Melbourne City FC survived a late scare to record a 3-2 win over Adelaide United in an entertaining clash at CB Smith Reserve on Sunday afternoon.
City appeared to be coasting to a comprehensive win after goals to Stefan Zinni, Steve Kuzmanovski and Hernan Espindola fired Joe Palatsides' side into a commanding 3-0 lead.
A gallant Adelaide breathed life back into the contest when Samed Altundag and Dylan Smith both netted goals in the space of two minutes to ensure a dramatic finish with 20 minutes to play.
But the reigning champions held firm in dying stages to record its first win of the season and maintain its unbeaten start to the Foxtel National Youth League campaign.
Boasting a line-up with a considerable amount of Hyundai A-League experience, City were ahead after only six minutes when Zinni latched on to a precise cut-back from Espindola to fire home into an empty net.
The Reds’ defence faced an early siege from a rampant City attack, with Wade Dekker firing an effort into the arms of ‘keeper Daniel Margush, before the Adelaide shot-stopper showed great awareness to punch clear an arrowing free-kick from the head of Jordon Hall.
City’s immense pressure in the final third would come to fruition in the 20th minute when Steve Kuzmanovski doubled the lead, capitalising on a turnover from the Adelaide defence to coolly finish past Margush.
Adelaide rarely threatened in the first period but nearly pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time when Dylan Smith found space inside the box, but City ‘keeper Anthony Casset showed great concentration to make the save.
City were in cruise control only moments after the restart when Espindola trebled the advantage with a neat finish past Margush, but a resilient Reds outfit ensured a tense finish when Altundag and Smith both scored within the space of two minutes to turn the contest on its head.
However City stood firm in defence, repelling a wave of Adelaide pressure at the death to take all three points.
Melbourne City FC 3 (Stefan ZINNI 6’, Steve KUZMANOVSKI 20’, Hernan ESPINDOLA 47’)
Adelaide United 2 (Samed ALTUNDAG 68’, Dylan SMITH 70’)