May 04, 2015 09:08:42 UK
Socceroos striker Josh Kennedy played a big role as Melbourne City won 2-0 away to Wellington Phoenix to secure a place in the A-League semi-finals.
City had been thrashed 5-1 on their last visit to Westpac Stadium, but turned the tables on Ernie Merrick’s side with two second-half goals.
The club, who are 9.00 to win the Grand Final, started their first season under the co-ownership of Manchester City with all the talk being about the impact their three overseas signings could make – particularly the guest stint of Spanish star David Villa.
In winning the first final in their history, though, it was mid-season recruit Kennedy who came to the fore to set up an intriguing semi-final against rivals Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium on Friday.
The Australian marquee scored the crucial opening goal just after the hour mark, cracking the nut at the third attempt after seeing two efforts just miss the target in the previous few minutes.
Latching onto left-wing crosses from Jonatan Germano, Kennedy shot and then headed narrowly wide of the far post.
His third opportunity arrived after City broke quickly when Nathan Burns’ shot was blocked at the other end, Robert Koren playing in Harry Novillo on the left. Novillo laid the ball back to Aaron Mooy, and Kennedy deflected home his first-time shot.
Martinique international Novillo, another mid-season signing, sealed the deal with the visitors’ second goal 11 minutes later.
The manner of the goal, as much as the two-goal deficit, made it clear this was not to be Wellington’s day.
Mooy and Koren linked, with Koren then finding Novillo in the area. His shot cannoned back off the base of the upright and struck the head of diving keeper Glen Moss before rebounding back into the net.
Wellington failed to take any advantage from staging the game, their performance falling flat on the big stage.
City are 3.75 to beat Melbourne Victory, who are 1.95 with the draw 3.50.
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