City’s second-half blitz a reminder of their threat come the finals
They’ll have tougher tests between now and the end of the regular season but Melbourne City’s crushing 4-1 win over Brisbane Roar is a stark reminder of their potential.
Under serious pressure after an inconsistent last couple of months – including last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers – there would have been plenty ready to stick the boot in when the Roar drew level early in the second half at AAMI Park.
The fact Roar’s equaliser came courtesy of a bizarre own goal from Harrison Delbridge would have only fuelled the naysayers.
But Warren Joyce’s men responded like a side that wasn’t showing any signs of feeling the strain of outside pressure.
City scored three unanswered goals over the last half an hour to secure a priceless three points that keeps them within reach of a top-four berth.
And they included a couple of stunning finishes, including a goal of the season contender from Ritchie De Laet.
Even during City’s disappointing periods this season, the ex-Premier League defender has maintained high standards.
But nothing like he pulled out 20 minutes from time to light-up AAMI Park.
Driving forward about 30 metres from goal, De Laet let rip with a scorching drive which was in the top corner of the net before Jamie Young could react.
“That’s number one. It’s definitely the best I have scored,” De Laet told Fox Sports of his howitzer.
“Before I came [to the Hyundai A-League] I think I scored two goals in three years so to get seven this season and there’s still a couple of games to go so hopefully I can get a few more.”
De Laet’s strike was the pinnacle of a reinvigorated attacking display from City, who had 11 shots on target over the 90 minutes, the most in a single match in more than three years.
It was just the response the team were looking for after their poor display against the Wanderers six days ago.
“We had to do something after last week, it just wasn’t good enough, that’s not us that’s not us as a team,” De Laet conceded.
“We came here tonight after a good week of training to make a statement that last week was just a blip.
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He added: “We have to take every game as a final at the moment because Newcastle keeps getting results as well so we’re not safe.
“But once we get safe [in the top six] we want to finish as high as possible to get a home [final].”