Friday, March 18 from 7:40pm at AAMI Park, Melbourne. Watch on Fox Sports, SBS2
A SEASON-DEFINING match-up is the showpiece game of round 24 as the league-leading Brisbane Roar travel to Melbourne to face fourth-placed City on Friday night.
With just four points separating the tables on the A-League ladder, the match has the potential to be the most entertaining contest of the season.
The pair bring fantastic form into the game too with both teams coming off arguably their best wins of the season, albeit in vastly different ways.
Melbourne City was spectacular last week at Adelaide, snapping the 15-game undefeated streak the Reds had over them with a hard-fought 1-0 win.
City manager John Van ‘t Schip said it was the club’s best win this season.
“We had a clear plan to make sure we tried to get Bruno Fornaroli and Harry Novillo into posession quickly if we won the ball back. We wanted to break through the lines with early ball, and get support from behind with Michael Zullo, Nick Fitzgerald and Aaron Mooy.” Van ‘t Schip said.
“I think we did our game plan really well with discipline.
“I think this was the best team performance overall this season.”
After several erratic weeks, the Roar bounced back in a big way against the reigning premiers, with a crushing 5-0 win.
The star of the Brisbane win was Jamie Maclaren, who found the back of the net three times in the Roar’s demolition of the Melbourne Victory last week.
The three goals took Maclaren’s total to 17 goals for the season, just three shy of City sharpshooter Bruno Fornaroli (20) in the race for the golden boot.
Jamie Maclaren is at $13.00 with Sportsbet to win the 2015/16 A-League golden boot.
Brisbane Roar manager John Aloisi believes his striker’s form is so good an international call up could be just around the corner.
“I spoke to Jamie during the week and said to him ‘the way you’re getting to get into the national team is to keep scoring goals. It’s simple,'” Aloisi said.
“Ange is watching, Ange is happy with the way you’re going. He has to end up selecting you if you keep on scoring goals.
Aloisi also confirmed that star signing Tommy Oar would debut for the club on Friday night, but conceded the Socceroo would be more than likely limited to a bench role.
The last time the two teams met the Brisbane Roar had a comfortable 3-1 victory over City.
Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au
Winner: Brisbane Roar – $3.00
First goal scorer: Jamie MacLaren- $7.00
Correct score: Brisbane Roar 2 Melbourne City 1 – $10.00
City can join Roar and the Wanderers at the top of the table with a victory, but a loss will not see too much damage, given John Van ‘t Schip’s side are four points clear of the fifth-placed Perth Glory.
The Roar – who are locked on points with the Western Sydney Wanderers in the race for the premier plate – can go into the weekend with a three point break on the rest of the competition with a win.
It is the most important match this season for both sides and arguably the most significant regular season match in City’s infantile existence.
After overcoming the mid-season blues Brisbane is looking like the likely minor premiers and should have too much for the erratic Melbourne City.
A-League specials and promotions for round 24
Money back specials across round 24 in the A-League
William Hill is continuing to run its multi insurance across the 24th weekend of A-League.
Place a four-or-more-leg multi across the weekend, and if one leg fails, you get your cash back – up to $50.
Sportsbet is offering cash back up to $100 if your four-or-more-leg multi bet on the A-league this weekend has only one leg that fails.