Two goals to the returning Jamie Maclaren has inspired Brisbane Roar to a well-deserved 3-1 win over a sluggish Sydney FC in driving rain at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
After missing the last three games on Olyroos duty, Maclaren made an instant impact on his return scoring inside eight minutes as the visitors took a 1-0 lead to the break.
The Sky Blues equalised early in the second half via a Corona own goal but a Matt McKay header and Maclaren’s second handed Roar their first win in four weeks.
The win sees Roar remain second and right on the tail of leaders Western Sydney Wanderers while the Sky Blues have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season.
0-1 Maclaren (8’) – Thomas Broich spotted Maclaren’s run in behind and produced a classy scoop over the top of the Sydney defence for his striker. Maclaren’s first shot hit the post but rebounded back to him and he slammed it home from close range.
1-1 Corona (og) (52’) – The Sky Blues won a free-kick to the right of the Roar box which Alex Gersbach fired across the face of goal, with the ball hitting Corona and nestling in the back of the net.
1-2 McKay (67’) – Dimitri Petratos did well to keep the ball in just before it was going to cross the byline. He crafted a metre of space to fizz in a cross to the far post where McKay arrived to head it home.
1-3 Maclaren (76’) – A stunning counter attack from the visitors. Petratos pin-point pass gave Roar a two-on-one in Sydney’s half. And Henrique summed it up perfectly, driving past Jacques Faty before squaring to Maclaren for a simple tap in.
Not long after Sydney FC equalised, Roar boss John Aloisi brought super sub Henrique off the bench and it proved a masterstroke.
The classy Brazilian first started the move which led to McKay’s goal which put Roar in front before providing a sensational assist for Maclaren’s match-sealer.
The Sky Blues had no answer to the ‘Slippery Fish’ and his contribution inspired Roar to a crucial three points.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
-Sydney is still yet to register a win against a side from outside of NSW this season. Their 10 games against clubs from outside NSW have garnered just six points. (6D, 4L)
-The win was just Brisbane’s fourth away from home against Sydney FC in 18 games.
The Olyroos may not have qualified for this year’s Rio Olympics but the youngsters who returned for this clash put that disappointment behind them by impressing in this one.
Gersbach was arguably Sydney FC’s most dangerous player and put in a tireless performance down the left flank for the home side.
For the Roar, Maclaren was his usual menace in attack and got another two goals to his name while James Donachie stood tall in defence.
The future certainly looks bright with these youngsters in the Hyundai A-League.
There was a touch of misfortune around Corona’s contribution to Sydney’s goal but the experienced midfielder should have known he was flirting with danger trying to get something on the ball at that pace.
The deflection gave ‘keeper Michael Theo no chance and gifted the Sky Blues an equaliser.
THE FINAL WORD
Sky Blues boss Graham Arnold has plenty of things to resolve with his side, who again struggled to carve out opportunities. Supposedly meant to get stronger as the season goes on, Sydney are seemingly lacking inspiration without skipper Alex Brosque. They face a tough away trip to Adelaide United on Friday night.
After a tough few weeks Roar proved it was just an aberration with a clinical performance. The return of their Olyroo attackers certainly made a difference, with a more potent threat in the front third. John Aloisi’s side host cellar-dwellars Central Coast Mariners next Saturday.