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City, Roar share points in A-League brawl

NZN 3/12/2016 Ben McKay

An under-strength Melbourne City have paid the price for their FFA Cup exertions, struggling to a 1-1 A-League draw in a fiery match with Brisbane.

The Roar brought discipline and verve to Saturday night's contest and were good value for their lead when Jamie Maclaren netted on 38 minutes.

A brain fade from Jade North allowed Nicolas Colazo to equalise early in the second half, setting in train a hectic finish to the match.

The pre-game war of words between coaches John van 't Schip and John Aloisi always threatened to boil over into the match, and it did on 54 minutes.

As City hunted an equaliser, North was guilty of over-reacting to a spat with Bruno Fornaroli, falling to the ground clutching his head.

Replays showed North dived, with the Uruguayan making minimal contact and nowhere near his face.

City played on and hurt Brisbane when Colazo netted the equaliser by running onto Nick Fitzgerald's neat backheel.

Such was the emotion on display that goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis was booked for excessive celebrations in front of the Roar bench.

In an intense contest, referee Shaun Evans lost his bearings, with several head-scratching decisions or non-decisions that had City enraged.

In the argy-bargy, there was no third goal, meaning Brisbane recorded a fourth-successive 1-1 draw.

The Roar were unlucky not to beat City for the second time this season.

Maclaren enjoyed silver service all night and, with a more lethal touch, would have been a hat-trick hero.

The Socceroo missed chances on his left foot and head before finally finishing with his preferred right.

Manny Muscat might be credited with the assist, as he cushioned Thomas Broich's cross into the path of Maclaren and allowed the striker to slot home at the near post.

After City's equaliser, Maclaren and teammates Tommy Oar and the lively Dimitri Petratos could also have found the net.

City edged the shot count 17-16 but - forced into six changes from their FFA Cup final success just 72 hours earlier - were a shade short of their usual selves, failing to generate genuine chances.

Van 't Schip chose to assess the whole week in context - including an A-League win over Wellington as well as their trophy success in the past seven days - rather than just Saturday night's match.

"I'm happy with the whole week ... at the beginning of the week if you had have said this would be the result, we would have taken it," he said.

"After a week like this we knew there was a lot of tension around this game.

"I have to give all the credit to the boys."

Aloisi said he would talk to North about the incident, but his main frustration was missing the chance to win.

"Was it hard enough for him to go down, I don't think so," he said.

"I'm most disappointed that we didn't get the three points. I thought we had enough chances."

The result ended a run of six straight home wins for City over Brisbane and lengthens the Roar's own unbeaten streak this campaign to seven matches.

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