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Cahill sparks City A-League rout of Jets

NZN 18/03/2017 Ben McKay

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.

With Lleyton Hewitt applauding in the crowd, Cahill departed from his normal corner flag-punching celebration to serve an imaginary a tennis ball in front of the former world No.1.

The goal would be music to the ears of national team boss Ange Postecoglou, as he readies the Socceroos to take on Iraq and United Arab Emirates in vital matches on the road to Russia.

The Jets resembled deer in headlights as City took control, coming closest to a first-half addition through a Fornaroli free kick.

Perhaps with an eye to his national team duty, Cahill was substituted after 55 minutes.

But the forward didn't have eyes for the substitutes board, seeing his number called but refusing to budge - eventually beginning a slow trudge to the bench.

With Cahill departed, City found the goals their dominance deserved.

Fitzgerald latched onto a Anthony Caceres' inspired ball to volley over Duncan on 65 minutes.

Then fellow substitute Bruce Kamau danced through the box to draw a foul from Daniel Mullen and give Fornaroli the chance from the spot.

He scored with ease, before raising a t-shirt bearing team-mate Fernando Brandan's name to recognise the ACL injury suffered last week by the Argentinian.

Fornaroli netted his 17th goal of the season when a loose ball in the box fell to him under no pressure.

He should have ended the night on four goals, only for Duncan to deny the Uruguayan after crosses from Fitzgerald and Kamau.

City coach Michael Valkanis delighted in his side's third clean sheet of the season, and first back-to-back success since round two.

"It was probably even more important than scoring so many goals," Valkanis said of their shut-out.

"It was a very good performance in regards to the way the boys executed their strategy ... there probably could have been more goals."

Stand-in coach Clayton Zane, handed the reins with Mark Jones' suspension, said the result could cost them a chance to play finals.

"We've put ourselves in a position now where we're really reliant on other peoples results," he said.

"It's getting harder and harder. The boys know that and they're disappointed. But at 2-0 we needed to (push forward and) have a crack."

The Jets trail Western Sydney and Wellington, who play each other on Sunday, in the race for sixth place.

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