Melbourne City FC have moved one step closer to securing a Hyundai A-League finals berth after a crucial 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
An early goal from midfielder Jonatan Germano proved to be the difference in a tense encounter, with the victory seeing Melbourne City FC move eight points clear the Roar in sixth place on the Hyundai A-League table.
Captain Patrick Kisnorbo put in a colossal display in the heart of defence as Melbourne City FC secured their third consecutive clean sheet, while marquee man Robert Koren was lively in midfield as City’s big guns lifted for the occasion.
In a frantic opening to proceedings Melbourne City FC came firing out of the blocks, creating majority of the game’s dangerous opportunities in the early stages of the first half as a lethargic Roar outfit struggled to get to grips with the contest.
And it only took five minutes for a rampant City to open the scoring. A pinpoint cross from Robert Koren found Josh Kennedy inside the area, with the striker towering over Jade North to fire in a powerful header that was wonderfully saved by Jamie Young. But Germano was quickest to react, tapping in the rebound to fire City into an early 1-0 lead.
The home side were full of attacking verve and purpose in the final third, with Roar skipper Shane Steffanutto required to make an excellent block in the 9th minute to prevent a fizzing cross from James Brown reaching its target.
The lively Brown had a double chance to extend City’s lead in the 10th minute, with the midfielder’s first shot blocked by a desperate Roar defence before the second fell straight into the grateful arms of Young.
City continued to force the issue in attack, with Brown nodding a chipped pass from Germano into the arms of Young in the 16th minute before Kisnorbo fired a header over the crossbar from a corner.
The Roar’s first chance of the game didn’t come until the 29th minute when a crunching tackle from Steven Lustica allowed Jean Carlos Solorzano to gain possession but the striker could only blaze his effort over the crossbar.
An ankle injury to midfielder James Brown was the only sour note in the first half for City, with Harry Novillo making his return to the first team as a substitute on the half hour mark.
Brisbane started to become more prominent in possession towards the latter stages of the first half and were nearly level in the 39th minute but for the intervention of Tando Velaphi, with the City goalkeeper producing an excellent save to deny Brandon Borrello at his near post.
Midfield pair Luke Brattan and Devante Clut began to influence the contest in the middle of the park for the Roar, with Clut performing a neat turn and pass to Dimitri Petratos, who could only fire wide across goal in the last meaningful chance before half-time.
The Roar made a positive start to the second period as they battled to keep their season alive, with the lively Petratos racing down the left wing in the 49th minute before lashing in a cross that was parried out of danger by Velaphi.
But it was City who continued to create the more threatening opportunities, with substitute Harry Novillo making one of his trademark surging runs in the 57th minute, cutting in from the left and unleashing a curling strike that sailed narrowly wide of the target.
Germano wasted a glorious chance to kill off the contest in the 60th minute when he blazed an effort over the crossbar after Massimo Murdocca’s floated cross narrowly evaded the head of the onrushing Koren.
While both sides had chances in the remaining half an hour, neither side were really able to test the opposition goalkeeper. Clut came closest to snatching an equalizer in the 79th minute when his swerving effort nearly deceived Velaphi, but the goalkeeper adjusted well to make the save.
Substitute David Williams nearly put the icing on the cake seven minutes from time when he nearly latched on to an errant pass from Daniel Bowles in the penalty area, but Roar ‘keeper Jamie Young was quick to clear the danger.
Melbourne City FC continue their march towards the Hyundai A-League finals series with a clash against the Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium next Friday.
Hyundai A-League Round 23
Saturday, 28 March 2015
Melbourne City FC 1 (Jonatan GERMANO 5’)
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Melbourne City FC Line-up: 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 5. Erik PAARTALU, 10. Robert KOREN, 13. Jonatan GERMANO, 14. James BROWN (Harry NOVILLO 30’), 16. Joshua KENNEDY (Massimo MURDOCCA 56’), 18. Paulo RETRE, 22. Jack CLISBY, 23. Mate DUGANDZIC (David WILLIAMS 51`), 24. Patrick KISNORBO (C), 27. Kew JALIENS.
Substitutes not-used: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 7. Iain RAMSAY
Yellow cards: Brown 30’, Paartalu 64’, Clisby 77’, Novillo 85’
Red cards: nil
Brisbane Roar Line-up: 21. Jamie YOUNG (GK), 3. Shane STEFFANUTO, 8. Steven LUSTICA, 12. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 13. Jade NORTH, 14. Daniel BOWLES, 16. Devante CLUT, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Jack HINGERT, 23. Dimitri PETRATOS, 28. Brandon BORRELLO.
Substitutes not used: 2. Jerome POLENZ, 4. Adam Sarota, 9. Andrija KAULDEROVIC, 26. Lachlan JACKSON, 36. Fraser CHALMERS (GK)
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil