Melbourne City’s wildly inconsistent form returned Friday Night at Suncorp Stadium, as they managed to get a point from the league leaders, drawing 1-1 with the Brisbane Roar. City bounced back from an extremely disappointing 3-0 loss at home to the Western Sydney Wanders last week.
Frenchman Harry Novillo opened the scoring for City, as Roar goalkeeper Jamie Young made a shocking mistake, kicking the ball into teammate Daniel Bowles who had his backed turned on the play. City midfielder Aaron Mooy pounced on the loose ball and Novillo finished, tapping it in after Young saved Mooy’s attempt.
Supersub Henrique ensured Brisbane would at least get a point, as he beat makeshift City defender Jacob Melling after an immaculate ball from Thomas Broich and sliding the ball past City keeper Thomas Sorensen. That 70th minute goal would be the last of the game.
The point ensured the Roar sit atop of the A-League ladder for at least another week, with a match-up with the Newcastle Jets coming up next week. For City, they remain seventh on the table and begin preparations for yet another Friday Night Football affair, this time hosting the Perth Glory at AAMI Park.
Here are three stats that mattered from City’s draw with the Roar.
5…City shots on target.
Melbourne had the better of the attacking chances on Friday Night. They had five shots on target compared to only three from Brisbane. In terms of total shots on goal, City also led that category, 12-9. Shot accuracy was an area where Brisbane got the better of City though, as the Roar went at exactly 50%, while City only had a strike rate of 41.7%.
City has been criticized for attempting to walk the ball into the net. They’re also often searching for the perfect goal, which sometimes leads to too many passes and not enough shots. While this was seen on occasions in Brisbane, for the most part Melbourne opened up a little bit more when attacking.
City has a number of goal scoring options. From Mooy’s cracking outside shots to Novillo’s powerful strikes inside the box, it isn’t a lack of talent that stops Melbourne from scoring. In fact, the team is first in the entire league for goals scored this season, with 13 and Bruno Fornaroli leads the A-League in goals scored with five. The only thing that stops City from possibly scoring more is the fact that the team looks seemingly afraid to shot at times. This wasn’t the case on Friday Night and if City can convert on the quality chances they created in Brisbane, the goals will come fast and furious.
57.4…percentage of game time Brisbane was in possession.
The Roar controlled general play against City. They had 57.4% of possession while also completing 478 passes compared to City’s 350. Brisbane also had a greater passing accuracy, as they completed 81.4% of their passes, while Melbourne completed 78.6%. Only 14.4% of Brisbane’s passes were long passes, which highlights how they controlled the game in the midfield and had the pace of the game in their hands.
Star Roar players Broich and Matt McKay constantly tore City apart around the ground. Broich has been one of the A-League’s best throughout his entire career and his brilliant passing and attacking ability was on full display on Friday, as Melbourne had no answer to the German. Socceroo mainstay McKay was also able to show his quality against City, as he created numerous chances for the Roar and often left Melbourne defenders in the dust.
City’s injury list has been well documented this season but Friday Night saw John van’t Schip go to a makeshift back four, due to the injury toll. Holding down Melbourne’s defence in Brisbane was Matt Miller, in his first A-League start, midfielder Jacob Melling, Conner Chapman and Jack Clisby. The average age of these four is 20.75 years.
This fact simply highlights and further emphasizes how well the young City defence held up in Brisbane. They had 28 tackles compared to only nine from the Roar. City won 82.1% of these tackles. They also had 17 clearances on the night.
Now, with all of that being said, City’s defence wasn’t perfect. There were many times where the Roar got in behind and probably should have scored although Sorensen was his usual brilliant self in goals. Sometimes, you need to win, or in this case draw, ugly. That was the case for Melbourne on Friday Night. The makeshift back four weren’t perfect but did more then enough to quite the second highest scoring team in the league.