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2018/19 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Ritchie de Laet (9')
  • Bruno Fornaroli (59')

Melbourne City return to winning ways against Wellington Phoenix

Stunning goals from Ritchie De Laet and Bruno Fornaroli returned Melbourne City to winning ways in the A-League with a 2-0 victory over Wellington Phoenix.

De Laet's strike from 25-metres put City ahead in the opening minutes before Fornaroli made the points safe after halftime 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, with their talisman Fornaroli back in form after scoring his first for the season.

The Uruguayan 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 Fornaroli on the edge of the box, who took one touch before curling home at 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 the scoreline from reflecting worse on the visitors.

Durante was at full-stretch to deny Florin Berenguer's cross aimed for a free Fornaroli before halftime, with the goalkeeper making handy saves from both 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 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," but in contrast, City coach Warren Joyce was happy with a stats sheet that showed 14 shots to five.

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