Melbourne City FC has claimed an important win in the A-League Men, downing Brisbane Roar 2-1 at Moreton Daily Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Roar went ahead early thanks to a clinical Henry Hore strike, but the visitors were quick to reply with Florin Berenguer forcing an own goal from Kai Trewin. Equal at the break, it was Raphael Borges Rodrigues’ first A-Leagues goal that would prove the difference, with the youngster tapping in Andrew Nabbout’s cross at the back post.
There were wholesale changes, both expected and unexpected, to the squad heading into the important clash, with Patrick Kisnorbo naming six youngsters to the lineup. Jamie Maclaren, Mathew Leckie, Marco Tilio and Connor Metcalfe were all away with the Socceroos, whilst Scott Jamieson (injury) and Nuno Reis (illness) also missed. The mass absences afforded starting opportunities for Raphael, Stefan Colakovski, Taras Gomulka, Jordan Bos, Jordan Hall and Kerrin Stokes.
Though neither side appeared particularly dominant early on, the City boys would fall behind early after Henry Hore netted a 9th-minute opener for the Roar following a short corner routine.
Fortunately, the boys were able to hit back almost immediately when Florin Berenguer’s 14th-minute fizzed ball across the face of goal was put into the back of the net by Kai Trewin for the equalising own-goal.
Tom Glover was called into action in the 39th to deny the first of a pair of big Roar opportunities late in the half. The City shotstopper sprung to his left to tip away Nicholas Olsen’s volleyed effort from just inside the box before Jay O’Shea blasted a strike narrowly over the crossbar in the ensuing move.
City needed a fast start to give themselves the best possible chance of claiming all three points and that was exactly what they got in the 49th minute when Nabbout teed up Raphael at the back post for his first A-Leagues goal following Berenguer’s set-piece.
The City boys were nearly the recipients of a second Brisbane own goal in the 67th minute when Colakovski whipped a ball across the face of goal that was played narrowly the wrong side of the post by a Roar defender.
Just two minutes later, second-half substitute Cyrus Dehmie struck the crossbar with a header that appeared to have Glover beaten, with the City keeper then quick to spring to his feet and claim the second ball confidently.
A tense finale ensued as City’s young XI hung on desperately to keep out a spirited Roar attack, but Kisnorbo’s side was ultimately able to claim a vital three points as they came away 2-1 winners.
Thanks to the 1-1 draw simultaneously played out between Melbourne Victory and Western United, City’s lead at the top of the table has now grown to three points. With every win looming massive, City will again look to claim all maximum points when it travels to face Macarthur FC on Saturday night.