Melbourne City FC has started its 2020/21 A-League campaign with an away from home win against Brisbane Roar.
A second half curling strike from Connor Metcalfe was all that separated the teams in a game that was playing in hot and humid conditions.
It was a strong City line-up that took to the pitch and it also included two Club debutants. Aiden O’Neill and Andrew Nabbout both saw their first A-League action in a City shirt while Ben Garuccio started at right back in his return to the Club.
It was a tame opening ten minutes as both sides looked content to feel each other out and work their way into the game.
Brisbane eventually settled the quicker of the two and won a few consecutive corners, but City’s defence held up strongly.
Tom Glover found himself called into action in the 18th minute when Dylan Wenzel-Halls was able to get in behind the defence.
City’s number one was up to the task, denying the attempt with an outstretched right boot.
Garuccio was solid early and won a few crucial challenges before City – led by its dynamic front three, was able to gain some momentum.
Craig Noone found both Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout with well-placed crosses within minutes, but Maclaren fired his header over the bar and Nabbout’s shot found the side netting.
Maclaren stayed involved in the action, showcasing some fancy footwork in the box to tee up a Metcalfe shot which was well saved by Roar keeper Jamie Young.
City pressed hard and showed the intensity Patrick Kisnorbo has been asking for since the Club returned to pre-season back in early October.
The second half started the same way the first finished for City, and it wasn’t long until the deadlock had been broken.
Following a lovely one-two with Maclaren, Connor Metcalfe took a touch and found the top corner with a curling attempt that gave Young no chance and put City 0-1 up after 53 minutes.
An unfortunate hamstring injury to Nabbout saw Naoki Tsubaki subbed on a few minutes later and the Japanese attacked gave City fans a glimpse of his potential.
Brisbane started to play a more attacking style of football after conceding, and were only helped when City were reduced to 10 men in the 70th minute after Adrian Luna picked up his second yellow card.
City’s defence held strong with Curtis Good putting in a couple of timely tackles to clear the defensive lines.
Glover found himself off his line in the 85th minute but good communication and teamwork saw Rostyn Griffiths able to drop back to keep Riku Danzaki’s shot out of the net.
There were a couple of heart in mouth moments for City fans as they watched their team defend a couple of corners in stoppage time, but City were able to hold on for a well deserved season opening win away from home.
City will look to continue its good start to the season on Sunday when it travels to Adelaide to take on United with kick off at 6.05pm.