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City surge to thrilling win over Adelaide

Josh Kennedy has scored his first goal for Melbourne City as the club breathed new life into its A-League finals campaign with a thrilling 3-1 win over Adelaide United at AAMI Park.

After failing to score in their last three matches, City created plenty of chances against third-placed United and were deserved winners after controlling much of the play in a pulsating second half.

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Desperate to halt their slide down the A-League ladder, City, who started the night in seventh, had the visitors on the back foot early.

With key defensive pair Nigel Boogard and Osama Malik out injured, Adelaide lacked composure at the back in the face of City’s opening salvos, with Jack Clisby unlucky not to give his side an early lead in the fourth minute.

Adelaide survived another scare when a dangerous cross from Robert Koren forced a desperate lunge from Michael Marrone that whistled past his own goal post, but slowly United’s early struggles gave way to the sort of football that has become their trademark under Josep Gombau.

Sergio Cirio had been well held for the first 30 minutes, but the Spanish playmaker was the architect of the first goal of the night when his pass found countryman Pablo Sanchez, whose low shot gave Tando Velaphi no chance.

Despite Adelaide’s strong finish to the half, City would have felt hard done by to go into the break 1-0 down and they opened the second half in much the same manner as they did the first.

Kennedy had moved well up front, but David Williams came on for Clisby and he added some extra spark in attack, but it was Safuwan Baharudin who was the hero first.

Adelaide failed to deal with a corner in the 52nd minute and the Singaporean international fired his shot into the roof of the net from close range to the delight of the home fans.

The City faithful were still in full voice three minutes later when Kennedy rose to meet a pinpoint Koren cross to head home his first goal for his new club.

In an end-to-end half Adelaide still created scoring opportunities, but undisciplined acts from Awer Mabil and Marcelo Carrusca were signs of their growing frustration.

Having suffered through too many disappointing finishes of late, City fans celebrated a deserved win when second-half substitute Ian Ramsey lashed home a low cross from Massimo Murdocca in the 87th minute.

– AAP

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