The controversial dismissal of midfielder Taras Gomulka failed to derail a classy Melbourne City outfit at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren scored a double against his old club as City beat a disappointing Brisbane Roar 2-0 to continue their good start to the A-League season after last week’s 2-1 victory over champions Western United
City were never troubled by the Roar despite having only 10 men for almost the entire second-half after Gomulka was shown a straight red card in the 47th minute for a tackle on Kai Trewin.
Gomulka collected Trewin late as the pair lunged for a loose ball.
Referee Tim Danaskos had no hesitation in reaching into his pocket for the red card, much to Gomulka’s shock.
However, video assistant referee Chris Beath advised Danaskos to watch a replay of the tackle, as there were doubts over the speed of the tackle, whether Gomulka’s studs made contact with Trewin and whether or not the City’s player leg was fully extended.
But after watching footage of the incident, Danaskos stuck with his decision and City were forced to play the rest of the match with one less player.
Not that it mattered, with the Roar failing to make the most of their numerical advantage against an extremely professional City side that dominated from the outset in front of 7152 fans.
City coach Patrick Kisnorbo praised his side’s character, particularly after being reduced to 10 men.
“They worked really hard as a collective,” Kisnorbo said.
“I was really happy with the way we defended, (and) our mindset to work hard for the team.”
The City coach disagreed with Gomulka being sent off.
“I didn’t think it was a red (card). I didn’t see any malice in it,’ he said.
A cheeky backheel from Maclaren off a powerful Andrew Nabbout strike gave City the lead in the 22nd minute.
Unmarked in the penalty area, Nabbout took advantage of a nice touch from Finland international Thomas Lam to unleash a sweet first-time strike that Maclaren got his heel to on its way past Roar goalkeeper Jordan Holmes.
Maclaren doubled City’s lead from the penalty spot in the 38th minute after a needless foul from Roar defender Connor Chapman on Callum Talbot.
Maclaren wasn’t shy to celebrate in front of the Roar fans who once adored the A-League goal-machine.
Apart from Maclaren and Nabbout, City’s Socceroos stalwart Mathew Leckie was also a constant menace in a positive sign ahead the World Cup starting in Qatar next month.
Also impressive for City was another ex-Roar star in Aiden O’Neill, who controlled the contest from the base of the midfield.
The Roar are still searching for their first goal of the A-League season after a 0-0 draw with Macarthur FC last Saturday.
Star marksman Charlie Austin was left frustrated with a lack of service, while wing-back Carlo Armiento failed to have the same impact he had against Macarthur.
Roar coach Warren Moon was unhappy with his side’s “sloppy” effort.
“We know Melbourne City are a very good team … but that doesn’t take away from our performance, which I believe was poor,” Moon said.
“There were certain things we did tonight that were really sloppy and below what I expect from this team.”.