Following last week’s bye, a refreshed Melbourne City team will be out to pick up three points this Sunday evening when it takes on Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park.
In City’s last game a fortnight ago, it suffered a disappointing defeat, going down 1-0 to Wellington Phoenix in Auckland.
The visiting City team had more than double the shots of the 'Nix and three more on target, but a second half goal to David Ball against the run of play was enough for the home team to pick up all three points.
With last week’s bye, Perth were able to jump City to take second place on the table while still having a game in hand and a far better goal difference.
This has put plenty of pressure on Erick Mombaerts’ team to perform over the last eight games of the season, with the Phoenix now also locked on 30 points but with the same goal difference and games played as City.
A few spots down the ladder but still just four points behind City are Sunday’s opponent, Brisbane Roar. After a slow start to the season, Brisbane has picked things up in recent weeks, winning five of its last ten matches and drawing three.
The Roar looked set for a home loss last week against Perth but an 85th minute corner was nodded into the back of the net by Macaulay Gillesphey to equalise proceedings and ensure they would take a point.
Brisbane has struggled to find a consistent goal-scoring threat since Roy O’Donovan left the club in January, but the team has been doing it by committee in recent weeks with its last six goals coming from five different players.
Of City’s 32 goals this season, Jamie Maclaren has scored 14 with Noone, Adrian Luna and Connor Metcalfe the only others to have scored more than once.
This Sunday’s clash will be the second half of a double header, with the W-League match kicking off at 4:00pm and this A-League fixture following at 6:30pm.
Last time they met
These teams last played in round 14, sharing the points at Suncorp Stadium.
Bradden Inman opened scoring in the 34th minute but it was cancelled out by a Craig Noone goal just five minutes later. Inman had his second just moments before the half-time whistle to put the home team in front at half time. Nathaniel Atkinson unleashed a rocket from outside of the box to find his first A-League goal early in the second half and despite plenty of chances from either team and 10 minutes of injury time, neither team could find another goal.
Defender Harrison Delbridge will be back in City colours for the first time in a month after serving a two-game suspension following a red card in the away loss to Adelaide.
What was said?
Melbourne City FC captain Scott Jamieson
“The reaction of all of the players has been fantastic and, if the manager is saying that, he means it,” Jamieson said.
“He’s not one to try and fool anybody or make anything up to please anyone so it has been productive and we’ve worked hard. It’s what you expect from a team that’s wanting to be Champions and hopefully the way we’ve gone about our business in the last seven, 10 days reflects on Sunday afternoon.”
City will hit the road next week to take on Perth in what will be a massive game in the context of the season. With both teams currently tied on points but Perth having a game in hand, an away win for City would give it a huge chance at re-gaining second spot. City’s next home game will be in a fortnight’s time against Western Sydney.