Melbourne City secure nervy win to kick off title defence against Brisbane Roar

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An intense opening match of the A-League Men’s season ended in defending champions Melbourne City edging to a 2-1 victory at home to Brisbane Roar on Friday night.

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The match started as a high tempo affair, with both sets of players relishing the opportunity to play their first competitive league fixture in almost six months.

City dominated the early possession, denying Brisbane the opportunity to settle into the match.

The Roar though remained disciplined in their defensive structure, keeping City at bay for the majority of the first half and often threatening with counter-attacking moves.

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City’s star man Jamie Maclaren had the first major chance of the game, when a well-weighted ball from Andrew Nabbout put him through one-on-one, but Maclaren dragged his shot wide of the post in the 26thminute.

Nikola Mileusnic responded for the Roar just five minutes later, when a clever pull-back from Rahmat Akbari allowed the new Brisbane man to fire a shot at Tom Glover, who did just enough to keep the scores level.

However, Brisbane’s defence finally cracked in the 40th minute, when Jamie Maclaren’s shot following a corner was well saved by Macklin Freke, however the rebound fell right to the feet of Curtis Good who opened the scoring.

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City capitalised on their momentum when they added a second just minutes later, as a deflected shot from Connor Metcalfe wrong-footed Freke and gave the champions a commanding lead heading into half-time.

As City appeared to be building towards a third goal which would surely end Brisbane’s resistance, Roar coach Warren Moon turned to his bench by bringing on new recruit Luke Ivanovic in the hope that the young striker could lift his team.

The change paid dividends just after the 70th minute when Jay O’Shea lifted a delightful ball towards Ivanovic in the box whose header was too powerful for Glover to keep out.

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The goal sparked the match back into life, as both sides hunted for what would surely be a decisive fourth goal in the match.

Brisbane thought they had found the equaliser when another excellent ball from O’Shea found Kai Trewin to head the ball into the back of the net, but the offside flag cruelly denied the visitors.

City were then able to hang onto their lead for remaining minutes.

Securing the three points will be the most important thing for coach Patrick Kisnorbo as they kicked off their title defence with a win, but City will be desperate to improve on their performance to secure more comfortable results in the coming weeks.

Melbourne City 2 (Good 40’, Metcalfe 43’)

Brisbane Roar 1 (Ivanovic 71’)

AAMI Park

Referee: Jonathan Barreiro

Assistant Referees: George Lakrindis and Daniel Ilievski

Fourth Official: Adam Bavacar

Melbourne City: Tom GLOVER (GK), Scott GALLOWAY, Scott JAMIESON (c), Nuno REIS, Matthew LECKIE (Marco TILIO 63’), Aiden O’NEILL, Jamie MACLAREN, Florin BERENGUER, Andrew NABBOUT (Nathaniel ATKINSON 75’), Connor METCALFE, Curtis GOOD

Unused subs: Matthew SUTTON (GK), Stefan COLAKOVSKI, Jordon HALL, Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES, Anthony LESIOTIS

Brisbane Roar: Macklin FREKE (GK), Scott NEVILLE, Corey BROWN (Nicholas OLSEN 77’), Anton MLINARIC, Rahmat AKBARI, Matti STEINMANN (Jesse DALEY 77’), Nikola MILEUSNIC (Luke IVANOVIC 60’), Jack HINGERT (Joshua BRINDELL-SOUTH 60’), James O’SHEA (c), Kai TREWIN, Cyrus DEHMIE (Alexander PARSONS 84’)

Unused subs: Jordan HOLMES (GK), Henry HORE

Feature Imaged Credit: Melbourne City FC

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Oscar Rutherford
Sports tragic studying Law/Arts at Monash University. Second-best paid Oscar working in football who has been to China.

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