Melbourne City boss Warren Joyce has come under fire for leaving his star striker Bruno Fornaroli out of the team that were defeated 2-0 by Brisbane Roar, at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Adam Taggart scored a brace in the Roar’s maiden win of the 2018-19 A-League season, which prevented City from going to the top of the table with a win.
The Uruguayan had been included in every match before Saturday’s game, so Joyce’s decision to leave Fornaroli out is being questioned. There is speculation that lack of fitness was the reason, but Joyce said Fornaroli’s absence wasn’t sinister, just a case of a coach picking what he believes is the best team for the match.
It is understood that Joyce offered Fornaroli a place on the bench on Thursday, but the 31-year-old opted instead to miss the trip the following day.
Second-year coach Joyce, who suspended Scottish international Ross McCormack last season when City visited Brisbane and also cut Tim Cahill in the past says that call was different to his recent decision to omit the Uruguayan striker.
“There was an issue last year with Ross,” Joyce said.
“We just looked at the game. We’ve had two weeks to prepare for the game, we’ve trained really well. You look at the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition and you try to pick a team to win a game.
“That was it.”
Joyce refused to speculate further, but the decision seemed to baffle everyone especially as Fornaroli had scored his first goal of the season in a 2-0 victory over Wellington in round four.
But one person that was happy the Uruguayan didn’t make the trip to Suncorp was John Aloisi
“It didn’t change our plans at all but it definitely surprised me,” the Brisbane Roar coach said.
“When you’ve got one of the all-time leading goal scorers or one of the best strikers we’ve had in Australia I was pleased that he wasn’t on the team sheet, I’ll tell you that.”