City set to lock in finals berth after thumping Brisbane Roar

City’s French wide man Florin Berenguer should have taken advantage of two chances which came his way shortly after, the first when he broke through on the left only to see Young save his shot, the second when he again found space on the same side only to chip wide.

City finally made their pressure pay in the 27th minute when Rostyn Griffiths got the faintest of touches to a cross from Berenguer – who had been played in from a quick Luke Brattan free kick – to deflect the ball past Young.

The visitors had shown little in attack, but got forward more once they fell a goal down, Matt McKay shooting over after Eugene Galekovic in the City goal punched a cross to the edge of the area.

Galekovic then saved from Brisbane’s Gallic import, Eric Bautheac, but it was his opposite number, Young, who produced the save of the half in the dying seconds to deny City forward Shay Harrison.

The on-loan Tottenham striker had created space well to fire in a low shot across the keeper only to see Young somehow keep it out.

Defender Harrison Delbridge headed wide just after the restart. But he was to have a much greater impact at the other end shortly after when, attempting to head a long ball forward from Bautheac back to his goalkeeper, he looped the ball over Galekovic and into the net to give Brisbane an equaliser they had rarely looked like crafting themselves.

Fast forward: City’s Luke Brattan slips past Brisbane’s Daniel Leck.Credit:AAP

Harrison came to City’s rescue – much to Harrison’s relief – in the 59th minute, four minutes after Delbridge’s howler, when he got clear at the far post and drove past Young from an acute angle.

The goal owed much to the persistence of Berenguer on the other flank, the Frenchman holding the ball up well before feeding a pass to Brattan, whose cross provided Harrison with his chance.

Maclaren then went close with a header from a Brattan cross before Eli Babalj missed the chance to get the Roar back into the game at the other end.

Substitute Riley McGree boosted City’s goal difference and rubbed salt into Brisbane’s wounds with a fourth in stoppage time.

CITY 4 def. ROAR 1
GOALSMelbourne City: Griffiths 27m, Harrison 59m, De Laet 70m, McGree 90+4m
Brisbane: Delbridge 54m(OG)
CROWD: 5012 at AAMI Park

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

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