Melbourne City have secured their third consecutive win after Ritchie De Laet’s goal defeated the Brisbane Roar 1-0 at AAMI Park.
Both sides came into the match with a point to prove.
For City it was about showing they could play attractive football while getting a result whereas for the Roar it was all about the three points after impressive showings under interim manager Darren Davies.
In a surprising move by Warren Joyce, Ritchie De Laet started and remained as a striker until he was substituted in the 72nd minute. Joyce had revealed earlier in the week De Laet was playing through pain after being diagnosed with a two-month injury.
Despite there being no goals in the opening half it saw plenty of action with both goalkeepers called into action numerous times. Jamie Young was forced into two save of the year contenders, both from Rostyn Griffiths who, in quite an advanced role, played his best game for Melbourne City.
City’s injury woes exacerbated midway through the first half as Riley McGree received a knock to his knee which saw the 20-year-old substituted for Nathaniel Atkinson.
The home side thought they had the lead soon after as Lachlan Wales pounced on a diving Ritchie De Laet header to score, only to be ruled out for offside.
The Roar suffered the same fate minutes later when Adam Taggart’s goal was ruled out, a significant moment in the match considering the referee did not refer to the Video Assistant despite protests from the Brisbane players and staff.
The deadlock was eventually broken in the 52nd minute when Ritchie De Laet converted a Rostyn Griffiths cross for his fourth goal of the season.
The win sees City jump to equal second on the table alongside Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC.
City travel to play the Central Coast Mariners midweek while the Roar will also play the Mariners next weekend.