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Coach Warren Moon has lamented a hectic travel schedule and a tight offside call after Brisbane Roar fell just short in an opening-round 2-1 loss to reigning A-League Men champions Melbourne City.
Brisbane arrived in Melbourne at 3pm on Friday, just hours out from their season opener, as part of a fly-in, fly-out day trip.
It came amid tight quarantine restrictions imposed by Queensland authorities to allow Brisbane to make the return trip across state borders without quarantining.
A bemused Moon praised his team's performance but said the Roar only learned of their tough preparation on Tuesday and criticised both the government and the Australian Professional Leagues.
"It's no shock that when the draw came out officially six or seven weeks ago, Brisbane Roar were asking the questions of the league and the government and I think it wasn't until Tuesday that we had a definitive answer what we were doing," Moon said.
"So I'm gobsmacked, really. I don't know what to say about it.
"I come from the NPL where we would travel the day before because we know that's best practice yet in the A-League we're round one against one of the best teams in the land, we're not arriving in Melbourne until 3 o'clock in the afternoon."
City started prolific attackers Mathew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout at AAMI Park on Friday night, but their 2-0 lead at halftime instead came via Curtis Good and Connor Metcalfe, after breaking down the Roar's resolute defence in the 40th and 43rd minutes.
Brisbane, who were without skipper Tom Aldred and recruit Juan Lescano, hit back through substitute Luke Ivanovic in the 71st minute but were unable to land an equaliser.
Kai Trewin thought he'd drawn the Roar level when he headed home O'Shea's free kick on 80 minutes, but the youngster was ruled offside, while Jesse Daley put a golden chance wide at the death as City just held on.
"I haven't seen (the Trewin chance) back. I've seen a couple of snapshots that were on the big screen and I'm really confused as to why, when it's so tight, and it's such a lineball decision, why the linesman flagged for it," Moon said.
"I believe once that happens, then the decision could be different."
City counterpart Patrick Kisnorbo revealed the coaches had been told pre-game the VAR wasn't working, but it started working part way through the first half.
Despite snaring three points, the championship coach lamented City's second-half drop-off.
"To be honest, second half we weren't great at all," Kisnorbo said.
"We'll have to look at it again but I'm not happy with the second half.
"Our pressure on the ball was slow. We started becoming negative, too slow with the ball. Our positioning was wrong. There's a lot of factors in that."