance over Melbourne derby slur opens door to wider education | Francis Awaritefe

This is a big opportunity for FFA to harness the power of sport to promote non-discrimination, diversity and the principle of inclusivityLate in the highly charged atmosphere of the A-League Melbourne derby, Melbourne City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis clas…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/06/ignorance-over-melbourne-derby-slur-opens-door-to-wider-education

Feb 05

Dean Bouzanis apologises for Besart Berisha ‘gypsy’ slur in Melbourne derby

  • City goalkeeper admits remarks made out of ignorance
  • Pair had clashed all night during Melbourne derby

Melbourne City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis will undergo an education course after abusing Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha in Saturday night’s A-League derby.

The keeper has apologised to the Albanian for calling him a “fucking gypsy” in heated scenes at Etihad Stadium. The pair clashed all night, with Bouzanis saving Berisha’s penalty with the scores locked at 0-0.

Related: Victory seal controversial comeback win in Melbourne derby

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/05/dean-bouzanis-apologises-for-besart-berisha-gypsy-slur-in-melbourne-derby

Feb 04

Victory seal controversial comeback win in Melbourne derby

Besart Berisha propelled Melbourne Victory to an A-League derby comeback for the ages, coming from a goal behind to defeat Melbourne City 2-1 in the dying stages. Amid high drama on Saturday, Tim Cahill was sent off for dissent without making it onto the pitch as Victory jumped off the canvas with six minutes remaining.

City appeared to be heading for a win when Neil Kilkenny scored the first goal of his Australian career to put them ahead after 70 minutes. But Berisha – who had threatened to be the night’s villain after having a penalty saved brilliantly by Dean Bouzanis – put Victory on terms from Marco Rojas’ cut-back.

Related: Sydney FC undefeated from 18 A-League starts after Brisbane draw

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/05/melbourne-derby-victory-a-league-glory

Jan 27

Andrew Nabbout’s A-League double helps Jets past Melbourne City

  • Newcastle Jets 2-1 Melbourne City at Coffs Harbour
  • Livewire Andrew Habbout nets twice as Jets move inside top six

Newcastle livewire Andrew Nabbout has continued his A-League purple patch, scoring twice to dismantle Melbourne City 2-1 and lift the Jets back into the top six. A flat City were caught on the break either side of halftime in Coffs Harbour on Friday night as Nabbout delivered a finishing masterclass to notch his first brace since bursting on the scene in 2012 with Melbourne Victory.

Although the 24-year-old winger conceded a controversial penalty converted by Bruno Fornaroli to give the visitors hope, Michael Valkanis’ side slumped to another loss on the road to flounder six points behind Victory ahead of next week’s final Melbourne derby.

Related: The Joy of Six: Africa Cup of Nations memorable moments

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/27/andrew-nabbouts-a-league-double-helps-jets-past-melbourne-city

Jan 19

Tim Cahill at the double as Melbourne City claim victory over Mariners

  • Melbourne City 2-1 Central Coast Mariners
  • Cahill brace hands City all three points at AAMI Park

Tim Cahill headed Melbourne City to a much-needed A-League win, dismissing the challenge of 10-man Central Coast with a 2-1 result at AAMI Park.

Roy O’Donovan equalised and was dismissed within 23 minutes on Thursday night, either side of two first-half Cahill strikes.

Related: David Squires on … fan behaviour at the Sydney derby

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/19/tim-cahill-at-the-double-as-melbourne-city-claim-victory-over-mariners

Jan 12

Adelaide United stun Melbourne City after late Mark Ochieng winner

  • Adelaide Unitd 2-1 Melbourne City at Coopers Stadium
  • Substitute Mark Ochieng scores 87th minute winner to stun City

Adelaide United have stunned Melbourne City 2-1 in their A-League clash at Coopers Stadium, courtesy of a dramatic 87th-minute goal by young substitute Mark Ochieng. The Reds were forced to come from behind on Thursday night after Bruno Fornaroli opened the scoring in just the fourth minute.

It was just the defending champions’ second win of the season and a less-than-ideal return to Coopers Stadium for former Adelaide assistant and interim City coach Michael Valkanis.

Related: David Squires on … Melbourne City’s next coach

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/13/adelaide-united-stun-melbourne-city-after-late-mark-ochieng-winner

Jan 11

David Squires on … Melbourne City’s next coach

Our resident cartoonist looks at the runners and riders for the City post currently in the care of Michael Valkanis. You can find David’s archive of Australian sport cartoons here and he also has a book out – order it here

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/picture/2017/jan/11/david-squires-on-melbourne-citys-next-coach

Jan 08

Michael Valkanis dressed for success on Melbourne City coaching debut | Jonathan Howcroft

The caretaker boss ditched his tracksuit as he took his bow in charge of City against Western Sydney – and the symbolism was impossible to ignore

Given the opportunity, would you be a tracksuit or a business suit football manager? This dilemma used to be a schoolyard staple, and I can recall arguing the relative merits of the unkempt groundsman look of Brian Clough, a man of the people in his green sweater, compared to say the aristocratic tailoring of George Graham, stiff-backed and dapper, on a state of permanent readiness for a royal visit.

A University of Portsmouth research team published a paper in the International Journal of Sport Psychology in 2010 investigating the competing merits of the two sartorial approaches on football teams. The lead researcher, Dr Richard Thelwell, revealed: “We have found that the clothing that coaches wear can have a direct effect on the players’ perceptions of the coach’s ability.

Related: Defenders shine for Melbourne City in victory over Western Sydney

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/09/michael-valkanis-dressed-for-success-after-melbourne-city-coaching-debut

Jan 06

Defenders shine for Melbourne City in victory over Western Sydney

  • Melbourne City 1-0 Western Sydney Wanderers
  • Caretaker coach Michael Valkanis praises defence after debut win

Defence was the best form of attack for Michael Valkanis as he began his time as caretaker coach at Melbourne City with a 1-0 win over Western Sydney on Friday night.

So often at City this season it has been forwards Tim Cahill, Bruno Fornaroli or Fernando Brandan in the limelight but fittingly for Valkanis – a one-time Socceroo centre-back – it was the defenders that shone brightest at AAMI Park.

Related: David Squires on … a true A-League hero: the ball boy who duped Tim Cahill

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/07/defenders-shine-for-melbourne-city-in-victory-over-western-sydney

Jan 04

David Squires on … a true A-League hero: the ball boy who duped Tim Cahill

Our resident cartoonist takes a look at everyone’s favourite A-League figure of the week: the ball boy who deprived Melbourne City star Tim Cahill of the chance to unleash his signature goal celebration. You can find David’s archive of Australian sport cartoons here and he also has a book out – order it here

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/picture/2017/jan/05/david-squires-on-a-true-a-league-hero-the-ball-boy-who-duped-tim-cahill

Jan 02

John van ‘t Schip resigns as Melbourne City boss, Valkanis interim coach

  • City releases statement acknowledging Dutch coach’s departure
  • Van ‘t Schip departs after six seasons across two spells with the club

Melbourne City head coach John van ‘t Schip has stood down with immediate effect citing a desire to return to the Netherlands to care for his seriously ill father.

The club released a brief statement on Tuesday in which they thanked van ‘t Schip for his services to the club.

Related: Tim Cahill heads Melbourne City to FFA Cup final win over Sydney FC

I would like to thank everyone at the club and our fans for the fantastic period I had working at @MelbourneCity pic.twitter.com/gRyapdQq5e

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/03/van-t-schip-resigns-city-boss-valkanis-interim-coach

Dec 20

The year of the Cahill: love him or loathe him, 2016 has been Tim’s year

While it’s hard to measure exactly his impact on his team and the A-League, Melbourne City’s marquee signing can be satisfied with his homecoming

It was typical of Tim Cahill’s big-game temperament that he marked his much-anticipated A-League debut with a goal. And not just a goal, but some goal; a 30-metre limited-edition lithograph-worthy half-volley to open the scoring in a Melbourne derby in front of 40,000 fans at Etihad Stadium.

There was a sense as that attention-grabbing goal flew in, and as Cahill followed it up by throwing some well-rehearsed combinations at a corner flag, that the 36-year-old had, with one sweep of his right boot, repaid a chunk of the $1m or so Football Federation Australia contributed to secure the Socceroos’ talisman as a guest marquee player for Melbourne City. There was a similar feeling in late November when Cahill scored the winner in a tempestuous FFA Cup final against Sydney FC, his header delivering the A-League’s most upwardly mobile team its first piece of silverware.

Related: David Squires on … Tim Cahill’s wonder goal on his Melbourne City debut

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/dec/21/the-year-of-the-cahill-love-him-or-loathe-him-2016-has-been-tims-year

Dec 17

Berisha hits winner in Melbourne derby as Sydney march on in Perth

Tim Cahill delivered and Marco Rojas starred, but Besart Berisha pinched a breathtaking A-League derby win for Melbourne Victory.

Berisha tied the A-League’s scoring record by finishing Rojas’ cross in the 78th minute on Saturday night, ending Victory’s derby dry spell and leapfrogging Melbourne City on the A-League table in the process.

Related: Jets strike at the death to seal win over Adelaide despite howler

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/dec/18/berisha-hits-winner-in-melbourne-derby-as-sydney-march-on-in-pert

Dec 17

Melbourne derby: Melbourne Victory 2-1 Melbourne City – as it happened

  • Berisha hits winner at AAMI Park after Cahill opener
  • Victory leapfrog City to go into second place on ladder

11.16am GMT

It was all shaping up to be another Tim Cahill fairytale, but in the end it was an A-League stalwart who grabbed the glory – and a place in the record books. It’s only a matter of time before Besart Berisha makes that all-time goalscoring record his own, and he’ll no doubt pass triple figures at some stage too, but for now he’ll be happy with deservedly firing his team into second place on the ladder.

The game itself wasn’t always pretty, and the foul count seemed in danger of going through the AAMI Park roof at one stage, but there’s no denying the excitement and passion on show from both teams tonight made for a gripping contest. It came down to tactics in the end, with Victory’s incision and ability to create clear chances proving the difference. For all their huff and puff, City only looked dangerous when they pumped deep balls towards Cahill – whereas Victory had several clear cut shots on goal.

10.52am GMT

It’s all over, Victory claim the bragging rights at the third time of asking this season. It’ll taste all the sweeter as a result.

10.51am GMT

90+3 mins: Last chance for City. Free-kick into the box… but Thomas charges off his line to claim it.

10.49am GMT

90+2mins: Georgieviski comes on for Berisha. No record today, but he’s one step closer. The sub almost scores straight away. He’s causing all sorts of trouble. Time ticking away.

10.47am GMT

90 mins: Pressure building from City. Kilkeny with a volley that’s deflected wide for another corner. Victory hoof it away to safety. Four minutes of injury time.

10.46am GMT

89 mins: The clock is running down for City. Cahill with a last-minute header? He’s looked their most dangerous player in front of goal. Late corner.

10.43am GMT

86 mins: Troisi denied from close range. That would have been game over. As it is, City are still in it, but despite plenty of possession they haven’t troubled Thomas too much. Victory on the verge of going second with a game in hand.

10.42am GMT

84 mins: Do Victory deserve to be ahead? Possibly. They’ve defended solidly and had the better chances. Rojas comes off for Beister. The Kiwi has done well to last so long and played a huge part in Victory’s performance.

10.38am GMT

81 mins: Kamua comes off for Fitzgerald as City chase the game. Berisha looks rejuvenated. He wants that goalscoring record all to himself.

10.37am GMT

78 mins: Berisha! The striker fires into an empty net as Bouzanis tries to shut down the cut-back from Rojas. He doesn’t get there in time and Berisha smashes home. Very, very close to being offiside though – could have gone either way.

10.33am GMT

76 mins: Ingham so close to putting Victory in front after being fed through by Troisi. Bouzanis “makes himself big” and blocks the shot. Good work from the keeper.

10.31am GMT

74 mins: Both sides desperate to find the winner but it might be a case of who’s got the legs for it. The intensity and pace of the game has sapped a lot of energy but neither side is willing to take their foot off the gas. City on top at the minute.

10.29am GMT

72 mins: More niggly fouls, this time Kamua gives one away. There’s been 30 fouls so far, and with more than a few tired legs out there that figure is going to keep climbing higher and higher.

10.27am GMT

69 mins: Brattan is struggling for City. He got a knock in the first half but he’s still waving away calls from the bench. Colazo goes in the book for whacking the ball into the stands after Victory win a free-kick in dangerous territory. Rojas takes it but it fails to trouble Bouzanis.

10.25am GMT

67 mins: Right, can we get back to some football please? All this posturing is getting boring. Brandan has visions of glory as he charges down the left flank and blasts the ball goalwards from distance… but it sails miles over. Much hilarity among the Victory faithful.

10.23am GMT

10.22am GMT

65 mins: Yet more push and shove after a foul throw from Franjic and a foul by Troisi. The referee calms things down, but there’s a permanent crackle in the air. It’s only going to take one spark.

10.21am GMT

64 mins: Donachie renters the fray after having his face taped up for a boot to the face. There’s no polite way of saying this, he looks like the elephant man.

10.20am GMT

63 mins: Cahill with another header that goes inches wide. So close. He seems to levitate every time he gets near it.

10.18am GMT

62 mins: Rose comes off for Muscat. Hopefully the delay takes away some of the heat that’s been building the last few minutes.

10.17am GMT

59 mins: Dear oh dear. More handbags. Geria goes in the book for a shove on Brandan, who flies to the ground. Teammates get involved and soon Berisha and Fornaroli are in the book too. Tensions in danger of bubbling over.

10.14am GMT

56 mins: Handbags time. It was always going to happen at some stage. Bouzanis pushes and shoves with Berisha and Donachie. The referee sensibly waits for it to peter out and the game resumes.

10.12am GMT

55 mins: Victory getting back into it now. Successive corners give the City defence something to think about, but Bouzanis comes out confidently to claim the ball and stop the danger.

10.11am GMT

54 mins: Kalfallah with a charge down the left wing to relieve some of the pressure on Victory. His eventual cross is easily blocked but at least it buys the visitors some breathing space. Not for long though. City go straight up the other end and win a corner… but it comes to nothing.

10.08am GMT

52 mins: Oooo, close. Fornaroli with a great opportunity – but he fluffs it, volleying over at close range after a great knock back from Franjic. City asking all the questions.

10.07am GMT

49 mins: It’s been all City so far this half, although they’ve not really troubled the Victory net. A deep ball towards Tim Cahill might change that.

10.05am GMT

47 mins: A low inswinger causes some confusion in the Victory defence but they eventually hoof it away. Can both sides maintain the tempo of the first half? It was exciting stuff, if not exactly pretty at times. City still making the early running.

10.03am GMT

We’re back, and there’s been no change of personnel during the break. City on the attack early and win a free-kick on the right-hand side of the box for their troubles.

9.48am GMT

9.47am GMT

Brandan with the final touch of the half … and it’s very close to a goal, skidding inches wide of Thomas’ net. All square as we go into the break. Catch you in 15 mins.

9.45am GMT

45+1 mins: Cahill goes into the book much to the delight of the Victory fans. Bit of argy bargy while chasing the ball after the whistle. One more mistimed tackle and he could be in serious trouble.

9.43am GMT

45 mins: Lovely stuff from Fornaroli, taking a couple of touches under pressure to control a bouncing ball on the edge of the area, then unleashing a powerful shot straight at Thomas. A few inches either side of the keeper would have seriously troubled him. That might be the last chance of the half.

9.41am GMT

43 mins: The free-kick into the box comes to nothing, but every time a high ball falls within a 2m radius of Cahill’s head there’s a crackle of tension in the air. It’s just out of his range this time.

9.40am GMT

42 mins: City with a bit of possession, but Victory are defending tenaciously – a little too tenaciously in some cases. Fornaroli is brought down and City win a free-kick on the far right of the box.

9.38am GMT

39 mins: Victory finishing the half strongly, and if Berisha had his shooting boots on they could be a couple of goals clear by now. Muscat will be happy with how his side have dealt with that Cahill goal. All the best chances have fallen to them since then, some of them gift-wrapped by City.

9.36am GMT

37 mins: Franjic goes in the book for what could be generously called a full-blooded challenge on Khalfallah. Surprisingly few bookings so far – plenty of fouls, but nothing too serious. The referee has handled things well.

9.34am GMT

35 mins: Frenetic. It’s a word that gets used far too often to describe football games but it fits this one perfectly. Rojas creates some space with a few stepovers, but his final shot goes straight down the keeper’s throat. Seconds later, Berisha gets another chance but he goes to ground under pressure. No penalty claims, but he was very close to getting a shot away. Tongyik walking a fine line in the heart of the City defence.

9.31am GMT

32 mins: Thomas is far too casual with a pass back and almost – allllmost – gets caught in possession by Brandan. Risky stuff.

9.29am GMT

29 mins: Brandan does his now traditional three-turn roll on the floor after the slightest of touches, prompting more boos from an already tense crowd. End to end stuff at the minute, City look more dangerous up front but their defence doesn’t exactly inspire.

9.25am GMT

9.24am GMT

26 mins: Berisha should have made it two! He could have the goalscoring record in his pocket by now – the Albanian had all the time in the world after a ball over the top, but stroked it straight to Bouzanis.

9.23am GMT

24 mins: Rojas marks his return in style! Poor defending from Tongyik, failing to clear with a head then fluffing the follow-up. It lands with Rojas, who curls home. All square.

9.21am GMT

23 mins: Victory have responded well since the goal, harrying City all over the park. Rojas charges forward but his final through-ball is cut out before it can reach Fornaroli. Bouzanis is seeing more of the ball now.

9.19am GMT

21 mins: It’s all about Cahill at the minute. He’s been escorted off after getting another knock to the head. Play continues but he’s eager to get back on. No lasting damage.

9.18am GMT

19 mins: Now Cahill – who’s sporting a bandaged head after some overzealous celebrating – gets a stern talking to from referee Gillett after a strong challenge after the whistle had gone. Lucky not to get booked. Victory fans were braying.

9.16am GMT

9.15am GMT

17 mins: Cahill! It had to be. And surprise, surprise it’s a header. A deep corner to the back stick, Cahill muscles out two Victory players and nods it into the net. Textbook Timmy.

9.13am GMT

14 mins: Much better work from Bouzanis after being given a hospital pass under pressure. He calmly plays it out and the danger clears. City just shading it at the minute but not by much.

9.11am GMT

12 mins: Poor corner from Brattan… much to the delight of the Victory fans.

9.10am GMT

11 mins: Berisha gives away a foul after chopping down Brattan. A few niggly tackles from both teams, Fornaroli is bundled over by two Victory players to give City a free-kick 40 yards out. It doesn’t come to anything, but Victory struggle to clear and it leads to a spell of pressure form City. Corner for the hosts.

9.07am GMT

9.06am GMT

8 mins: It’s been more of an arm-wrestle than a blood-and-guts battle so far. Both sides trying to stomp some dominance on things but perhaps guilty of being a little over eager in the hunt for an early goal. A few stray passes all over the park.

9.04am GMT

6 mins: Berisha scuffs a clear chance after being put clean through. Poor finish – very unusual for Berisha. Touch of nerves perhaps? Would be unlike him but it happens to even the best players.

9.03am GMT

4 mins: Bouzanis has already made two slightly dodgy clearances. Not a great sign, especially in light of what happened to the Jets goalkeeper last night. What a howler that was. Berisha takes a shot that strikes Tongyik’s arm. Not much the young defender could have done about that, no penalty.

9.00am GMT

3 mins: Brattan whips in the corner but he can’t get it past the first defender and Victory are safe.

9.00am GMT

Peeeeeep! Referee Jarred Gillett blows his whistle and we’re off. An early scuff from Bouzanis gives Victory a throw-in but they give it back immediately. City making the early running. Brandan earns an early corner with some trickery down the left.

8.55am GMT

A big roar as the players finally file out to the strains of Fatboy Slim. Scarves aloft all around AAMI Park.

8.54am GMT

8.52am GMT

Not long to go now. How will City’s defence cope without their best defender? Berisha must be licking his lips. Must admit I fancied City to nick it before the team sheets came out. Now I’m erring towards Victory. That’s enough fence-sitting from me for now anyway. The players are just about to run out.

8.45am GMT

8.44am GMT

8.42am GMT

The team sheets are in and the big news is Jakobsen is missing for City, with early reports suggesting it’s due to a calf strain. That’s a big blow. The silver lining is Fernando Brandan has recovered from that horrific eye gouge he suffered at the hands of Rhyan Grant last week. What a trooper. As expected, Rojas is back for Victory.

Melbourne City: Dean Bouzanis (GK), Josh Rose, Ivan Franjic, Neil Kilkenny, Ruon Tongyik, Nicolas Colazo, Bruce Kamau, Tim Cahill, Bruno Fornaroli (c), Luke Brattan, Fernando Brandan

Melbourne Victory:
Lawrence Thomas (GK), Jason Geria, James Donachie, Alan Baro, Leigh Broxham, Oliver Bozanic, James Troisi, Carl Valeri (c), Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Besart Berisha, Marco Rojas.

8.35am GMT

Berisha isn’t the only striker on the pitch who can single-handedly turn a game – Bruno Fornaroli is more than capable of grabbing the headlines tonight, and not just because he likes dropping the F-bomb on national telly. Victory fans are all too aware of what the foul-mouthed forward is capable of, having scored four goals in as many derby games. Tough to pick out the best but this one was pretty special.

8.32am GMT

8.32am GMT

The other talking point this week has been Besart Berisha, and if/when everyone’s favourite

antagonistic Albanian
cranky Kosovan will pass Archie Thompson’s A-League goalscoring record. After single-handedly ripping apart the Wanderers last week, you wouldn’t put it past him bagging a brace this weekend to take his tally to 91.

8.26am GMT

Whatever your view on booing, I’m not quite sure what Cahill hoped to achieve by having a moan about it. He’s guaranteed to cop a load more today as a result. On the flip side, Cahill has a happy knack of rising to the occasion, so if he does get a lot of flak expect him to save a penalty with his head or something.

8.22am GMT

Speaking of which, I’ll never miss an opportunity to plug a David Squires cartoon … but seeing as I’ve already been beaten to it (on my own blog no less), I’ll just provide a simple hyperlink to his take on the Cahill booing saga. The Simpsons reference took me back to the episode where “Timmy”

Cahill
is trapped down a well and claims he was turned away from school because of his shabby clothes – cue a round of booing from the crowd. Principal Skinner feels your pain Mr Cahill.

8.19am GMT

8.16am GMT

Evening everyone, thanks for joining me for the pick of this weekend’s games as two bitter city rivals fight for the right to be recognised as Sydney’s main challengers at the top of the A-League table. It’s the football equivalent of two siblings scrapping over who gets the top bunk, only to discover Graham Arnold is already up there, snoozing away and occasionally mumbling “Tasmania United” in his sleep.

With Sydney facing a tricky assignment in Perth shortly after this clash, it’s the perfect chance to pinch Arnold’s nose and put a little bit of pressure on the leaders before they kick-off. The question is who’ll seize the initiative?

6.51am GMT

Richard will be here shortly but in the meantime, check out the latest from David Squires.

Related: David Squires on … booing Tim Cahill and Santa’s A-League naughty list

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2016/dec/17/melbourne-derby-melbourne-victory-vs-melbourne-city-a-league-live

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