Maclaren at the double as City beat Strikers to reach the FFA Cup 2019 Final
Melbourne City survived an early scare to beat Brisbane Strikers 5-1 on Tuesday night and become the first team into this year’s FFA Cup Final.
An FFA Cup boilover looked on the cards as the Queensland NPL outfit took a shock third-minute lead via a sensational strike from their prolific striker Andy Pengelly.
But City’s class eventually shone through as they moved into their second-ever FFA Cup decider with five unanswered goals in front of more than 3000 fans at Perry Park.
Youngster Connor Metcalfe scored his first senior goal as City drew level before the break, before Jamie Maclaren continued his streak of scoring in every round with a poacher’s finish early in the second half.
Javier Cabrera came off the bench to score his first City goal before Maclaren completed his brace late on, taking his tally for the FFA Cup 2019 to six goals to be the competition’s leading scorer.
Defender Scott Galloway then had the final say in stoppage-time, hitting a vicious swerving strike that was hit too sweetly for Scott to keep out.
City, who won the FFA Cup in 2016, will play the winner of Wednesday night’s second Semi Final between Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United.
- A dream start for the Queensland NPL club inside three minutes. Pengelly tries his luck from just outside the box, with his shot seeming to wrong-foot Dean Bouzanis and finish in the bottom corner of the net.
- City responded well and both Remy Najjarine and Maclaren had chances to equalise soon after.
- It took until the half-hour for City to hit back as Maclaren robbed Scott Halliday inside the Strikers’ half before racing forward and passing to Metcalfe. The youngster hit a perfect low drive which gave the keeper no chance.
- Josh Brillante tested Bon Scott from 30 metres out with a rasping drive that the gloveman could only parry away for a corner.
- Just before the break, Florin Berenguer was given too much space on the right and his cross picked out Maclaren, whose looping header almost dropped in but hit the bar before the Strikers defence cleared the danger.
- It took less than three minutes of the second half for City to edge in front through Maclaren. After Scott Jamieson’s lofted ball into the box was nodded down by Berenguer, the Caltex Socceroos did the rest from close range.
- The save of the night from the Scott as he dived full-length to his left to tip Metcalfe’s curling goal-bound effort around the post.
- City hit the woodwork again as Brillante’s clever flick finds Berenguer but the Frenchman’s looping effort goes over the Strikers keeper but hits the crossbar.
- Just after the hour mark – and minutes after coming off the bench, Cabrera had City’s third. Berenguer was again involved, picking out the Uruguayan’s near-post run as he beat Scott from close range.
- Maclaren got his second of the night with 10 minutes left, finishing off at the second attempt from Craig Noone’s inviting centre.
- There was still time for Galloway to score the goal of the night at the death as City produced a five-star display to reach the decider.