Football: Star Tim Cahill back with bang

Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas is left well beaten by Tim Cahill's long-distance thunderbolt. Photo / Getty Images
Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas is left well beaten by Tim Cahill's long-distance thunderbolt. Photo / Getty Images

In every sense, Tim Cahill made his A-League debut for Melbourne City in Saturday night's derby a winner.

City won in emphatic fashion, demolishing Melbourne Victory 4-1 to go joint top of the table after two rounds. The code enjoyed another red-letter day, with 43,000 people savouring Cahill's performance in a stunning derby atmosphere.

And then there was his goal.

The Socceroo marked his return to league football in Australia in the most remarkable fashion, scoring a 40m stunner.

It wasn't just stunning, it was incredible. But it was also typically Cahill.

When all other players saw a bobbling ball in the centre circle, Cahill saw something else.

Surging on to the loose ball, the 36-year-old swung his right boot and was richly rewarded, seeing his effort arrow over Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas and into the top right corner.

As Victory's players and the thousands at Etihad Stadium picked their jaws up from the floor, Cahill was punching the corner flag in trademark style.

Cahill had delivered on the enormous expectation placed on him by fans, media, league chiefs and the rest, happily telling Fox Sports, "I let my football do the talking".

"This is a derby... if you're not going to run hard every single time, there's no point in turning up," he said.

"For my team, I'm proud of them because they shocked themselves."

Both coaches were stunned by the goal, with City coach John van 't Schip declaring it world class.

"Everything came in a great moment together," he said.

"He showed that he's a great player. He's mentally very strong. He has given the players around the club so much good feeling and vibe.

"On top of that, he made a great goal, so he couldn't wish for a better start."

Victory fans were naturally unimpressed, resorting to singing "You're only here for the money" but coach Kevin Muscat had only praise.

Muscat said Cahill had left his mark well before his 27th-minute opener with a commitment to strong challenges - his own club's hallmark.

"Timmy sets the tone really early... then we conceded that goal. It's a wonder strike, no doubt," he said. "I don't think it would have mattered where [Thomas] stood. "It's landed in the top corner at about 90km/h."

Despite City's second-straight away win to start the season, van 't Schip wasn't getting carried away with predictions of glory.

"It's early days. We're improving and getting better... there's very good signs," he said. "But championships are not won in the first two games."


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