Melbourne City ran out winners against Brisbane Roar as they defeated Brisbane 4-1, in a game which featured two or three goals that will be remembered for a long time.
Rostyn Griffiths scored the only goal of a dull first half as he subtly glanced a header from a Florin Berenguer cross to give his team the lead.
Just 10 minutes after the restart, Brisbane found an equaliser against the run of play as Harrison Delbridge attempted a header back to the goalkeeper under no pressure but chipped him instead as the ball hopelessly went past the line.
Thankfully for the Melburnians, it was not to be the defining moment as only a few minutes later, Tottenham Hotspur loanee Shayon Harrison regained the advantage for the City Blues.
Marquee man Ritchie De Laet added himself to a YouTube compilation somewhere with a stunning goal from long range that no words can do justice to (but this writer is going to try to in about three paragraphs anyway).
The talented Olyroo, Riley McGree, then put the nail in the coffin with a Messi-like chip to clinch the game.
Florin Berenguer finally produces a performance
Since coming to Melbourne, Berenguer has been an epitome of all that is wrong with City this season. Slow, error-ridden and lethargic.
Finally, he performed to the level expected to at least temporarily quieten down his critics. Fitting then, that his team also matched his performance levels to put Brisbane away.
The Frenchman was at the centre of almost everything for Warren Joyce’s side, drawing defenders in with some intelligent movement before opening up the defence with a precise ball into the box.
Maybe this might be the beginning of a bright start for City and they can make a late charge and sneak a championship title or runner-up position? If they keep playing like this, it’s definitely in the cards.
Shayon Harrison keeps the good times going
When Harrison moved to City, there were many – myself included – that wondered why there was a need to bring a young player from England when the Melbourne academy has plenty themselves.
Although those criticisms still stand, Harrison is at least doing his best to show that he’s more than just a developing player and that he actually has the potential to be something special.
After a poor start, he’s now found his feet and playing with a confidence that has only enhanced his overall game. Once he picks up the ball, he runs at defenders and looks to make things happen, especially after his second goal that was finished with two clinical touches.
If he continues performing like this, there’s no reason he can’t make an entrance to the Spurs line-up after a successful loan like now superstars and his role model Harry Kane and Dele Alli have done before him.
That Ritchie De Laet Goal
Ritchie De Laet is for some reason, chasing up Eric Bautheac when Brisbane have the ball near the centre of the field, far away from his usual position in the wings. De Laet tackles the Frenchmen and the ball rolls to his teammate, Luke Brattan, as De Laet now finds himself in between the strikers and the central midfielders.
Brattan drills a pass along the ground and De Laet takes one touch as he spins to get a sight on goal, with no defenders rushing at him and only Alex Lopez chasing him from behind. He takes one more touch to set his right foot up and absolutely launches a shot mercilessly.
Clearly, Jamie Young was not expecting it as he could do nothing but gaze as this ball travels past into the top left corner of the net. Even if he was predicting it, stopping it would have required palms of steel, that’s how hard the marquee player hit it.
Maybe De Laet should permanently ditch his full-back position and play as a striker? Only if his goals come exclusively in this format, though.
Melbourne City attendance
It’s a running joke that Melbourne City’s matches have few fans showing up. But wow, there are really no fans showing up.
The 30 or 40 Brisbane Roar fans were probably louder than the rest of the crowd and they might have even been the majority because even on TV, that game looked almost empty.
Unfortunately, likely due to PR reasons, the attendance for this game wasn’t announced, at least to this writer’s knowledge, and maybe it’s better that way. At least we can hope that there was just a really long queue at the toilets for the full game.
The First Half
After an exhilarating, end-to-end game between the Matildas and the US Women’s National team, which ended 5-3, it was cruel to have the next half of Australian football be between Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar.
Of course, it wasn’t anything close to that, especially in the first half where the goal was as shocking to the players as it was the viewers.
These two teams are probably the most boring in the league, but at least City gave the few fans something to cheer for with three great goals in the second half.
Brisbane just goes from bad to worse
Last week, after Brisbane’s loss in the ‘State of Origin’ game against Sydney FC, I begged for someone to please put an end to their misery.
Can someone please follow up on this request? As a non-Brisbane supporter this hurts to watch, can you imagine what it’s like to actually be emotionally attached this team?
Interim manager Darren Davies hasn’t been able to find any answers and at this point I’m not even sure he knows what the questions are.
So yeah, can we just cut the Roar’s season off here?