De Laet strikes as City edge Roar, keep pace with Hyundai A-League frontrunners
Ritchie De Laet fashioned a second half winner to help Melbourne City edge Brisbane Roar 1-0 in Friday’s Hyundai A-league contest.
De Laet led the line for Warren Joyce’s side on the evening and rewarded the City boss with a smooth 51st minute finish which shattered Jamie Young’s resistance and sent Melbourne on route to a seventh straight win at AAMI Park.
City missed several chances to double their lead, but their profligacy ultimately went unpunished despite a nerve-wracking late rally from Brisbane, whose eight-match winless run is now the club’s longest streak without a victory.
Meanwhile, Joyce’s men are now five matches unbeaten courtesy of another gritty, well-organised display from the Hyundai A-League’s best defence, and sit equal on 23 points with Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC.
Only the continuing brilliance of Roar goalkeeper Young, who denied Lachlan Wales with both hand and feet in the opening 20 minutes, stopped City from establishing a first half foothold.
Wales – leading the line for City alongside De Laet – buzzed ominously around Roar’s five-man defence and saw an effort chalked off by the linesman’s flag, a fate that also befell Brisbane striker Adam Taggart soon after.
Young continued to keep City at bay with acrobatics from Rostyn Griffiths and Scott Jamieson either side of the interval.
But it was De Laet made the breakthrough moment early in the second, showing strength and poise to escape his marker and neatly dispatch Griffiths’ cross with a smooth first-time finish.
Henrique nearly proved a late catalyst for a Roar fightback late on but the striker was unable to prevent Brisbane from slumping to an eighth straight match without a win - a new and unwanted club record.
Re-live all the goals, highlights and talking points from Friday night’s LIVE BLOG below.