Terrific Tilio making his impact felt in growing City role
Early in season 2020/21, it was Alou Kuol doing the business off the bench as Central Coast Mariners rose to the top.
But along Melbourne City's recent rise, teenage talent Marco Tilio has emerged as the latest super-sub leaving his mark on the A-League after a series of impactful cameos.
Tilio appeared off the bench in the 63rd minute of City's 7-0 Melbourne Derby win over Melbourne Victory in Matchweek 17. It was 2-0 at the time, as Tilio came on for Craig Noone. Half an hour and five goals later, City were on top of the table having notched a seven-goal win over their biggest rivals.
Tilio's impact could not go ignored in the final half-hour of play. The 19-year-old assisted Jamie Maclaren's second of five goals on the night with his first touch of the football, just one minute after emerging from the bench.
He then drew a foul in the box from Victory midfielder Jake Brimmer, sending Maclaren to the spot to make it 4-0 with 15 minutes to play.
Maclaren scored his fourth in the 84th minute, and bagged his fifth one minute later thanks to Tilio's pressing and turnover immediately after kick-off to get the ball in Stefan Colakovski's possession, who gave Adrián Luna the chance to assist Maclaren's fifth.
Luna then found the back of the net himself to make it 7-0 on 87 minutes. Tilio provided the pass for Luna to finish after beating two Victory opponents on the left flank, darting across the box and applying the deft touch to find Luna's feet in amongst a sea of bodies.
Maclaren's five-goal haul equals former Melbourne Victory striker Archie Thompson's record of five scored in a single A-League game. It's a feat which rightly shines the spotlight brightly on the City star. But lurking in the shadows, the ever-improving Tilio will be catching the eye of City boss Patrick Kisnorbo in the coming weeks after yet another decisive performance off the bench
"It was the subs that we put on," Kisnorbo told FOX Sports post-match, when questioned what it was producing rare glimpses of a smile during his side's Melbourne Derby mauling.
"Again, I’m really happy with the impact (of) the subs, they played their part."
Adding to Tilio's performance off the bench against Victory was the performance of Stefan Colakovski, who entered the fray in the 77th-minute of play. The City product and original Melbourne Heart fan assisted Maclaren once, and involved himself in the link-up play from Tilio's turnover which resulted in the fifth goal to the City spearhead.
Tilio played a hand in four of City's seven goals on the night, adding to two similarly crucial performances in a pair of games leading into the Melbourne Derby.
Tilio scored the decisive goal in City's 3-2 win over Wellington Phoenix in Matchweek 15, coming off the bench in the 80th minute to net the winner three minutes later. Against Sydney FC five days later, Kisnorbo called on TIlio with 15 minutes on the clock, and his rising star delivered once again, winning his side a spot kick which Maclaren netted in the 98th minute to seal his side a point in an entertaining 1-1 draw.
The 19-year-old's winning goal against the Phoenix came in just his eighth appearance of the season.
He said after that particular game that it was an incredible feeling to finally get an opportunity in the team - and to take it. Two games later, and Tilio's continued impact off the bench suggests that hunger to seize his opportunities is burning even brighter than before, as City's developing prospect puts his desire to grow his role in this roaring City outfit on show.
Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers
Friday, April 23 2021
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEST
Macarthur FC v Melbourne City
Saturday, April 24 2021
Kick-off 7.10pm AEST
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