Hyundai A-League preview: City v Roar

​What a start to Round 24. Goal machines Bruno Fornaroli and Jamie Maclaren face off as Melbourne City host leaders Brisbane Roar on Friday night in the Hyundai A-League.

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MATCH DETAILS

Friday, 18 March 2016

Melbourne City FC v Brisbane Roar FC

AAMI Park, Melbourne

Kick-Off: 7:40 PM (Local) (7:40 PM (AEDT))

Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones

Assistant Referee 1: Luke Brennan

Assistant Referee 2: Wilson Brown

Fourth Official: Shaun Evans

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), SBS TWO from 7:30pm AEDT and Sky Sport Pop-Up (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 774 ABC Melbourne, ABC Local Radio Vic, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio). SEN Radio (Melbourne)

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MCYvBRI

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets

Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk) 2.Alex WILKINSON, 4.Connor CHAPMAN, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 8.Aaron MOOY, 9.Harry NOVILLO, 11.Michael ZULLO, 16.Jason TRIFIRO, 18.Paulo RETRE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 24.Patrick KISNORBO, 25.Jacob MELLING, 26.Marc MARINO, 27.Nick FITZGERALD, 29.Anthony CACERES, 33.Osama MALIK

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 4.Connor CHAPMAN (promoted), 26.Marc MARINO (promoted), 29.Anthony CACERES (returns from injury - quad)

Anthony Caceres returns from suspension this weekend for Melbourne City's clash with Victory.

Outs: 17.Wade DEKKER (ankle – season)

Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – season)

Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.CORONA, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.HENRIQUE, 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 16.Devante CLUT, 17.Matt McKAY (c), 18.Javier HERVAS, 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 24.Tommy OAR, 28.Brandon BORRELLO 

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 16.Devante CLUT (promoted), 24.Tommy OAR (promoted)

Brisbane Roar's Devante Clut celebrates scoring in his side's 3-0 win against Villarreal.

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 6.Jerome POLENZ (quadriceps – 1-2 weeks)

#MCYvBRI

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

This weekend could have massive repercussions for the Hyundai A-League Premiers Plate race. 

Brisbane (41 points), who sit in pole position, visit fourth-placed City (38) on Friday before second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers (41) host Adelaide United (39), who are third in the table.

Can either Roar or City make an early statement at AAMI Park?

Plus Fornaroli (20 goals) and Maclaren (17) will both be keen to strike blows as they fight for the A-League's Golden Boot.

Bruno Fornaroli has scored 20 goals in 22 goals for Melbourne City this season.

Roar have beaten potential title rivals Western Sydney and Melbourne Victory over the past fortnight to top the table, with last week's 5-0 thumping of the reigning champions forcing plenty of former critics to sit up and take notice of John Aloisi's side.

City also produced an eye-catching victory last week, nullifying Adelaide at home to end the Reds' unbeaten run via Nick Fitzgerald's strike.

With three games remaining after this one, City can hardly afford to lose if they want to lift the Premiers Plate while Brisbane will look hard to catch if they win, as they have two winnable home games coming up against Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets.

But Aloisi will be concerned about his side's history in Melbourne - they haven't scored in their past five visits to Victoria's capital city, losing each time.

Socceroos winger Tommy Oar has been selected by Aloisi for the trip to Melbourne, paving the way for his long-awaited return in orange.

Tommy Oar is set to play this weekend against Melbourne City.

City have Anthony Caceres (quadriceps) available again but Wade Dekker will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury.

OPTA DATA

- City have won three and drawn one of their last five matches against Roar, keeping two clean sheets in the process

- Brisbane haven't beaten City in Melbourne in their past six visits, losing five times

- There have been 22 goals scored in Roar’s last four A-League fixtures with exactly half going in favour of the Queensland side

- City score 22 per cent of their goals in the first 15 minutes after half-time – a competition high proportion

ROUTE TO GOAL

While most of the spotlight will be on each side's gun striker in this one, it seems more likely that the more resolute defence will triumph.

That's not a great sign for Roar, who have shipped 13 goals in their past five matches, although they did keep a clean sheet against Victory last week.

Jade North in action last season.

Meanwhile, City - who have the worst defensive record this season of any club in the top six - looked surprisingly hard to break down in a 4-4-2 formation against Adelaide in Round 23.

John van 't Schip's side haven't notched back-to-back clean sheets since last season.

If the hosts can keep it tight at AAMI Park, they look almost certain to hit the back of the net, with City having scored an average of three goals per game in their last five home fixtures.

If Fornaroli doesn't get the job done, Brisbane will still have to stop the likes of Harry Novillo and Aaron Mooy.

Harry Novillo

The visitors will expect Oar, Dimi Petratos and Brandon Borrello to support Maclaren in front of goal.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Tommy Oar. The Socceroos winger is set to make his first Brisbane Roar appearance in over six years against City.

FORM LINES

Melbourne City: DWLWW

Brisbane Roar: DLLWW

PREDICTION

Melbourne City 2-2 Brisbane Roar