Fornaroli, De Laet fire City past Phoenix

Goals from Melbourne City's two marquee men have seen off the challenge of A-League battlers Wellington Phoenix on Friday night at AAMI Park.

BRUNO FORNAROLI of Melbourne City is challenged by Kearyn Baccus of the Wanderers during the A-League match between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City FC at Spotless Stadium in Sydney, Australia.
BRUNO FORNAROLI of Melbourne City is challenged by Kearyn Baccus of the Wanderers during the A-League match between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City FC at Spotless Stadium in Sydney, Australia. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

Stunning goals from Ritchie De Laet and Bruno Fornaroli have returned Melbourne City to the A-League winner's list at Wellington Phoenix's expense.

De Laet lashed a 25-metre bomb in the opening minutes before Fornaroli made the points safe after half-time at AAMI Park on Friday night.

City swept aside both Mark Rudan's ordinary outfit and the memory of last week's thrashing by Sydney FC with a confident display.

Perhaps most importantly, their talisman got his first for the season.

Fornaroli had come under fire for his goalless start to the campaign, but the golden boot winner came alive with a classic strike on the hour mark.

Riley McGree showed patience with the ball before teeing up the Uruguayan on the edge of the box, who took one touch before curling home inside the far post.

His precision strike was in contrast with the sheer power of De Laet's opener.

The Belgian rasped a cutback from Lachlan Wales which sheered into the net, meaning City's two marquee men brought home the points.

Last-ditch efforts from veteran defender Andrew Durante and Filip Kurto in the Phoenix goal prevented a blowout.

Durante was at full-stretch to deny Florin Berenguer's cross aimed for a free Fornaroli before half-time, with the goalkeeper making handy saves from both those attackers.

At the other end, Eugene Galekovic's sole involvement of importance was clearing a Sarpreet Singh free kick.

Wellington's best chance was stymied by referee Adam Fielding, who overturned his own free kick decision with use of the video assistant.

Mitch Nichols' shot on 66 minutes was originally given as handball against Scott Jamieson and might have seen a penalty awarded.

Instead, Fielding used the technology to correctly signal for a drop ball after replays showed the ball struck the City captain's hand at close range while he held it over his chest.

Rudan, who was yellow-carded in the aftermath of the incident, was incensed by the call.

"It changes the game, only for them to turn around and say it wasn't a handball. I don't know what to say," he said.

"You can't even talk to the officials , that's the other problem.

Rudan said the difference was "two quality strikes from outside the box from their marquees".

In contrast, City coach Warren Joyce was happy with a stats sheet that showed 14 shots to five.

"We played some good football . We cut through the lines ... we created plenty of chances," he said.


AAP

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