ALM Report: City 8-1 Brisbane

Melbourne City ended 2023 in the best way possible, breaking a number of records on the way to a huge 8-1 win over Brisbane Roar.

Jamie Maclaren bagged a hattrick and became the first player to reach the 150-goal mark in A-Leagues history, while Leo Natel bagged his first two goals in a City shirt.

Team News

After sticking with the same line-up for the last couple of weeks, Aurelio Vidmar made a pair of changes to his starting XI for Thursday night’s fixture.

Scott Galloway returned to the back four – Vidmar noting post-game that his inclusion was to give the fullback some minutes ahead of Aziz Behich’s impending departure for national team duty, while Alessandro Lopane also returned in midfield.

Starting XI: 1. Jamie YOUNG (GK), 2. Scott GALLOWAY, 22. Curtis GOOD, 26. Samuel SOUPRAYEN, 16. Aziz BEHICH, 8. Hamza SAKHI, 21. Alessandro LOPANE, 10. Tolgay ARSLAN, 44. Marin JAKOLIS, 11. Leo NATEL, 9. Jamie MACLAREN (C).

Substitutes: 33. Patrick BEACH (GK), 4. Nuno REIS, 6. Steven UGARKOVIC, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 25. Callum TALBOT, 37. Max CAPUTO, 46. Ben MAZZEO.

What happened?

It was an unlikely goalscorer to get us rolling on what would be a busy night for the statkeepers.

Hamza Sakhi whipped in a well-placed corner in the 10th minute, central defender Curtis Good rising highest to nod home his 9th goal for the Club.

Five minutes later our lead was doubled with a fantastic piece of build-up play that was kickstarted by Tolgay Arslan, who put in another Player of the Match performance.

He drove forward and then found Marin Jakolis on the right wing, who in turn played an inch-perfect cross to meet the back-post run of Maclaren who made no mistake and made it 2-0.

The goals would continue coming, Maclaren again on target in the 33rd minute with a strike that saw him become the first player in A-Leagues history to reach 150 goals.

Perhaps lost a little in the magnitude of our skipper’s milestone, Aziz Behich played a cracking ball for one of the assists of the season, splitting two Roar defenders to play Maclaren in behind who slotted it through the legs of Matt Acton.

Despite the scoreboard reading 3-0, Brisbane didn’t lie down and hit the woodwork twice in the space of a few minutes late in the second half as they looked to peg their way back into the contest.

Our goal-scoring form would quickly return after the half-time break though, Leo Natel on target for a long-awaited first City goal.

An Arslan backheel found the Brazilian on the edge of the box still with a lot of work to do, but Natel sized things up, took a touch, and curled a strike perfectly into the bottom right corner.

Maclaren was back amongst the goals in the 58th minute, finishing a Jakolis assist to complete his eighth A-League hattrick.

A consolation goal would arrive just after the hour mark, Rylan Brownlie making it 5-1 with a debut senior goal for the Roar.

City showed no signs of letting up though and if anything, stepped up another gear after that Brisbane goal.

In the 70th minute, it was Arslan again waltzing through the middle of the park, before laying off to Natel on his left who struck it first time and gave Acton no chance.

Seemingly not happy with the two assists to his name, Arslan was next to join the goalscorers list, finishing from close range in the 76th after substitute Terry Antonis found him alone in the box.

A pair of City Academy products in Max Caputo and Ben Mazzeo entered the pitch in the 82nd minute and they combined for the final goal of the night four minutes later.

Caputo played a smart cutback from the left to find Mazzeo’s run, the 18-year-old getting enough on it to double his senior goal tally and make it 8-1.

What’s next?

We’ll be back at AAMI Park next Sunday, although it will be an away fixture when we face Western United in a 5pm kick-off to begin 2024.