A youthful and experimental Melbourne City FC outfit accounted for National Premier Leagues Victoria (NPLV) side Pascoe Vale 1-0 at Epping Soccer Stadium on Tuesday night.
Paulo Retre claimed the winner seconds into added time in the first half, with the 21-year-old knocking home a rebound following a stinging drive from James Brown.
The match attracted a crowd of approximately 2000 on a balmy Tuesday night in Melbourne as John van’t Schip fielded a number of first-team players, alongside youth-team hopefuls.
van’t Schip also handed Erik Paartalu his debut for Melbourne City FC, and the defensive midfielder registered his first 45 minutes after joining the Club last week.
Following the opening 20 minutes, in which Melbourne City FC created a flowing rhythm and controlled the match tempo, van’t Schip’s side started to create a number of meaningful opportunities.
The first opportunity fell to Hernan Espindola for the home side, following Andrew Mullet’s cut-back following a corner, but Espindola swiped at his effort and it sailed waywardly over the bar on the 24-minute mark.
Pascoe Vale sat deep and implemented an impressive defensive structure, but nearly caught Melbourne with a swift following a rare move forward.
Luca Santilli broke through the midfield for the visitors, slipping a ball behind the Melbourne City FC defence which forced goalkeeper Tando Velaphi to commit.
While the Melbourne City FC ‘keeper appeared to beat his opponent and clear the ball, he was penalised by a free-kick on the edge of the area, before the resulting free-kick was cleared after striking the wall.
Espindola then had another chance cleared off the line on the half-hour mark, before Retre had a shot on goal palmed clear by Sardelic three minutes later.
A nice combination between Jacob Melling and James Brown saw Melling shoot low and wide of the target, before a swift move from defence to attack saw Brown cut in from the left and shoot on his right, but his effort flew over the bar.
Espindola then had a second effort cleared off the line following another combination play from Hoffman and Melling, as Pascoe Vale defended valiantly.
But Pascoe Vale’s defence was finally breached just after the clock ticked into added time in the first half, as Brown again proved a nuisance, firing in a shot from distance.
Sardelic parried the stinging effort from distance, and Retre was quickest to react, powering in the rebound as the ‘keeper scampered to recover in goal.
Melbourne City FC threatened to cut Pascoe Vale open again early in the second half, as Brown threaded Petreski through, with the latter delivering a low ball across the face of goal, but a sliding Wade Dekker just missed the crucial touch.
Melling then had an effort beaten away by Sardelic seven minutes after the break, Retre dragged another shot wide, before Brown curled another effort just over the crossbar.
As the match drew to a close, Pascoe Vale threatened late, forcing a great save from Velaphi, but Retre's sole first-half strike proved the difference at full time.
Pre-Season Friendly - Tuesday 23 September 2014
Melbourne City FC 1 (Paulo Retre 45+1’)
Pascoe Vale 0
Epping Soccer Stadium
Melbourne City FC: 20. Tando Velaphi (GK), 2. Phillip Petreski (T) (19. Tyler James (T) 77’), 5. Erik Paartalu (22. Nick Kalmar 46’), 9. Wade Dekker (T), 14. James Brown, 16. Nick Symeoy (T), 17. Jason Hoffman (28. Stefan Zinni (T) 67’), 18. Paulo Retre, 21. Hernan Espindola (T) (10. Luka Prelevic (T) 46’), 25. Jacob Melling, (27. Matt Millar (T) 67’), 26. Andrew Mullet (T)
Substitutes: 1. Marko Stevanja (GK)
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Pascoe Vale SC: 1. Stefan Sardelic GK) (1. Yaren Soler (GK) 56’), 2. Adrian Talarico, 3. Nathan Megic, 7. Luca Santilli, 8. Joseph Youseff, 9. Souheil Nisahli (6. Anthony Taranto, 64’), 13. Matthew Lazarides, 15. Mark Pistininzi, 16. Marco Santilli (11. Andrew Scillina 80’), 20. Ali Eyigun, 22. Carl Recchia
Substitutes: 4. Liam O’Connell, 5. Joel Grech, 14. Ale Verrati
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
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