21/04/2024

Melbourne City lost two crucial defenders to injury in its 3-0 FFA Cup win over South Melbourne. (Photo: FFA Cup/Twitter)

Melbourne City's 3-0 FFA Cup victory came with its injury scares, but coach Patrick Kisnorbo assured his substitutions were made in the interest of sharing minutes.

Though it now advances to the FFA Cup Round of 16, Melbourne City’s 3-0 victory over South Melbourne didn’t come without a cost.

Just one week out from the start of the A-League Men’s season, defenders Curtis Good and Rostyn Griffiths were both subbed off with what looked at first glance to be potential worrying injuries.

Good seemed to struggled with a groin injury, moving tenderly early in the match before eventually being subbed off in the 72nd minute. Griffiths then went down heavily in the second half, being subbed off in the 79th minute holding his hand to his body.

Speaking post-match, coach Patrick Kisnorbo assured that his players were being substituted to give the younger players a run.

“[Good] is all good,” he said.

“We need to get minutes into players, because we haven’t had a lot of games. He was just one that we took off to get Nuno [Reis] some minutes.”

Reis, alongside Kerrin Stokes (79′), Raphael Borges Rodrigues (80′), Anthony Lesiotis (86′), and on debut, Jordan Bos (86′) all received playing minutes in the second half.

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Joining the club at the start of the 2020/21 season, Reis made 20 appearances across both the regular season and finals, including as a starting centre back in the grand final against Sydney FC.

He’s filled in for Good aptly before, so may be required to do so again should his substitution be anything more than precautionary.

The strength of the centre backs in pushing up the ground and moving the formation deeper and deeper in South Melbourne’s territory allowed full backs Scott Galloway and Scott Jamieson the space to push higher up the ground and create plenty of play.

Galloway found the scoreboard twice, taking three shots and further creating another chance.

The coach was incredibly pleased with the work his side did to keep their high-pressing formation and give Galloway those opportunities.

“It was great in good in those positions,” Kisnorbo said.

“We trained really hard to get into those areas, and lucky for [Galloway] he was in those areas. It was the collective that got the ball into those areas, and I was happy with that.”

While it was a difficult night for South Melbourne, the club won’t die trying after testing their skills against the reigning A-League champions.

Midfielder Marcus Schroen’s shot in the second half sailed just centimetres above the crossbar, while Luke Adams created two chances of his own.

Balancing the Cup

Advancing to the Round of 16 to next play at an unspecified date, City will now have to work around playing A-League matches and FFA Cup matches consecutively.

The Cup typically wraps up within the first two weeks of the A-League Men season, which is set to start on Friday, November 19.

After delays due to the lockdown and subsequent cancellation of NPL competitions in New South Wales and Victoria, the remaining NPL sides will continue to play matches out of season and out of practice.

While the possibility of playing two games in a week remains on the horizon, Kisnorbo isn’t looking too far ahead yet.

“We’ll see when we come to it,” he said.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ll have to adapt I’m sure, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

The weekend of Cup action continues on Saturday night, as Blacktown City take on the Central Coast Mariners, Hamilton Olympic and Macarthur FC go head-to-head, and Western United and the Newcastle Jets jostle for a Round of 32 spot.

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