Hyundai A-League season 2016/2017 review: Melbourne City

Melbourne City's starting XI pose for a team photo prior to their Elimination Final loss to Perth Glory.

Melbourne City’s starting XI pose for a team photo prior to their Elimination Final loss to Perth Glory.

An up and down season for Melbourne City saw the club win their first piece of silverware but also plummet from the Hyundai A-League Finals at the first hurdle. We examine City’s season and look ahead to the 2017/18 campaign.

Position: 4th, beaten in finals week one

Record: Played 28, Won 11, Drawn 6, Lost 11

Goals: 49

Conceded: 46

Leading Goal Scorer: Bruno Fornaroli (17)

Best home crowd: 24,706 – Round 11 against Melbourne Victory

Star performer: Michael Jakobsen

After conceding 48 goals last season, John van’t Schip moved to shore up his back four and the Danish centre-back was key to that. The stylish, composed defender brought the experience of playing well over a dozen years at the top level in Europe and for his national side and immediately solidified the rearguard.

Michael JakobsenInjury affected his season but that just reinforced his worth as City conceded an average of two goals per game in his absence.

Breakout player: Ruon Tongyik

Defensive composure is rare in such a young player, but the rookie Sudanese-born centre-back looked every inch a star of the future in his 15 appearances during what was a debut Hyundai A-League campaign.

Ruon Tongyik on the ball during City's 3-2 win over Central Coast Mariners.

At the end of the season, the talented youngster was named among the reserves in the PFA Team of the Season.

Goal of the year: Tim Cahill

One of the big pre-season questions was how long it would take Australia’s greatest ever goalscorer to make his mark in the Hyundai A-League. As it turned out, the answer was less than half an hour.

Tim Cahill celebrates his wonder strike with Bruno Fornaroli.

In front of 43-thousand enraptured fans in the round two Melbourne derby at AAMI Park, the ball broke to Cahill forty yards from goal and his audacious long-range strike into the top corner announced his arrival in no uncertain terms and spawned a thousand replays across the next few months. It never gets old.

Highlight: Derby delight

Cahill’s goal above was followed by three more as City put their cross-town rivals to the sword, playing some awe-inspiring football and looking every inch a championship contender. New imports Nicolas Colazo and Fernando Brandan combined effortlessly in attack with Cahill, Bruno Fornaroli, Bruce Kamau and Luke Brattan while at the back, it took a special piece of Marco Rojas skill to breach a compact looking rearguard.

Fernando Brandan.

Even that was a consolation goal as Melbourne City became the early favourites to claim the silverware in 2016/17.

Lowlight: Meek finals surrender

The signs were there leading into the finals series, with City losing three of their previous four games, but even so, their 0-2 home loss to Perth in the elimination final was hard to fathom.  With their season on the line, City were utterly flat in the first half and Perth took advantage with goals from Diego Castro and Joel Chianese giving them a buffer they never relinquished. City finally woke up in the second half, but by then they were chasing the game and Glory allowed them just two shots on target all game.

Glory defender Dino Djulbic fights for the ball with City captain Bruno Fornaroli.

As they left AAMI Park with their collective shoulders slumped, City seemed a million miles away from the team that had started the season with such promise.

What they need:

Like Adelaide and Phoenix, a decision on the coach for 2017/18 needs to come before anything else. All signs point to a new man at the helm and when he arrives his main recruitment focus will fall on the extension (or not) of the loan deals of Luke Brattan and Anthony Caceres as well as finding replacements for Nicolas Colazo, Josh Rose and Thomas Sorensen. The main issue though seems to be moulding one of the best on-paper squads in the competition into a side that can fulfil its undoubted potential.

Melbourne City players celebrate Bruno Fornaroli's opener against the Mariners on Sunday.

We saw glimpses – and they were amazing – but it’s consistency that must now be found and maintained.

Acquisitions for next season:


Losses for next season:

Thomas Sorensen, Nicolas Colazo, Josh Rose, Corey Gameiro, Steve Kuzmanovski

Outlook for 2017/18:

Next season is likely to begin in much the same way this one did, with rightful – if cautious – optimism. With the likes of Cahill, Fornaroli, Jakobsen, Brandan, Franjic, Kilkenny and Kamau on the roster, City really should be challenging for the silverware.

Bruno Fornaroli celebrates one of his two goals against the Jets on Saturday night.

They won the FFA Cup this season, but that simply whetted their fans’ appetites for bigger trophies. At some point, City need a breakthrough season – they’ll hope it’s coming in 2017/18.



Source : Football Federation Australia

Hyundai A-League Finals Series preview: Melbourne City v Perth Glory


Saturday, 22 April 2017

Michael Huguenin
A week after losing a crazy Round 27 match 5-4 in WA, Melbourne City will be aiming for revenge at home against Perth Glory with a spot in the Hyundai A-League Semi Finals the prize.


Sunday 23 April 2017

AAMI Park, Melbourne

Kick-Off: 7:00pm (AEST)

Referee: Chris Beath

Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream

Assistant Referee 2: Paul Cetrangolo

Fourth Official: Jonathan Barreiro

Video Assistant Referee: Craig Zetter

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 6.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport Sky Sport Pop-Up (New Zealand). Delayed broadcast on SBS VICELAND from 7.30pm AEST

Radio Broadcast: ABC Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. After 1930: ABC Radio Melbourne, ABC Radio Perth, ABC Radio Vic/WA, Crocmedia A-League Live (, 1116 SEN (Melbourne)

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ALFinals

Manny Muscat, Paulo Retre
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Neil KILKENNY, 9.Nicolas COLAZO, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 12.Nick FITZGERALD, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 17.Tim CAHILL, 18.Paulo RETRE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI (c), 26.Luke BRATTAN

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 2.Manny MUSCAT (promoted), 14.Daniel ARZANI (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (ACL – season), 27.Fernando BRANDAN (ACL – season), 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (ACL – season)

Perth Glory squad: 3.Marc WARREN, 5.Rhys WILLIAMS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebo MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 13.Nick FEELY (gk), 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Joe MILLS 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Mitch OXBORROW, 19.Josh RISDON, 22.Adam TAGGART, 26.Lucian GOIAN, 33.Liam REDDY (gk)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 5.Rhys WILLIAMS (promoted), 16.Joe MILLS (promoted)

Rhys Williams plays the ball during Glory's Round 1 clash against the Mariners.

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 2.Alex GRANT (foot – season), 4.Shane LOWRY (quad – season)


For the second time in eight days, City will take on Glory with last week’s crazy game fresh in the memories of both squads.

Perth denied City a third-place finish in Round 27, storming to a 4-1 lead with 15 minutes remaining and then surviving the visitors’ response to triumph in a nine-goal thriller.

It means that for the second straight season, City will host Kenny Lowe’s Glory in an elimination final at AAMI Park.

Last year, Bruno Fornaroli scored a double – a bicycle kick in the first half and a direct free-kick in the second – as City won 2-0.

Perth don’t have a great record in the A-League finals – they have qualified in only four IN 11 seasons and all three of their wins from seven previous post-season fixtures came in 2011-12 when they reached the grand final.

Bruno Fornaroli is confident City can rebound in this week's Elimination Final against Perth Glory.

That season, Glory defeated Melbourne Heart, Wellington Phoenix and Central Coast Mariners before eventually losing 2-1 to Brisbane Roar in the championship decider.

Lowe’s men have had the edge over City in 2016/17, winning twice and drawing once despite having to play in Melbourne in two of those matches.

Last week’s nine goals weren’t that out of the ordinary either, with the three meetings between City and Glory finishing with a total of 20.

Perth striker Andy Keogh (4 goals) has enjoyed this fixture the most this term, while Diego Castro has found the back of the net three times.

Bruno Fornaroli and Tim Cahill have matched the Spaniard’s tally for City.

Coach Michael Valkanis has added Manny Muscat and Daniel Arzani to the City squad he took to Perth last week, while Rhys Williams and Joe Mills have earned recalls to Glory’s extended group.

Glory have beaten fellow top-six sides City and Brisbane Roar in their past two games, while Valkanis’ side hasn’t beaten another finalist in six matches.


* Perth have scored 10 goals in the opening 15 minutes of games this season, the most of any team and two more than Melbourne City.

* Tim Cahill has scored three goals from four shots in his last two games against Glory.

* Diego Castro has created 33 away chances this season, more than any other player in the competition.


Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for either of these teams this season – only premiers Sydney FC (55) scored more than Glory’s 53, while City (49) finished equal third alongside archrivals Melbourne Victory.

It is in defence that Lowe and Valkanis need to do some work – the past seven fixtures between City and Glory have seen an average of 5.29 goals per game.

The return of Michael Jakobsen a fortnight ago saw City earn just their third clean sheet of the A-League campaign in a 1-0 win over Adelaide United, but judging by last week, clearly the Danish centre-back cannot cure all ills.

Only Sydney (234) have faced fewer shots than City (288) in 2016-17, which raises questions about replacing last season’s A-League goalkeeper of the year Thomas Sorensen with Dean Bouzanis.

Glory simply allow opposition sides too many opportunities – only Central Coast Mariners (430) have faced more shots than Lowe’s men (397).

Glory skipper Rostyn Griffiths celebrates scoring against the Reds on Friday night.The return of captain Rostyn Griffiths from a quadriceps injury off the bench last week should give the visitors some hope ahead of Sunday’s clash, as he could play a critical role in screening Perth’s back four.

In all three of Glory’s clean sheets this season, Griffiths has partnered with Brandon Wilson in central midfield and Rhys Williams has played in defence – all three didn’t start against City last week.


Tim Cahill. The Socceroos’ all-time leading scorer was critical in ensuring City avoided slipping further down the A-League table in the final round of the regular season, scoring twice at nib Stadium.


Melbourne City: WLLWL

Perth Glory: LLDWW


Melbourne City 3-2 Perth Glory

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Source : Football Federation Australia

Melbourne City v Perth Glory: did you know?

Diego Castro (Glory) and Neil Kilkenny (City) will be pivotal to their respective side's chances on Sunday night.

Did you know the last seven games between Melbourne City and Perth Glory have produced 37 goals?

That’s an average of 5.3 goals per game!


Check out these other top Opta stats ahead of their mouth-watering Finals Series clash on Sunday.

·       Perth have scored six goals in their last two games against Melbourne City at AAMI Park, winning one and drawing the other.

·       Melbourne City’s only previous Finals Series match at AAMI Park was a 2-0 victory over Glory last season.

Bruno Fornaroli celebrates one of his two goals against Glory in last season's Finals Series.

·       Perth have won their last two games; the last time they won more in succession was a five-game stretch from rounds 22-26 last season which included a 3-2 win against City.

·       Melbourne City have made 12,219 passes this season, the second-most of any team, while Glory (9,660) are the only team yet to break the 10,000 mark.

·       Perth have scored 10 goals in the opening 15 minutes of games this season, the most of any team and two more than Melbourne City.


Andy Keogh celebrates one of his two goals against the Reds on Friday night.·       Tim Cahill has scored three goals from four shots in his last two games against Glory.

·       Diego Castro has created 33 away chances this season, more than any other player in the competition.

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Source : Football Federation Australia

Melbourne City set to surprise in finals showdown

Michael Valkanis has hinted at changes for City's Elimination Final against Perth Glory.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Jason Pine @pineyzb
Melbourne City coach Michael Valkanis has foreshadowed changes in this team’s formation and personnel to defeat one of their bogey sides this season Perth Glory in Sunday’s Elimination Final.

Speaking the official pre-match press conference on Saturday at AAMI Park, the City boss didn’t want to elaborate too much but foreshadowed changes in his team’s set up in terms of personnel and formation to defeat a side they clearly struggle to deal with.


And Valkanis tipped a physical Glory on Sunday.


Glory had the wood over City this season, with two wins and a draw in their three encounters.
Tim Cahill has welcomed critics writing off Melbourne City's chances for Sunday's Hyundai A-League Elimination Final against Perth Glory.

“Having played Perth three times this year and having a look at it, we’ll set up with a slight difference,” said Valkanis.

“In all [three] games, we’ve had so much of the ball and we’re in attack so much and we’ve got that many opportunities, it’s like we switch off.

“We either switch off on the counter attack or on set piece.

“That’s something we’ve worked on again this week,” he added.

When Perth and Melbourne City met last Sunday, it was a crazy game that ended 5-4 in Glory’s favour.

With the stakes far higher and seasons on the line, tomorrow’s Hyundai A-League elimination final between the two is set to be a lot tighter.

“Last week was a totally different proposition,” the City coach told media on the eve of the mouth-watering clash.

Glory's Chris Harold battles for the ball with City's Neil Kilkenny.

“We’ve gone into that game with something to play for, wanting third spot.

“Perth have probably gone into it a little bit freer knowing they’ll give everything they’ve got and may just get fourth spot, but if worst comes to worst they’ll get fifth or sixth and get an away final anyway.

“We took risks and they took some big risks as well.

“In the end you nearly got an AFL score which was probably very good for the neutrals but no so good for the coaches,” he said.


And Valkanis has declared his team 100% ready for the Finals Series.

Melbourne City players celebrate Bruno Fornaroli's opener against the Mariners on Sunday.“It’s Finals football,” he said. “They’re ready and up for it.

“You can see it in their eyes. The rest is all history.

“We can only write history now,” he said.


Five to go 

Source : Football Federation Australia

Squads named for Grand Final

Perth Glory and Melbourne City have announced their squads for Sunday’s Westfield W-League 2017 Grand Final.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Staff Writer
Perth Glory and Melbourne City have announced their squads for Sunday’s Westfield W-League 2017 Grand Final.

Both sides are virtually at full strength with Melbourne City’s long-term injury absentee Larissa Crummer the only notable name missing.

The two sides have met just once this season with Perth Glory winning 3-2 at Melbourne’s AAMI Park in late December.

Champions Melbourne City are aiming to retain the crown they earned in their maiden campaign last season, while Perth Glory are hunting a first championship after they lost their only season-decider two years ago.

Westfield W-League 2017 Grand Final – Ins and Outs
Perth Glory v Melbourne City FC
Sunday 12 February 2017
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-Off: 4:30PM (Local) (7:30PM (AEDT))

Referee: Kate Jacewicz
Assistant Referee 1: Sarah Ho
Assistant Referee 2: Allyson Flynn
Fourth Official: Danielle Anderson
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Rebecca Durcau
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Lara Lee

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), Live coverage on ABC2 from 7:30pm (AEDT) in NSW, ACT, VIC & TAS, delayed coverage on ABC2 in QLD, SA, NT & WA – 7:30pm (local)                                           

Radio Broadcast: ABC Radio Perth, ABC Radio WA, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tags #WLeague #WLeagueFinals #BeRemarkable

To purchase tickets visit 

Perth Glory squad: 1.Melissa MAIZELS (gk), 2.Sarah CARROLL, 3.Kim CARROLL, 4.Alyssa MAUTZ, 5.Patricia CHARALAMBOUS, 6.Carla BENNETT, 7.Nicole STANTON, 8.Shawn BILLAM, 9.Rosie SUTTON, 10.Vanessa DIBERNARDO, 13.Jaymee GIBBONS, 14.Caitlin DOEGLAS, 17.Natasha RIGBY, 18.Gabrielle DAL BUSCO (gk), 20.Samantha KERR (c), 22.Arianna ROMERO

Ins: Nil

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 2.Teigen ALLEN, 3.Lauren BARNES, 5.Laura ALLEWAY, 6.Aivi LUIK, 7.Steph CATLEY (c), 10.Jessica FISHLOCK, 11.Erika TYMRAK, 12.Olivia ELLIS, 13.Rebekah STOTT, 14.Melina AYRES, 15.Amy JACKSON, 16.Beverly YANEZ, 17.Marianna TABAIN, 18.Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI, 19.Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC, 20.Emily SHIELDS (gk) **two to be omitted**

Ins: 12.Olivia ELLIS, 18.Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 9.Larissa CRUMMER (foot – season)
Played 3: Perth Glory wins 1 (3 goals), Melbourne City FC wins 2 (10 goals).
Round 3, 2015/16 (31 October 2015) Ashfield Reserve – Perth Glory 0 Melbourne City FC 4 (Marianna Tabain 12’, Lisa De Vanna 20’, Larissa Crummer 52’, 64’).
Round 10, 2015/16 (20 December 2015) CB Smith Reserve – Melbourne City FC 4 (Kim Little 63’, Marianna Tabain 69’, Larissa Crummer 83’, Jess Fishlock 93’) Perth Glory 0.
Round 8, 2016/17 (27 December 2016) AAMI Park – Melbourne City FC 2 (Jess Fishlock 60’, Aivi Luik 72’) Perth Glory 3 (Rosie Sutton 47’, Sam Kerr 77’, 85’).

FORM GUIDE 2016 /17
PERTH GLORY: played 13 – W8-D2-L3
MELBOURNE CITY FC: played 13 – W7-D2-L4
PERTH GLORY – HOME: played 7 – W4-D2-L1 Record in 2016/17
MELBOURNE CITY FC – AWAY: played 7 – W4-D1-L2

Perth Glory
06/11/16 Western Sydney Wanderers (H) W 4–2 nib Stadium
12/11/16 Brisbane Roar (H) D 0–0 Dorrien Gardens
20/11/16 Newcastle Jets (A) L 0–1 McDonald Jones Stadium
04/12/16 Melbourne Victory (A) W 2–0 Lakeside Stadium
11/12/16 Sydney FC (H) W 1–0 Dorrien Gardens
17/12/16 Adelaide United (A) W 4–1 Elite Systems Football Centre
27/12/16 Melbourne City FC (A) W 3–2 AAMI Park
02/01/17 Newcastle Jets (H) D 1–1 Dorrien Gardens
08/01/17 Melbourne Victory (H) W 3–2 Dorrien Gardens
14/01/17 Canberra United (A) L 2–7 McKellar Park
22/01/17 Adelaide United (H) L 1–2 Dorrien Gardens
29/01/17 Western Sydney Wanderers (A) W 1–0 Popondetta Park
04/02/17 Sydney FC (H) W 5–1 nib Stadium (Semi Final)

Melbourne City
06/11/16 Newcastle Jets (H) W 1–0 CB Smith Reserve
12/11/16 Canberra United (A) W 2–1 GIO Stadium
27/11/16 Melbourne Victory (H) W 3–0 AAMI Park
04/12/16 Brisbane Roar (A) W 2–1 AJ Kelly Field
10/12/16 Canberra United (H) L 1–2 CB Smith Reserve
18/12/16 Western Sydney Wanderers (A) L 1–2 Popondetta Park
27/12/16 Perth Glory (H) L 2–3 AAMI Park
02/01/17 Adelaide United (H) D 1–1 CB Smith Reserve
08/01/17 Sydney FC (A) D 1–1 Allianz Stadium
15/01/17 Melbourne Victory (A) L 0–2 Epping Stadium
22/01/17 Brisbane Roar (H) W 3–1 CB Smith Reserve
27/01/17 Newcastle Jets (A) W 2–0 C.ex Coffs International Stadium
05/02/17 Canberra United (A) W 1–0 GIO Stadium (Semi Final)


Football Federation Australia

Melbourne City crowned Foxtel NYL Champions

Melbourne City have been crowned the Foxtel NYL Champions after defeating Sydney FC.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Staff writer

 Melbourne City FC are the Foxtel National Youth League 2017 Champions after a thrilling 3-2 win over Sydney FC in the season decider at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford this afternoon.

A penalty from Braedyn Crowley with literally the last kick of the game decided the result to give Melbourne City FC their second Foxtel National Youth League title.

In an enthralling end to end encounter, Melbourne City FC dominated the opening 45 minutes but only had a one goal advantage to show for it at half time when Crowley timed his run to perfection to latch onto Daniel Arzani’s cross and beat Mitchell Evans in the Sky Blues goal in the 22nd minute. Melbourne City FC would be made to rue their missed opportunities as Sydney FC drew level when George Timotheou was credited for poking the ball home although City defender Ruon Tongyik appeared to turn a Cristian Gonzalez free kick into his own net. The goal seemed to energise the Sky Blues and when substitute Charles Lokolingoy curled a cracking shot into the top corner in the 68th minute Sydney FC were in front and dreaming of claiming back-to-back Foxtel National Youth League title. But the twists and turns continued as Melbourne City FC won a penalty for a handball with ten minutes to go, Arzani converting from the spot to set up a grandstand finish. Both sides continue to create and spurn quality chances as cramp started to settle in on a number of players feeling the effects of the warm Gosford afternoon. Then just as extra time beckoned, Sydney FC substitute Liam McGing was adjudged to have handballed in the penalty area from a corner and with the resultant spot kick Crowley made no mistake to etch Melbourne City FC’s name on the trophy.

FOXTEL National Youth League 2017 Grand Final Melbourne City FC 3 (Crowley 22’, 90+11’ (pen), Arzani 81’ (pen)) Sydney FC 2 (Timotheou 58’, Lokolingoy 68’) Saturday 28 January 2016 Central Coast Stadium, Gosford Referee: Stephen Laurie Melbourne City FC starting line-up: 40.Yaren SOZER (gk) (c), 34.Denis GENREAU, 35.Christian CAVALLO, 36.Dylan PIERIAS, 37.Braedyn CROWLEY, 38.Paulo RETRE (55.Austin WONG 78’), 39.Ali EYIGUN (44.Jordon HALL 66’), 41.Ruon TONGYIK, 43.Daniel ARZANI, 46.Connor METCALFE, 49.Yusuf AHMED (50.Gerrie SYLAIDOS 45+2’) Substitutes not used: 42.James DELIANOV (gk) Yellow cards: Pierias 74’ Red cards: Nil Sydney FC starting line-up: 1.Mitchell EVANS (gk), 2.Brendan CURTIS (13.Liam McGING 90+6’), 3.Patrick FLOTTMANN, 4.George TIMOTHEOU, 9.Bai ANTONIOU (8.Juan ZAPATA 59’), 11.Chris ARDITTI, 14.Cristian GONZALEZ, 16.William MUTCH, 17.Chris ZUVELA (c), 19.George BLACKWOOD (12.Charles LOKOLINGOY 59’), 21.Andrea AGAMEMNONOS Substitutes not used: 20.Tom HEWARD-BELLE (gk) Yellow cards: Curtis 28’, Gonzalez 74’, Agamemnonos 80’, McGing 90+10’ Red cards: Nil

Football Federation Australia

Coaching shock: Melbourne City John van’t Schip boss resigns

Melbourne City boss John van't Schip has resigned.

Melbourne City have today announced that Head Coach John van’t Schip has resigned with immediate effect.

The 53-year-old will return to his native Holland to contribute to the palliative care of his Father.

Michael Valkanis has been appointed interim first team coach with immediate effect while the Club conducts a search for a permanent replacement for van’t Schip.


Commenting on his decision van’t Schip said: “I have been faced with a choice between my family in Holland and my work here in Australia and there was only one right decision. I did not want my personal circumstances to impact the Club in any way.


“I am part of a strong coaching team that has been carefully nurtured over the last three years and that gives me great confidence that this situation will not adversely affect the Club’s progress.

“I would like to thank everyone at Melbourne City and the City Football Group for their support. The Club’s development since its creation will always be a source of great personal pride to me.”

Reacting to the news. Chairman of Melbourne City FC, and the City Football Group, Khaldoon Al Mubarak said, “John’s reaction to his personal circumstances is testament to the man he is and why he has been such an important contributor to the Club’s development both on and off the field – culminating in guiding our Men’s First team to its maiden trophy. He has our ongoing gratitude and support as his focus rightly turns to his family.”

Football Federation Australia

Sydney FC ‘not fussed’ by Melbourne City in FFA Cup Final

Josh Brillante throws his body around in the Round of 32 against Wollongong Wolves.

Josh Brillante says Sydney FC’s physicality will give them the edge in the Westfield FFA Cup Final, and he’s not too worried about City’s big guns.

The Sky Blues and City square off in what should be a blockbuster Cup decider between the two Hyundai A-League high-flyers at AAMI Park on November 30.

While City has the benefit of home ground advantage for the final, Sydney FC have easily been the most impressive performers so far in the 2016/17 Season.


Graham Arnold’s side is unbeaten in seven games in the Hyundai A-League, while they have won all four of their Westfield FFA Cup games without conceding a goal.

Brillante told “They’ve [City] looked good and done well in some of their games but I think our team is stronger.

“Our physicality has shown in the games we’ve played. It’s going to be a tough match but we’ve got the quality and a good attitude in all the players and I think that’s going to work good for us.

“We’re not too fussed about their players. We know if we’re performing and playing our game we’ll get the result.

“We’ve had a great start and it stems from pre-season where all the boys were ready and fit. Our physicality and how we’ve dominated teams in games that we’ve played so far has been really good.”

While they’ve scored 29 goals in 11 matches in both the Hyundai A-League and Westfield FFA Cup this season, it’s Sydney’s miserly defence which been the most pleasing.

The Sky Blues have conceded just three times in 990 minutes of competitive action.

City will provide a stern test of their defensive resolve though, especially through skipper and prolific striker Bruno Fornaroli

The Uruguayan has been in scintillating touch so far this season, with six goals from just seven games in the Hyundai A-League.

But two of the Sky Blues back four – Alex Wilkinson and Michael Zullo – played for City last season so should know better than most the way to stop Fornaroli.

For Brillante, who is going into his first big final, he insists the focus is fully on what his side need to do and not so much the threats in the City squad.

“Off the back of what we’ve done here so far, the vibe is very positive and everyone is going into the game fit and ready to go and bring home some silverware,” the 23-year-old said.

And he says the club has moved on from the disappointment of not getting to host the final, after playing all of their games in the earlier rounds away from home.

“It would have been great for the game to have been at home in front of all the fans and family but no matter where it is you have to go play your best and to win,” Brillante said.

“We’re not too fussed that it’s in Melbourne. AAMI Park is a great stadium as well so it’s not such a big deal.”

Tickets for the Westfield FFA Cup Final 2016 are on sale now, starting at $25 for adults and $5 for kids.  Click here  for details and to purchase.


Football Federation Australia


Melbourne City’s next-gen stars revealed

Melbourne City youngster Daniel Arzani in action against Perth Glory in Round 3.

Imagine if you shared a dressing room with Tim Cahill? Practised shooting with Bruno Fornaroli. Or talked tactics with Thomas Sorensen?

Right now, if you were a young Australian player with talent and ambition, surely Melbourne City would be top of your wish list.

While it may be the equivalent of Mission Impossible breaking into City’s first XI, having such football royalty as mentors will stand these youngsters in great stead on their own football journeys wherever they end up in the world.

And yes, there’s a massive media focus on City’s huge signings as they power on in the Hyundai A-League and Westfield FFA Cup, but head coach John van ‘t Schip is also grooming the next-generation of Cityzens coming through the ranks at their fabulous HQ, recently described as on par with Premier League clubs by Cahill himself.

So, who are the younger, fringe Cityzens looking to make a name for themselves?

Van ‘t Schip – well respected back home in the Netherlands as well as Italy, where he was a star with Ajax and Genoa respectively – explained to

“Ruon [Tongyik] is a defender from Adelaide.  He’s a centre-back that loves to play out from the back.

“On the ball he’s a player that can build up, he’s strong in the one against one, he has good speed, and in the air he’s good. He’s a player with potential to be a leader as well.

“Of course there are things he has to prove, his concentration, his passing can be better but I hope if he continues developing and training against the likes of Cahill and Fornaroli he’s only going to get better.

“Then we have Denis Genreau is a young player from our youth team. He’s a midfield player, he’s only 16, 17, good on the ball and strong in the personal battles, he’s not afraid to put himself about.

“He’s still going to school so he can’t train every day but we believe has a bright future. We have Christian Cavallo, left full back, good player.

“Braedyn Crowley, he’s a striker, something we don’t have in our own youth that’s why we got him in. He played for Northcote in the NPL here.

“Another one is Daniel Arzani. He’s a very talented player that is struggling now with coming into an A-League environment with a lot of physical players and with a lot of players more mature than he is, he’s still just 17.

“But for a boy like him it’s great to be in the dressing room with the likes of Fornaroli, Cahill, Sorensen, Muscat, Rose, they learn a lot from those players.

“In the meantime they have to be focused on what they have to improve. We as coaches will help them and the players around them will help them as well.”

Cahill himself has identified Arzani as a genuine star of the future, saying he was “all over him” in an attempt to help his career blossom.


Van’t Schip readily admits our younger players come into a professional environment missing the benefits of some other countries’ junior development – though it’s not so much that he notices.

“They [Aussie youngsters] miss the base of being in a high football environment when they are young so they have to catch up when they are 17, 18, 19 in a quick way, to get all the things maybe they could have learned in the years before.


“But in an environment as we have for an A-League club it comes quicker and it comes more natural as every day you’re going to get pointed at for what you’re doing well but also what you have to improve by your colleague players or by your coaches.

“I don’t see there’s a big difference.

“The competition and quality maybe is not enough as we would like to have in Australia,” he noted.

“In Europe you have that much competition between good players that they lift each other to a higher level and the quantity of good players is bigger.

“There’s more leagues, there’s more academies where in their youth they can improve a lot. That’s the big difference.”

That’s why he’s pushing hard helping these local kids develop in such a professional environment.

“My challenge is… every time we see a game, to work on the details of how we can improve the team but also how we can improve players individually in little things.


“It gives you the drive to continue. It’s not always about winning, it’s about seeing a young boy playing and feeling, ‘finally he did it’.

“I always like that, to see something happening with a younger player or even a player that maybe has learned something at an age where he thought he could not expect to do those things.

“I enjoy that.”

Melbourne City face Adelaide United tonight (Friday) at AAMI Park.


Football Federation Australia


Hyundai A-League season preview: Melbourne City

Tim Cahill and Bruno Fornaroli form a lethal combination up front for Melbourne City.

Tim Cahill has arrived as Melbourne City opened up their cheque book to give John van ‘t Schip the best chance of winning the club’s first piece of silverware in the Hyundai A-League.

Cahill has been signed under the A-League’s revamped guest marquee rule, while Bruno Fornaroli and Nicolas Colazo have both been signed outside the salary cap, as City have attracted a large group of fringe Socceroos and impressive imports for the 2016-17 season.

With Fornaroli and Cahill up front, Van ‘t Schip should again have one of the most potent attacks in the A-League and if he can make City harder to break down, they will be justifiable favourites for the championship.

The burning questions

City had the worst defensive record of the clubs that reached the A-League finals last season, so has Van ‘t Schip done enough to improve down back?

Will Cahill make City a bona fide giant of the A-League both on and off the field?

Can City survive the departure of Socceroos midfielder Aaron Mooy (11 goals, 20 assists in 2015-16)?

Lessons learnt from last season

All-out attack isn’t enough – City broke all sorts of scoring records last term but failed to win both the premiership and championship.

City can build a dynasty around Fornaroli – if the Uruguayan stays in Australia for long enough he could surpass the likes of Besart Berisha, Archie Thompson and Shane Smeltz as the A-League’s best striker. Giving him the captain’s armband may help keep Fornaroli here for the long haul.

Road ahead

Van ‘t Schip’s side will start the A-League with a trip to New Zealand to play Wellington Phoenix before three straight matches in Melbourne.

Melbourne Victory will host City at Etihad Stadium in Round 2 before the Cityzens welcome Perth Glory and Adelaide United to AAMI Park.

Throw in an FFA Cup semi-final against Victory and City can relish the comforts of home for the majority of October.

A run of six home games out of nine from mid-November to early January could see City pull clear of some of their rivals, while three away games (Western Sydney Wanderers, Sydney FC and Glory) in their last four fixtures will be tough.

Expected strengths

With Cahill, Fornaroli, Colazo and Fernando Brandan, City have plenty of experience and quality in the forward third and could be the A-League’s best attacking side again.

Luke Brattan and Neil Kilkenny have both been in and around Socceroos squads during their respective careers and could be one of the better central midfield partnerships in the competition.

Potential weakness

City will rely heavily on Danish duo Thomas Sorensen and Michael Jakobsen to hold their defence together, which looks light on top-line quality.

Tactical approach

Van ‘t Schip generally likes to play some variation on a 4-2-3-1 but judging by City’s 4-1 FFA Cup demolition of the Wanderers, the Dutch coach may add some Guardiola-esque tweaks this season.

Against Western Sydney, Van ‘t Schip’s formation transformed into something like a 3-1-2-4 when City had possession, with centre-back Osama Malik stepping into midfield, Cahill pushing up from an attacking midfield role to join Fornaroli as a striker, flanked by very advanced wingers.

Breakout star

Steve Kuzmanovski. After scoring a double in the Young Socceroos’ 5-1 win over Thailand in the final of the AFF U19 Championship, the 19-year-old winger could finally be ready to capitalise on his potential and earn regular game time in the A-League.

Best-case scenario

As the only club to have filled all three marquee slots for the 2016-17 A-League season, City are under clear pressure to win their first piece of silverware in senior men’s football.

Lifting the FFA Cup, the Premiers’ Plate or the Championship is a must for owners City Football Group and the knives will be out for Van ‘t Schip if his side doesn’t start well.

Almost more importantly for City, however, is that they need to turn any on-field success – and the buzz around Cahill’s arrival – into a larger membership base and stronger attendances to build for the future.


Football Federation Australia