Cahill proves there’s life in the old dog
When Tim Cahill made his long-awaited return to Australia, many felt the Socceroos legend had come home a year or two too late to really have an impact. Halfway through the A-League season, though, and Melbourne City’s decision to sign the veteran is certainly paying off.
While the forward might have taken a little longer than expected to find his feet following his move from China, the former Millwall, Everton and New York Red Bulls star has really hit his stride in recent weeks. With City third in the A-League table, six points behind Melbourne Victory and 14 points behind Sydney FC, the club will need Cahill to continue his prolific form in front of goal if they are going to have any chance of securing a top-two finish and a place in next season’s AFC Champions League.
Cahill’s recent purple patch has seen him score five goals in six games, including a game-winning brace in the 2-1 victory over the Central Coast Mariners, making him the most in-form forward in the A-League. For a 37-year old who many felt was some way past his prime when he signed for the ambitious club, Cahill’s contribution to Melbourne City’s season so far has silenced a few of his critics.
Playing just behind City’s lone striker Bruno Fornaroli, himself in great form and just 13/5 with bet365 to finish as the league’s top scorer, the Socceroo has been able to see plenty of the ball since arriving at the club. The attacker completely ran the game against the Mariners in a match in which he could have finished with even more than his two goals.
Still some way behind their city rivals, Melbourne Victory, on the A-League ladder, Cahill’s hot streak has come at just the right time. While the club face an uphill battle to secure Champions League football, having a player with the experience of Cahill could well prove invaluable.
After leaving Australia as a 19-year old in order to pursue his professional career in England with Millwall and then Everton, the Sydney-born star has gone on to establish himself as one of his country’s greatest ever players. As well as his success with his club teams, from England to the U.S. and China before his return Down Under, Cahill booked his place in history by becoming the first Australian to score in the World Cup Finals, currently the Socceroos’ leading scorer with 48 goals from 94 appearances.
For City, this season has already brought more than its share of ups and downs. Having clinched their first ever piece of silverware after winning the FFA Cup, the club found themselves without a head coach following John van’t Schip’s decision to return to Holland for family reasons. Now with former assistant manager Michael Valkanis in temporary charge, it remains to be seen how will be handed the job on a full-time basis and whether or not that will happen before the end of the season.
With a number of crucial games coming up, though, and with the club beginning to find some consistency, we might not see a new head coach put in place before the end of the current campaign.