Brisbane Strikers 1
Melbourne City 2
Fornaroli (37’ pen, 78’ pen)
Tim Cahill’s Melbourne City career has got off to a winning start as they held off a stubborn Brisbane Strikers 2-1 at a sold-out Perry Park in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 16.
City fell behind to a Greig Henslee goal but two penalties from skipper Bruno Fornaroli proved enough to get the Hyundai A-League club through to the quarter-finals.
Most eyes were on Cahill and the Caltex Socceroos star came on for his City debut just after the hour mark to a generous ovation from a new Strikers ground record crowd of 3571.
Despite surrendering most of the possession, the Strikers were creating the better opportunities and deservedly went ahead on 34 minutes.
No one picked up Henslee from Hiroki Omori’s free-kick, with the defender slotting past a helpless Thomas Sorensen from close range.
But Henslee went from hero to villain three minutes later as his mistimed lunge in the box brought down Nick Fitzgerald and Bruno Fornaroli made no mistake from the penalty spot.
A cracking Cup tie saw both sides create chances after the break but the game swung in City’s favour 13 minutes from time when Bruce Kamau surged into the box and was tripped up by Jake Marshall.
Fornaroli stroked his penalty down the middle to give City the lead which they wouldn’t surrender on what was a magical night in Brisbane.