Melbourne City 3-0 Brisbane Roar
Report by Jonathan Tay and EXCLUSIVE pitchside photos from Kieran Chea at Casey Fields (3/12/22).
Above: Melbourne City celebrate during their comfortable win over Brisbane Roar. Photo: Kieran Chea for Impetus.
Dario Vidosic was not messing around ahead of his first game since being announced as interim Melbourne City head coach.
“My mentality is we want to win. The trophies are there to be won, that’s why we play. My intentions are set, we’re going title hunting.”
His team backed up his words, as City cruised to a 3-0 victory over Brisbane Roar in Melbourne, to show their premiership credentials.
Stand-in captain Rhianna Pollicina spoke in her pre-match press conference about imposing themselves on the match, and playing “the way we want to play, set the pace from the start.” From the outset, City were able to do just that, with Pollicina and 16-year-old Daniela Galic too often able to find space behind the Roar midfield.
The Roar, themselves having hopes of competing for the finals, were second-best throughout; their passing not up to scratch, unable to handle City’s pressure and pace of play.
Just seven minutes in, the Sky Blues showed their quality; a lovely back-to-front passing movement ended with Pollicina putting Emina Ekic one-on-one with Roar right-back Annie Haffenden, who brought her down inside the 18-yard-box. Cote Rojas though was not able to make Brisbane pay, with her penalty hitting the post.
Leah Davidson was lively in the centre of the park, disrupting play and regularly winning duels, in a player of the match display. An interception in the 19th minute led to a Pollicina shot from the edge of the box which had to be tipped over the bar by Roar goalkeeper Hensley Hancuff.
City opened the scoring in the 30th minute courtesy of Bryleeh Henry, who’s already surpassed her goal tally from last season, just two games in.
A great combination down the left between Americans Julia Grosso and Ekic resulted in the latter being able to get a cross away. It deflected off Rojas’ back, before finding its way to Henry just eight yards out to stroke home.
Brisbane were forced to live off scraps, a long-range effort from Hollie Palmer, that was easily saved by City’s Sally James the closest they came before the break.
Another Davidson turnover set up Galic for a shot, forcing Hancuff into another save, as City continued to exert their dominance on the game.
It didn’t take City long to get going again in the second half either. Five minutes in, a lovely passage of play saw the Melbournians beat the Roar press, with Kaitlyn Torpey finding Pollicina streaming through midfield.
The attacking midfielder found Ekic, again able to pick out a player in the box. This time it was Galic, whose fierce shot was blocked by Hancuff, but Rojas was on hand to follow up the rebound and head in from close range, with Brisbane’s defence all at sea.
City were lining up to test the American goalkeeper, with Rojas, Ekic twice and Henry all having attempts on goal. Ekic was finally rewarded in the 80th minute, finishing off the scoring after a good exchange between Pollicina and Leticia McKenna.
Brisbane’s most threatening sequences were a near post effort from Shea Connors, palmed away by substitute keeper Melissa Barbieri, and a tame, long-range Larissa Crummer free-kick. But in truth though, the result was never in doubt, as Melbourne City showed again early in this nascent season that they mean business as they returned to the top of the table.
More photos from Kieran Chea for Impetus at Casey Fields:
Teams: MELBOURNE CITY (4-3-3): James (Barbieri), Torpey, Chinnama (Blissett), Bowen, Grosso (Checker), Pollicina, Galic (Mckenna), Davidson, Henry (Karic), Rojas, Ekic.
Scorers: Henry 30, Rojas 51′, Ekic 80′.
BRISBANE ROAR (4-2-3-1): Hancuff, Haffenden, Lind, Rankin, Rasschaert (McQueen), Palmer, Norrie, Connors (Levin), Robbine (Kruger), Freier, Crummer
Referee: Isabella Blaess.