Melbourne City FC fought back from a goal down to earn a deserved 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar in an entertaining contest at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
Nicolas Colazo swept home his first City goal shortly after the half-time interval to cancel out Jamie Maclaren’s well-taken opener in a fiery encounter between two top-four rivals.
After securing a maiden Westfield FFA Cup title only three days ago, City’s gruelling fixture schedule rolled on against the Roar, with Head Coach John van’t Schip making six changes to the side which started the Final against Sydney FC.
It was Brisbane who were throwing their weight around early during a bright opening to the match. The visitors had their first sight on goal inside the opening three minutes, with Tommy Oar whizzing a low drive wide of the far post.
Dimitri Petratos tested Dean Bouzanis for the first time moments later with a low drive straight at the goalkeeper, before Maclaren dragged a golden opportunity wide of the target after a clever chipped ball from Thomas Broich.
It took City some time to get into their groove but Colazo had his sights on goal early with a free-kick which just sailed over the bar, before Michael Jakobsen failed to trouble Brisbane 'keeper Michael Theo.
City’s first chance of the match arrived from the set-piece as Colazo lined up a free-kick from a dangerous position outside the penalty area, but the Argentine could only curl his effort over the bar.
Bouzanis showed great reactions to back-pedal and palm out a cross-turned-shot from Jack Hingert out of the top corner, while at the other end Josh Rose burst forward to fire a stinging drive which sailed high and wide.
City soon took control of the contest and came within a whisker of opening the scoring in the 34th minute when Manny Muscat delivered an inch-perfect cross into the path of Anthony Caceres, who could only crash his header off the underside of the crossbar.
The agonising miss would prove costly only four minutes later as Maclaren opened the scoring, capitalising on a miscued clearance from Muscat to finish past Bouzanis into the bottom corner with.
City upped the ante in search of a quick response, but were met by an inspired Theo between the posts.
The 'keeper produced a brilliant double save to deny Fornaroli’s free-kick and a piledriver from Brattan, before standing tall to beat away an effort from Colazo right on the stroke of half time.
Colazo wouldn’t be denied his first City goal, however, as the Argentine latched onto a neat flick from Nick Fitzgerald to finish off a neat team move only minutes after the restart.
Maclaren had the best of the chances to snatch all three points for Brisbane, first heading straight at Bouzanis from a promising position before forcing the City ‘keeper into a smart low save.
City began to knock down the door as Fornaroli pulled out his trademark rabona to tee up a stinging Anthony Caceres volley which sailed straight at Theo, while the midfielder also headed wide in the dying minutes as both sides pushed for the winning goal.
The result ended City’s run of six consecutive home wins against Brisbane, and ensured John van’t Schip’s side remained only three points shy of league leaders Sydney FC.
Man of the match
Michael Jakobsen followed up an imperious performance in the Westfield FFA Cup Final with another commanding display in the heart of defence.
The Dane was as solid as a rock alongside partner Connor Chapman, breaking up numerous Brisbane attacks with his excellent positioning and kick-starting City’s forward movement with his pin-point distribution.
Jakobsen’s determination to prevent Brisbane from finding the net on display with another vital interception, flinging his leg to deflect a dangerous centre from Brandon Borrello over the crossbar.
An experienced figure who knows what it takes to win silverware, Jakobsen has fast established himself as an integral member of the City defence.
SAP Match Stats
Hyundai A-League – Round 9
Saturday 3 December, 2016
Melbourne City FC 1 (Nicolas COLAZO 54’)
Brisbane Roar 1 (Jamie MACLAREN 38’)
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Melbourne City FC: 20. Dean BOUZANIS (GK), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 9. Nicolas COLAZO (Tim CAHILL 84’), 10. Anthony CACERES, 12. Nick FITZGERALD (Bruce KAMAU 74’), 18. Paulo RETRE (Fernando BRANDAN 45’), 22. Michael JAKOBSEN, 23. Bruno FORNAROLI (C), 26. Luke BRATTAN
Substitutes not used: 1. Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 11. Bruce KAMAU, 17. Tim CAHILL, 27. Fernando BRANDAN, 34. Denis GENREAU
Head Coach: John van’t SCHIP
Yellow cards: Colazo 55’, Bouzanis 56’, Brandan 71’, Muscat 89’, Fornaroli 90+5
Red cards: nil
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO (GK), 3. Luke DE VERE, 5. Corey BROWN, 7. Thomas KRISTENSEN (Jacob PEPPER 86’), 9. Jamie MACLAREN, 11. Thomas OAR (Brandon BORELLO 72’), 13. Jade NORTH, 17. Matt MCKAY, 19. Jack HINGERT (Daniel BOWLES 85’), 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Dimitri PETRATOS
Substitutes not used: 21. Jamie YOUNG (GK), 15. Manuel ARANA,
Head Coach: John ALOISI
Yellow cards: Maclaren 38’, Pepper 90+1
Red cards: nil