Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce will come under fire tonight for leaving out star-striker, Bruno Fornaroli, in his team’s insipid 2-0 loss to the Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Fornaroli was included in the City squad listed on Thursday afternoon, but failed to travel with the team on Friday. The effects of his absence were clear as the city-attack, lead by Riley McGree playing as a false-nine, failed to ignite in any meaningful way.
Both sides engaged in a game of ‘cat and mouse’ for the opening 15 minutes of the contest, waiting for the opponent to make the first move. However, some sleepy defending from Nathaniel Atkinson allowed Adam Taggart to run unmarked to the front post, heading Eric Bautheac’s corner straight past Eugene Galekovic and into the back of the net, giving the Roar a slim advantage at the break.
While the second half was more watchable for the neutral, Joyce was unable to inspire any response from a City side that seem totally unsure of their game plan.
The visitor's woes were compounded in the 66th minute when Alex Lopez curled a beautiful ball through to Tobias Mikkelsen, who prodded it on to Taggart. With three City defenders on their heels, Taggart curled his shot beautifully into the top right corner, again leaving Galekovic no chance.
The win is the Roar’s first of the season, and the first time City have been kept scoreless in an away-match since 2017.
Jamie Young - 8
Made some key saves early on, but was largely untroubled by a makeshift City attack.
Connor O’Toole - 7
The youthful O’Toole showed temerity in running at the City full-backs, causing them problems all night.
Daniel Bowles - 7
Dealt with everything the City forwards could throw at him, lacks some refinement on the ball but played his role to perfection tonight.
Avraam Papadopoulos - 7
The fiery Greek lived up to his reputation once again, landing some strong first-half slide tackles on his counterparts.
Jack Hingert - 6
Played his role well, although went unnoticed for most of the match.