Brisbane Roar shored up second spot and ended Melbourne City’s four-match winning run with a hard-fought 3-1 victory at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday night.
Two goals late in the first half helped the hosts to a comfortable lead at the break as Brandon Borrello doubled Roar’s advantage following a Patrick Kisnorbo own goal.
Bruno Fornaroli cut the deficit to one shortly after the restart but, after a heated second stanza, substitute Henrique settled matters by shooting into an empty net from halfway in stoppage time.
1-0 Patrick Kisnorbo O.G. (31’) – Patrick Kisnorbo’s tough start to the match soured further when he turned Shane Stefanutto’s low cross inside Thomas Sorensen’s near post. Intending to steer the ball away from the lurking Jamie Maclaren, Kisnorbo’s outstretched intervention instead left his goalkeeper helpless.
2-0 Brandon Borrello (40’) – Dimitri Petratos was involved in the build-up for a second time as his reverse pass bamboozled the City defence and allowed Borrello – restored to the starting eleven – to squeeze a shot past Sorensen, who might have held his ground better at the near post.
2-1 Bruno Fornaroli (49’) – Old fashioned route one proved to be City’s way back into the match. Sorensen’s penetrating goal kick was nodded on by Harry Novillo, with Fornaroli winning the subsequent foot race and holding his nerve to beat Jamie Young.
3-1 Henrique (90’) – Having earlier been part of several spurned opportunities to kill the contest, Henrique took full advantage when Sorensen headed forward for a stoppage time corner. The Brazilian steadied and shot into an empty net from halfway to secure three points.
Having fallen two goals behind in quick time, City did well to regroup for a promising burst at the beginning of the second half – sniffing out a way back into the game through the poaching of Fornaroli.
However, just as they were seemingly building towards an equaliser, the visitors lost momentum after Harry Novillo initiated a skirmish on the hour mark. Four players in total received yellow cards as the chances dissipated thereafter for John van’t Schip’s side.
Thomas Sorensen continued right where he left off in the Melbourne Derby with another supreme display of goalkeeping in the first 30 minutes.
The former Denmark international once again produced a string of top shelf saves including one close-range blinder to deny Thomas Broich for the second time in a matter of minutes.
Behind 2-0 at the break, it might have been worse for City given their poor distribution from defence throughout the first half hour.
Several turnovers gifted Roar early opportunities and while they weren’t initially punished – thanks largely to Thomas Sorensen – the mounting pressure on City inevitably resulted in goals conceded.
THE FINAL WORD
Having called out City’s perceived negating tactics following the two teams’ last meeting, Brisbane boss Join Aloisi got exactly what he wanted this time around in an open and attacking clash.
Combining four goals, as many cards an even a second half scuffle in the humid Queensland summer weather, the all top-four clash lived up to expectations as Roar moved four points clear of Aloisi’s former side.
Brisbane clearly still relish the big occasion and will set their sights on further eroding Western Sydney Wanderers’ two-point lead, while City will be out to prove they are mature enough to overcome defeat when they host Sydney FC on Saturday.