Berenguer poised to make big contribution as City push into finals


The 30-year-old has started 16 of City’s 24 games but has yet to actually score for the club.
Just as he was easing his way into the Australian game he succumbed to a muscle injury before the round seven draw with league leaders Perth Glory, which kept him out of the squad for six games.

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Since then he has battled to get back into top shape, but there were encouraging signs on Friday night when he had what most agree was his best ever game in City colours in the 4-1 win over Brisbane Roar.

He made several threatening runs on goal which produced shots that were either just wide or saved; he was involved in Rostyn Griffiths opener, and played a major role in creating Shay Harrison’s crucial second goal, which restored City’s lead following Harrison Delbridge’s own goal which had given Brisbane an unexpected equaliser.

Berenguer managed 81 minutes, which was his second longest shift in a City shirt since the round six win over Newcastle.

Joyce agreed that his display on Friday gave a real indication of the contribution Berenguer could make.

”I thought in the first half all the good chances were from his play and maybe on another night we could be two or three goals up in the first half,” he said.

“He’s a good footballer, he’s a good brain, he’s an honest lad. He’s capable of doing a lot of things in football, he’s just got to feel confident in himself.”

Melbourne City FC’s Florin Berenguer has faced a few hurdles since relocating to Melbourne.

The coach, who said it was “possibly it was his best game,” then explained why Berenguer had had difficulties settling in.

“I think he’s been a bit unfortunate with a couple of injuries he’s had where he’s trying to break in and get himself going on a run of form but then he gets injured and he’s been out a long time,” Joyce said.

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“He’s had one or two problems family-wise settling in the area … he even got robbed!

“His house got broken into once … but he conducts himself very well, he’s an absolute model professional.

“Even through his disappointment of being injured he works his absolute socks off when he’s injured so he makes his rehab time as short as possible.”

The win makes it highly likely that City will now play finals football: the task for Joyce and his men is to try to grab fourth place ahead of Wellington and Adelaide, because that will assure them a home final in the first week of the play-offs.

Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing

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