Matildas star’s ‘touch of class’ sparks major upset and surprise turn in premiership race

Matildas midfielder Tameka Yallop marked her return from international duty with a goal and a starring role in Brisbane Roar’s 2-0 win over Melbourne City at Perry Park on Saturday night.

Brisbane kept City scoreless thanks to some outstanding glovework of goalkeeper Jordan Silkowitz before Yallop and Sharn Frier scored one goal each in a blistering three-minute spell to craft an unassailable lead and stun second-placed City in a statement victory.

City have now won just one of their last seven games as Dario Vidosic’s side wobble in pursuit of the Premiers Plate. League-leaders Western United now sit four points clear at the top with Sydney FC just one point behind with a game in hand.

Three points meanwhile have brought Brisbane to within a win of Newcastle Jets in sixth as a logjam forms for spots in the finals series.

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A breathless first half somehow finished 0-0 with both sides creating several big chances, with a combination of excellent goalkeeping and attacking misfortune keeping the game goalless at the break.

City signed goalkeeper Bárbara in midweek and the Brazilian international was put to work at Perry Park, beginning with a diving save at the feet of Mia Corbin to deny the Roar striker a sight on goal.

Down the other end Bryleeh Henry threatened from distance and her low, driven attempt had Silkowitz beaten in goal for Roar. Silkowitz couldn’t reach the ball with an outstretched glove but Henry’s strike crashed off the post instead of nestling into the bottom corner.

Yallop was bright in the first half, setting up Deborah-Anne De la Harpe with a weaving run through midfield before taking aim herself from distance later in the opening stanza.

Bárbara got her fingertips on Yallop’s rasping effort to tip the ball over the bar.

The woodwork rattled yet again in the 37th minute when Emina Ekic cut onto her left foot and whipped an attempt toward the top-left corner of Brisbane’s goal; Ekic’s attempt hit the crossbar, then the post, and fell into Henry’s lap whose subsequent shot on goal missed the target, hitting teammate Hannah Wilkinson on its way out of play.

The all-action first half ended with Rhianna Pollicina’s fizzed effort from outside the box that Silkowitz did well to keep off target with a diving stop.

Ekic threatened again early in the second half from a set piece in a dangerous area but Silkowitz’s excellent afternoon at Perry Park carried on; the American scampered across to get two strong gloves on the ball and keep Ekic off the scoresheet.

Brisbane’s resistance set the platform for the hosts to make City pay down the other end with a devastating one-two punch in three blistering minutes.

The opener came via Matildas star Yallop who, after blitzing past New Zealand international Rebekah Stott, sized up the target, saw Bárbara rushing off her line and slid the ball around the Brazilian into the back of the net.

Yallop’s game-breaking strike was an exclamation point on an imperious all-round display from the Matilda whose return from Australia’s successful Olympic qualification series came with a performance to savour in the Liberty A-League.

“What a performance from the Matilda!” Said Paramount+ commentator Taryn Heddo as the celebrations unfolded.

“She has been everywhere in midfield, Yallop. This was sheer force of will.

“Thirty-two years of age… that is the touch of class, from a classy player.”

Frier made it two soon after, whipping a strong crowd at Perry Park into a frenzy with a clinical finish into the bottom-right corner.