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'Had a job to do, did it': Three things we learned - City vs Brisbane.

It took until the dying embers of the game, but Melbourne City were able to come out victorious against a valiant Brisbane outfit.

This game may be looked back at as a crucial one on our road to a third-straight Premier's Plate, as an Adelaide win on Saturday night suggested that anything but a City victory may have very well blown the race right open.

Instead, an 88th-minute Aiden O'neill header sees City maintain a healthy six-point gap over second place whilst still occupying a game in hand.

With that said, here are three things we learned from Sunday's match.

A new side of Aiden O'Neill

I know many of us here at Talking City harp on about this bloke, but I don't care, I'm going to keep on harping.

With a performance like that, how can I not?

Aiden O'Neill is simply a cut above the rest in this league, and I am more than comfortable saying he is simply the most important facet of this City side.

I think what was really special about his performance yesterday was that we were treated to an attacking aspect not really yet seen previously from him.

Photo: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

We had seen glimpses with near-miss shots from deep, and obviously his derby goal, but yesterday really exemplified the threat he can possess all over the park.

A thunderbolt from deep, a precision game-defining header accompanied by a whopping 11 passes into the opposition final third; take a bow, Aiden.

Whilst City fans have accepted that we likely won't be witnessing O'Neill in City colours next season, there may still be a glimpse of hope for City fans.

It's no secret PK is set on bringing O'Neill to Troyes with him next year, however reported yesterday that City has also offered the midfield star a new contract to extend his stay at the club.

A lot would have to go in our favour for this to happen, as we can only imagine the sort of interest O'Neill is attracting, but nonetheless it's nice to know we're doing our best to keep him.

Everything aside, as fans all we can do is enjoy what we're seeing, and that we are.

Midfield Jamo

When the team sheet was announced, I assume many of us saw the skippers inclusion and presumed he would slot in at left back as per normal, likely pushing Bos onto the wing and Tilio into the middle.

Hence my double take when I saw Jamo operating in the number 6. This had the potential to go so well, or oh so wrong.

Fortunately for City fans, it went well.

Photo: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

He didn't set the world alight, but he looked quite serviceable in the midfield, keen to get on the ball whenever possible, as well as playing his trademark diagonal long ball to the wingers whenever the opportunity presented itself.

The club veteran finished the match with 74/90 passes completed at a rate of 82%; who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

It's unlikely we'll see this again, with Richie VDV expected to re-enter the squad next week, but nonetheless the shift put in by Jamo shouldn't go unnoticed, kudos to you captain!

Much-needed defensive stability:

Whilst still not a clean sheet, yesterday was a welcome improvement to what has been a monumental defensive leak as of late.

From the get-go it was clear City was prepared to be quite a bit more patient on the ball and looked to control the game, which you'd expect at home. But what was telling was when we did lose possession we looked to press far less, and instead opted to stay compact and in shape.

Photo: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

This is quite a change from what we've seen under Rado, where the process has usually been press hard, work fast, and force turnovers that usually present us plenty of looks at goal, but an even share of possession.

Yesterday saw City put just nine shots on the opposition goal which is the lowest for us so far this season, however we maintained 70% of the possession, which is our joint highest. As the age-old saying goes, you can't concede goals if you have the ball, and that was the motto yesterday. Brisbane managed just four shots on our goal, one of which was a penalty kick.

Whilst our final goal came quite late, if J-Mac converts his first-half spot-kick the game is well and truly over by then, so I wouldn't put too much emphasis on the fact we had to win it late.

City has more than enough quality to approach games in this manner. Because we know chances will come, we don't need to be putting 30-plus shots on goal each game, especially if they result in us conceding regularly.

At this point in the season it doesn't matter if you're winning games playing attractive, lung-busting football, it only matters if you win them, and yesterday felt really professional.

It felt like a statement that we aren't going to continue to be easy to score against and that we want to again be really hard to beat.

We had a job to do and we did it.

City's focus now turns its focus to the Macarthur Bulls next Sunday where another three points will bring that plate within touching distance.

Come on City!

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