Brisbane City down Redlands United on opening night
Two goals in the first half from Sam Sibatuara and a debut goal for Jean Carlos Solorzano in the second has given Brisbane City a deserved victory against a battling Redlands United side on Saturday night at Corporate Travel Management Stadium.
The victory was only City’s second opening-day victory in the National Premier Leagues era, after 2017’s 4-1 drubbing of SWQ Thunder and sends City top of the fledgeling NPL ladder.
Sibatuara was named captain of the City side for this season, and lead by example, scoring his 34th and 35th goals of his City career in what was his 65th appearance in the NPL.
His first goal was a typically assured finish from the edge of the penalty area after some patient build up play from City just before the quarter of an hour mark.
The second was almost identical, after City’s three-time golden boot winner picked up the loose ball on the edge of the area after Adam Edgar’s shot hit the post.
If the ‘keeper had cause to feel slightly unfortunate in conceding the second goal, he was hugely fortunate in not conceding from the initial shot.
The Liverpool-born striker was played through on goal with a defence-splitting pass from deep, and he raced through on goal before cannoning his shot from the edge of the area back off the post.
Edgar was unfortunate not to have a hat full himself in the first half, making some good darting runs and latching onto a handful of dangerous crosses without managing to direct a shot on target.
Redlands enjoyed a good spell of possession at the start of the second half, Byron McLeod stinging the palms of Clancy from the edge of the area, while Shuto Kuboyama also posed a threat with some decent runs across the front line.
Flamboyant Brazilian head coach Cleberson shuffled his pack just before the hour mark, making two substitutions in quick succession in an attempt the maintain the pressure, but it was City who scored next through former A-League striker Solorzano.
The goal itself was a tap in after Edgar squared the ball into the middle after battling past his man on the right and showing good composure to find the Costa Rican in support.
Shortly after Kye Bolton rattled the upright with a fierce drive from the edge of the area, the third of four occasions that City had rattled the woodwork in the course of the game.
The fourth was Mark Stuart, who smashed a shot into the upright after the ball fell kindly for the defender on the edge of the penalty area.
Bolton had the ball in the back of the net with ten minutes to go but the flag was correctly raised for offside.
Sibatuara could have had a hat trick after spurning three glorious chances in the dying moments as City continued to press for a fourth and put the game to bed.
But there were no further goals and City comfortably held out to start the season on a winning note.
Brisbane City: Clancy; Beagley, Aulton, Stuart, Binatti; Nightingale, Bolton, Fiechtner, SIbatuara; Edgar, Solorzano. Subs: King, Sayers, Sartori, Bassingthwaite, Walters.
Redlands: Richards, Hart-Phillips, Markovic, Pike, Kramer, Sao Jose, Perez, Ngoyi, McLeod, Kuboyama, McAuley. Subs: Perkic, Doherty, MacGillivray, Merrison.