Melbourne City FC continued their impressive form since the turn of the New Year, defeating Brisbane Roar 2-1 at Suncorp Stadium.
Goals to Marcin Budzinski and Stefan Mauk either side of the break secured the three points for City as Massimo Maccarone opened the scoring for the hosts.
The Roar had the chance to level the scores through Maccarone from the spot however City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis thwarted the Italian's effort, tying up the crucial three points for City and extending their unbeaten run to six matches.
Melbourne City now prepare for a blockbuster clash with Sydney FC on Saturday night at AAMI Park.
Bart Schenkeveld returned to the eleven from suspension, replacing Manny Muscat in a back four reshuffle.
Harrison Delbridge moved to the full back position as the Dutchman resumed his normal spot in the centre of defence.
Despite a timid start to the game, Maccarone’s opener after 14 minutes sparked the match into action as his effort gave Brisbane the lead.
The Italian found the back of the net from a pinpoint Eric Bautheac dead ball, finding a hole in between the City line to get the ball rolling in the contest.
Much like the opening goals they have conceded throughout the season, going behind had once again sparked City into action and they had their answer five minutes later.
It was Daniel Arzani who was in the thick of it again, threading the needle through the Roar defence for Budzinski to finish with aplomb. The goal meant Arzani had been involved in six of City’s last seven goals continuing his impressive run of form.
He almost found a goal of his own a minute later as Budzniski turned provider to the youngster who had acres of room inside the penalty area. His effort flashed across Jamie Young’s far post to let the Roar off the hook.
It was then Dario Vidosic’s turn to find a way through the Roar only for the forward to be denied on the line. His pinpoint header looped towards goal as Maccarone was cool under pressure to volley the ball off the paint.
The frantic period settled for the most part as the Roar wrestled their way back into the contest. It was an effort from Brett Holman that Dean Bouzanis thwarted to deny the striker from inside the area. Bouzanis was called upon once again minutes later as Maccarone looked to make it his second headed goal as the keeper made a sharp, reflex shave to deny him.
There was not halting the end-to-end action after the break as both sides got off on the front foot.
City thought they had the lead after 58 minutes when Arzani forced Young to parry into the path of Vidosic but the flag was up for offside, denying the forward goals in back-to-back games.
The visitors were rewarded for their persistence however and persistence was the key word in this goal as Marcin Budzinski created something out of nothing.
The Pole chased down a lost ball to cause confusion in the Brisbane defence, keeping the ball in play and crossing to the late run of Mauk who made no mistake with his thunderous header.
Rounding out the match was not going to be easy for City away from home and two points looked to be snatched away from Warren Joyce’s side as a penalty was awarded in the 79th minute. Michael Jakobsen’s foul on Fahid Ben Khalfallah saw Maccarone step up to the spot, seeing Bouzanis pick the right way to scupper Brisbane’s hopes for a point.
It’s a massive clash against the league leaders at AAMI Park next week as they face Sydney FC in a blockbuster Saturday night clash.
With City six matches unbeaten, Joyce’s side will look to bring in that momentum into an almost season-defining match.