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Tim Cahill debuts in Melb City FFA Cup win

AAP logoAAP 24/08/2016 Ciaran Baynes

Socceroo Tim Cahill has made his first senior club appearance in Australian football, coming on as 64th-minute substitute in Melbourne City's 2-1 victory over Brisbane Strikers in the FFA Cup round of 16.

The 36-year-old, who drew a sellout 3571 crowd on Wednesday night to Perry Park in Brisbane, entered the fray to a rapturous ovation with the scores level at 1-1.

Playing just behind striker Bruno Fornaroli, Cahill had his own effort on goal blocked in the 73rd minute before putting his hand up to take a penalty that came four minutes later, but skipper Fornaroli waved him away before netting his second spot-kick of the night.

The Strikers opened the scoring in the 34th minute when unmarked centre-back Greig Henslee turned home Hiroki Omori's inswinging free-kick from six metres out.

The National Premier League Queensland winners were full value for the lead after goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen had being called on to make stops from Omori and Rhys Meredith.

Three minutes after his goal, Henslee undid his good work by chopping down Nick Fitzgerald in the penalty area to concede in the box and Fornaroli hit his penalty to the left of Sebastian Usai's outstretched arm.

The second spot-kick was almost a carbon copy of the first with Bruce Kamau this time goal-bound before Jake Marshall, who had blocked Cahill's effort minutes earlier, rashly brought down the winger.

Last year's A-League top scorer Fornaroli blasted the penalty down the middle of the goal to put his side through to the last eight.

Although relieved at making the quarter finals, City's defence will have worried John van 't Schip with balls played over the top of their defence consistently, causing difficulty throughout the night.

It is no surprise City are likely to sign a defender as a marquee player before the A-League season starts in October.

Cahill played his part as an ambassador, signing numerous autographs before and after the match for the record crowd, the first of many contributions back following his part-FFA-funded estimated $4 million two-year deal with City.

"It felt like I was starting my career again," Cahill said.

"I began my career playing in grounds like this.

"These guys were up for it; they can be proud at what they achieved - and so can City. It was a really good effort and (they are) a good footballing team.

"This is amazing, it's really good for this place and I'm really happy for them.

"This is what it's all about to come to places like this and help fill the ground up and contribute for 30 minutes is nice. Obviously, I'd have liked to contribute a bit more on the pitch, but I've got a few games coming up with the Socceroos being involved in and we'll see what happens with that," Cahill said.

Coach van 't Schip said he was confident Cahill and Fornaroli would soon form a fine partnership, although he admitted it was not ideal that his new signing would spend a fortnight with the Socceroos before the start of the season.

"It would be nice to have them together (for all of pre-season), but they're both smart players and they'll work it out together," van 't Schip said.

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