A fine finish from Frenchman Harry Novillo was cancelled out by super sub Henrique as Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City settled for a 1-1 draw on Friday night.
The result at Suncorp Stadium sees Brisbane return to the top of the table for at least 24-hours, while the inconsistent City remain seventh, two points outside the top six.
Brisbane welcomed back Socceroos midfielder Matt McKay and Olyroo Jamie Maclaren from international duty as they set about keeping their perfect home record intact.
Meanwhile John van ‘t Schip deployed a re-jigged backline with midfielder Jacob Melling playing centre-back and 19-year-old Matthew Millar making his A-League debut.
Ivan Franjic also played his first minutes in City colours after making his long awaited return from injury off the bench, getting a mixed reception from the fans of his former club.
0-1 Harry Novillo (47’) – Jamie Young inexplicability hit a goalkick into the back of defender Daniel Bowles and was punished for his error. Bruno Fornaroli pounced on the ball, teeing up Mooy who had his initial shot saved but Novillo was quickest to react with his sliding boot from an acute angle opening the scoring.
1-1 Henrique (69’) – Thomas Broich orchestrated the equaliser with some majestic play in midfield. Roar’s marquee showed an excellent slight of foot to retain possession in the middle of the park before unlocking City’s defence with a pinpoint pass. Henrique was the beneficiary, pulling the pass down with a deft touch and applying the finish.
The clash lit up inside two minutes when McKay had a strong chance to open the scoring and set the tone for the match. Some good interchange passing found the Roar skipper unmarked inside the box. McKay took a heavy touch but was still able to unleash a shot that should have found the back of the net but was instead well saved by Thomas Sorensen.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
Brisbane Roar striker Henrique has now scored five goals in his eight appearances against Melbourne City.
City claimed all three of these fixtures last season but were forced to settle for a point on this occassion.
The home side should’ve found themselves behind in the first-half when a bizarre slip from goalkeeper Jamie Young gifted City possession in front of goal. Young was attempting to release the ball early but it rolled straight to the feet of a lurking Bruno Fornoroli at the top of the box. The striker played the ball off to Aaron Mooy who had a clear sight of goal but pulled his rushed shot wide as Roar’s defence rushed back.
Brisbane Roar: Young(GK), Stefanutto (Donachie 78’), Corona, North, Bowles, McKay (c), Hingert, Broich, Petratos, Borrello (Henrique 58’), Maclaren (Hervas 66’)
Melbourne City: Sorensen (G/K), Retre (Mauk 75’), Clisby, Chapman, Millar (Franjic 58’), Paartalu, Melling, Gameiro (Williams 72’), Mooy, Novillo, Fornaroli
Scorers: Novillo 47’, Henrique 70’
Yellow cards: Millar 18’, Chapman 38’, Stefanutto 44’, Retre 51’, Gameiro 63’, Franjic 82’,
Red cards: nil
Conditions: 24°C, humid
Attendance: 10.812 @ Suncorp Stadium