A red card proved phenomenally costly to Brisbane Roar as they were outplayed after being reduced to ten against Melbourne City at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. Melbourne City managed a big second half to win 3-1 and go top of the league, on goal difference.
Melbourne City went for it from the opening whistle, in a match that would have big implications for the fate of the Premier’s Plate. Melbourne City had plenty of the early chances, but the Brisbane Roar defense was proving difficult to break down, forcing City to take most of their shots from outside the box.
Despite that it was Brisbane Roar who opened the scoring after Dimitri Petratos was afforded too much space. From a corner, the ball came out to Petratos, on the edge of the area, allowing him to hit a powerful shot, which left the keeper with no chance.
Just before the half hour mark, Melbourne City had a great opportunity to get back on level terms through Michael Zullo. Nick Fitzgerald sent in a cross for Zullo on the penalty spot, but he could only head it just over the bar.
City regained possession and they had another good chance very rapidly when Thomas Sorensen sent in a through ball. The ball aimed for Bruno Foraroli but his run was poorly timed, seeing Melbourne City denied by the offside flag. It was then Brisbane who were caught offside in the 39th minute when Dimitri Petratos’ through ball was just too late for Jamie Maclaren.
A free kick, three minutes before the break, gave Melbourne City a golden opportunity as Harry Novillo stood over it. His effort was well hit, but it had too much power on it, going over the bar and keeping Brisbane 1-0 up at the break.
Melbourne City came out from the break determined to hit back and in the 54th minute they were given a great help. Jack Hingert brought down Fornaroli in the box, earning himself a second yellow card and giving City a penalty. That allowed Aaron Mooy to step up and he buried the penalty, sending it low and right to level the scores.
Now with a man advantage, Melbourne City was looking the only side in the match, and they hunted for a second goal. All the chances were falling their way but the Brisbane Roar defense was getting the job done.
With nine minutes to play the pressure finally told as Melbourne City had their first lead of the match. The goal came after a nice ball from Ivan Franjic who set up loanee Anthony Caceres who easily headed it across the face.
That forced Brisbane out, and allowed City to add their third goal of the night from another set piece. Fornaroli was able to send in the ball, finding Nick Fitgerald, who headed it home to wrap up the 3-1 win.