You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Fornaroli on the A-League spot for City

NZN 6 days ago Ben McKay

Melbourne City will head into the FFA Cup Final full of confidence after Bruno Fornaroli and his football smarts helped defeat Wellington Phoenix 2-1 in their A-League tussle.

City returned to second on the table with the three points at AAMI Park on Sunday in a helter-skelter match that might have finished any which way.

Nick Fitzgerald's deflected shot on 44 minutes began the scoring and Roy Krishna replied 13 minutes after half-time by poking home his penalty at the second time of asking.

With the game in the balance, City's captain settled the contest with a piece of invention few in the league could conjure.

As a dangerous ball from Anthony Caceres approached, Fornaroli attempted an overhead kick that lured Nix defender Marco Rossi into manhandling him.

The penalty awarded, City's captain did the business from the spot, scoring his seventh goal in eight games to settle the contest.

Despite resting Tim Cahill and Bruce Kamau with one eye to Wednesday's FFA Cup final, City were worth their win, playing with their trademark intensity.

Teasing first-half balls from Luke Brattan and Fernando Brandan required attention from Glen Moss, while Fornaroli threatened throughout.

Just as cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory did 24 hours earlier, the breakthrough came courtesy of a heavy deflection.

Fitzgerald shimmied his way into the box, finding space to unleash a left foot curler that if left alone, might have found its way inside the back post.

Instead, a Marco Rossi intervention diverted the ball past the flailing Moss.

The half-time score of 1-0 might have been inflated if referee Kurt Ames had given any of a trio of penalty shouts involving Krishna at one end and Brandan at the other.

The penalties eventually did come, firstly for the Nix.

Ivan Franjic tugged ever so lightly at the shirt of Kosta Barbarouses on the edge of the box, sending Krishna to the spot.

Dean Bouzanis saved the penalty but dropped the ball at the Fijian's feet, allowing him to tap home.

The Phoenix chased the game after going behind in the 71st minute, with Andrew Durante missing a gilt-edged chance to tap in with just minutes remaining.

It was not to be for Ernie Merrick's side, allowing City to close within four points of league leaders Sydney FC after eight rounds.

Merrick dissented on the topic of Fornaroli's penalty, saying the league's leading scorer was the transgressor.

"He's got hold of the shirt of Marco Rossi and then he goes for an overhead kick, nearly kicks Marco in the face and misses the ball and pulls Marco down on top of him and Marco gets the yellow card," he said.

"I'm disappointed. I thought the players worked really hard to the end."

Victorious coach John van 't Schip said he only saw one winner from the contest.

"We could have gone up two or three nil by half-time ... overall we deserved to win," he said.

"It was important and a good win leading up to Wednesday."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon