Melbourne City open to regular games at Morshead Park

 Ballarat Red Devil Bolish Salvatore attracts some close attention from Ben Garuccio, of Melbourne City, in Wednesday night’s friendly.

Ballarat Red Devil Bolish Salvatore attracts some close attention from Ben Garuccio, of Melbourne City, in Wednesday night’s friendly.

BALLARAT might become an ongoing destination for the A-League’s Melbourne City.

If all indications are true, Wednesday night’s soccer friendly between the Ballarat Red Devils and rebranded franchise Melbourne City could become a regular fixture on each club’s calendar.

City coach John van’t Schip was impressed with the standard of the newly developed multi-million dollar Morshead Park facility, saying his team would be keen to make a return trip in the future.

“The circumstances were maybe not ideal with the weather, but everything else was perfect,” van’t Schip said.

“The pitch had great measurements and the dressing rooms and the opponent (were also perfect).

“It’s (Morshead Park) already beautiful right now and when it’s finished it will be one of the best facilities in Victoria.”

Melbourne eased to a comfortable 6-0 victory in its first match under the new name.

However, the result was of the least importance, given the positive messages from each club in the aftermath of the historic occasion.

More than 1000 onlookers braved wintry conditions to watch the Manchester City-owned visitors open up a 4-0 half-time lead with a blistering display of the likes that had never been witnessed in Ballarat before.

It took City just five minutes to register the opening goal through a pinpoint Mate Dugandzic strike.

Dugandzic made it a brace with a curling shot from outside the 30-yard box at the 11-minute mark and half a dozen subsequent shots in as many minutes saw the match verge on training run status rather than a friendly.

The Red Devils held firm for 25 minutes before Robbie Wielaert and David Williams proved the “when it rains, it pours” adage true with consecutive goals inside two minutes of each other.

Pleasingly for Red Devils fans, forward Nelson Salvatore showed he was back to peak form with several dashes down the wings and nearly provided the home side with two late opening stanza goals.

The second half became a dour affair, yielding just two goals to City as both teams focused on defensive football in a bid to minimise the chance of injury.

michael.pollock@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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