SOC AL CITY
Melbourne City have made the A-League's final four, defeating Brisbane 2-0 in their elimination final with second-half strikes to Stefan Mauk and Nick Fitzgerald.
Warren Joyce's side delivered on their season of promise on Friday night at AAMI Park, bossing the Roar from start to finish.
City might have won by a bigger margin but they'll gratefully take their prize; a semi-final away to Newcastle next Friday.
Brisbane barely fired a shot - metaphorically or literally - against City, ending their season with a whimper.
From the opening minutes, the Roar looked like they had spent all their meal tickets reaching the finals.
In contrast, City were well-drilled, full of run and enterprise.
"There's obviously a lot of aspects to be happy with," Joyce said.
"We looked like a men's team didn't we? Even the boys in it looked like men."
Bruno Fornaroli and Daniel Arzani impressed but this was a complete team performance.
City kept the tempo high in an attempt to stretch and out-work the more experienced Brisbane side.
They met a disciplined Roar outfit, with makeshift defensive pairing Connor O'Toole and Jacob Pepper holding their own.
City had 10 scoring shots to Brisbane's one in the first half but Dario Vidosic, Arzani and Osama Malik failed to put decent first-half chances on target.
When Luke Brattan went down clutching his thigh as halftime approached, Brisbane boss John Aloisi might have wondered whether his side had weathered the storm.
Instead, the ex-Roar title winner continued, and City kept up the pressure.
After knocking at the door for an hour, Fornaroli finally opened it.
The Uruguayan pressured Jack Hingert into slipping in the corner, taking possession and setting up Mauk for the opener.
Brisbane awoke from their counter-attacking strategy and pushed forward but Massimo Maccarone couldn't put a pair of back-post efforts on target.
Their commitment to attack allowed Dario Vidosic to break free and set up Fitzgerald to score in injury time.
City's win means they will be gunning for their first grand final appearance when they face Jets, in their third semi-final in four seasons.
Brisbane were made to look like counter-attackers by City but Aloisi confirmed that wasn't their plan.
"City dominated us. It wasn't what we wanted to do," he said.
"Credit to them. They pinned us back. They didn't allow us out and we struggled on the ball.
"We weren't at our best tonight."
The negative for City was the crowd.
Just 7,757 turned up for the contest and the club can expect to face FFA sanction for a flare - which ironically glowed in the bright orange of the Roar - ripped prior to halftime.