Fornaroli masterclass leads Victory to emphatic win over Jets in eight-goal epic

WATCH: Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets played out a classic at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon, headlined by Bruno Fornaroli's bag of four goals.

A bag of four goals from Bruno Fornaroli has fired Melbourne Victory to a 5-3 victory over Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on an entertaining afternoon.

The A-Leagues legend fired home four first-half goals to overturn an early deficit after Mark Natta opened the scoring for the visitors.

Fornaroli’s fourth of the game was pick of the bunch, scoring an incredible rabona to give Victory a 4-1 lead heading into the interval.

The Uruguayan born attacker’s bag of four goals takes him to third in the all-time Isuzu UTE A-League goalscorer charts with 94 goals, overtaking Shane Smeltz who is on 92. Only Jamie Maclaren, in a Melbourne Derby second-half in 2021, has previously scored four times in one half in the A-League Men.

He now also has five goals in two games to start the season, which is only two shy of the seven goals he scored for the entirety of the 2022-23 campaign.

Clayton Taylor led a second-half charge for the Jets, scoring two of his own, either side of Nishan Velupillay adding Victory’s fifth of the game. The young Jets’ brace, however, would be merely a consolation, as Victory continue their perfect start to the 2023-24 A-League Men season.

REACTION: Fornaroli bags FOUR first half goals – including incredible Goal of the Season contender

However, the evening started on the wrong foot for Victory, who went behind in the sixth minute. Carl Jenkinson got on the end of a Jets corner, and nodded the ball back across the face of goal to Natta, who fired home from close range.

Victory were back on level terms only two minutes later through Fornaroli, as ‘El Tuna’ buried a well-weighted cross from Daniel Arzani.

Tony Popovic’s side continued to push and just after the half-hour mark, they were in the lead as Adama Traore put the ball on a platter for Fornaroli who made no mistake.

And Victory would only have to wait less than ten minutes to double their lead, as referee Jonathon Barreiro awarded a penalty after Jenkinson handled Velupillay’s shot on goal.

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Fornaroli stepped up and emphatically wrapped up a first-half hat-trick.

The two-time Socceroo saved the best for the last, with Traore again burning down the left-flank and playing it to Fornaroli who attempted an audacious rabona that nestled in the top corner.

Newcastle responded brilliantly after the interval as Taylor buried a first-time volley to get the Jets back into the contest. However, Velupillay answered back straight away, after breaking on the counter-attack and burying their fifth goal of the evening.

Fornaroli would hit the post another two times in the second-half as he chased his fifth goal of the contest.

The Jets had the ball in the net again through Taylor, but it was contentiously disallowed due to offside in the build-up.

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Trent Buhagiar’s first attempt on goal was initially blocked by Stefan Nigro, before landing at the feet of Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, who crossed it back to Taylor and the latter finished from close range.

However, Stamatelopoulos was deemed offside in the build-up, despite the ball coming off Nigro.

Taylor would – in the end – get his second of the game, capping off an impressive evening for the young Jets attacker.

The talking point

Bruno Fornaroli, you star.

Melbourne Victory’s marksman capped off an incredible first-half performance by scoring an early contender for Goal of the Season to take his tally to four goals. Adama Traore burst down the left-hand side and played the ball to Fornaroli, who fired on goal with an incredible rabona, that gave Jets keeper Ryan Scott no chance of stopping.

WATCH: Fornaroli bags FOUR first half goals – including incredible Goal of the Season contender

The star

Who else?

Fornaroli’s incredible first-half performance was up there as one of the best seen in the history of the competition, becoming only the second player after Jamie Maclaren did so against Melbourne Victory in 2021 to score four goals in a single half.

He could have easily added more to his name had it not been for the woodwork, as well.

Fornaroli’s performance has helped quell any doubts about Victory’s lack of out-and-out number nines going into this season, especially if he can keep up this brilliant form and the likes of Daniel Arzani and co can build off their promising showing.

And, well, what’s to say he can’t break back into Socceroos contention as well!

What they said

Melbourne Victory’s Bruno Fornaroli said: “We won the first game away, we needed to do that again today. It was so important these three points. It was a great comeback from the team.

“I think the ball was a bit behind me (for the rabona goal), so that was the only way I could score, this is what I tried. Lucky I scored, I did it for my little one who is a little bit sick today… and I hope they enjoyed.”

Newcastle Jets’ Robbie Stanton said: “The first-half was disappointing, I don’t think we showed the intensity that needed to be so we got an early goal, the start was good but then I think we just allowed them to progress back up the park without any challenges and at half-time we changed it… It was the first-half that killed us.

“What I’ll take out of this is the second-half, the performance… and the way we went forward. We’ve been doing that all pre-season… Defensively, we have work to do, so we have to find the right balance between that (defence and attack).”

What this means

Tony Popovic’s side are humming to start the new season. Two wins from two games is exactly what the doctor ordered and have bounced back brilliantly since a disappointing campaign last time around.

Victory next face Adelaide United on Saturday night at AAMI Park, which is set to be an absolute cracker.

Meanwhile, Newcastle will be looking for their first win of the campaign and under new coach Robbie Stanton, when they return home to host Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday.