Hyundai A-League - 2010/2011 - Season 6

Full house sees Roar win epic,
unbelievable GF encounter!
By Andrew Demack

2010/2011 Hyundai A-League - Grand Final
4:00pm, 13 March, 20101
at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 0 (2)
(Henrique 117’, Erik Paartalu 120’)
drew with
Central Coast Mariners FC 0 (2)
(Adam Kwasnik 96’, Oliver Bozanic 102’')

(Brisbane Roar have won the Grand Final AET on a penalty shoot-out 4-2, and are Champions of 2010/2011)
Penalties - Brisbane Roar 4 successful (Franjic, Paartalu, McKay, Henrique) - Central Coast Mariners 2 (Hutchinson, Wilkinson)

(The Winners! Photo linked from FFA web site)

Brisbane Roar defeated Central Coast Mariners 4-2 on penalties after extra time at Suncorp Stadium in front of 50,000 fans, to be crowned as double-winners in the Hyundai A-League for 2010/11.

The grand final was an enthralling stalemate after 90 minutes, starting on a steamy late afternoon in Brisbane which turned into a tropical downpour for about 10 minutes of the second half.

There were 22 heroes out there, and each and every one of them played themselves to a standstill. Sure, Matt McKay was outstanding for the champions, as was Thomas Broich, and Erik Paartalu. But equally, Central Coast had two giants in defence, Alex Wilkinson and Patrick Zwaanswijk.

The midfield battle was epic all night. The two best holding midfielders in the league, Erik Paartalu and Rostyn Griffiths, both winning vital tackles all night.

Four of the best creative midfielders you will see in a long time in Australia: McKay and Broich for the Roar, McGlinchey and Bozanic for the Coast.

There was quality all over the park, and fierce battles aplenty. But the key battles in the key areas of the field were being won by defenders for most of the night.

The Roar had a nervy start, with Matt Smith in particular starting out a bit shakey. But although Central Coast got hold of the ball in good positions a couple of times in the early minutes, they didn' t force Theoklitos in a save, with both Simon and then Kwasnik putting chances wide.

Roar settled in a pattern after about 20 minutes of the game, and dominated possession for the rest of the half. However, with the excellence of Central Coast's central defence, all the chances were either shots from long range, or from an unfavourable angle out wide.

So while Brisbane had more of the ball, the real chances in the first half may even have favoured the visitors. Kwasnik had an audacious attempt from long range in the 28th minute which had Theoklitos in a frantic rush to get back. The ball landed on the roof of the net.

At half-time, it was 0-0.

Soon after the break, the heavens opened. The quality of play dimmed somewhat for a few minutes, but Matt Ryan pulled off a great save from Solorzano in the downpour period.

Increasingly the Roar had the visitors pinned back, but the heavy conditions appeared to take the sting out of the Roar attack. McKay was still conducting the orchestra, but the end product failed to appear, no matter how much effort they put in.

So extra-time it was.

And what an extra-time it was.

Central Coast were smashing the Roar on the break. Whenever they won possession, the fresh legs of Bernie Ibini-Isei were finding space past a tired Roar defence, and he brought two fine saves out of Theoklitos.

After six minutes of the new game, it was Central Coast who took the lead. A corner was only half-cleared, and headed back towards goal. Ibini-Isei and Theoklitos challenged for the ball, and it dropped to Adam Kwasnik who poked it home.

And another six minutes later the Coast were two-up, and heading for an historic win. Kwasnik sprung the Roar's offside trap and was through on goal. Theoklitos came out and blocked his first attempt, but cool as you like Kwasnik steered a pass to Oliver Bozanic coming past him at full tilt to slide the ball into the net. It was brilliant counter-attacking football, and the travelling fans, of whom there was a strong contingent, were in full voice.

At the turn-around, with 15 minutes to go, McKay rallied his troops. According to Michael Theoklitos, McKay said “how many times this season have we scored two goals in the last 15 minutes?”

And they did.

The first goal back was – finally – beautifully constructed, with McKay, Solorzano and Broich combining, to set up a shot from Henrique. The little Brazilian has been the Roar's lucky charm for the past couple of games, and he came to their rescue again with a calm finish.

But that goal came with only three minutes left on the clock. It was in the 117th minute, of a game that was going to be over after 120 minutes.

In the 120th minute, Rocky Visconte won a corner on the left. Thomas Broich trotted over to take it. The big men poured forward into the box. Solorzano and McKay waved their arms, signalling the crowd that this was it, this was the last chance for Brisbane to bring it home.

Broich sent in the perfect corner, and Erik Paartalu rose highest and powered the header into the net. It was the last action of a roller-coaster game.

And it meant that penalties would decide the A-League championship.

Penalty shootouts are all about goalkeepers. What you've done in the first 120 minutes now means virtually nothing. And it's the keepers with the big presence and personality that seem to thrive in the shootout atmosphere.

Michael Theoklitos is indisputably a big-game player, and vastly experienced after winning two titles with Melbourne Victory. Matt Ryan is a gun, and will be a fine keeper for many years, but he's only 18 years old.

Theoklitos pulled off high-quality saves to the penalties of Daniel McBreen and Pedj Bojic. All of the Roar penalty-takers scored.

And that was it. A game that Central Coast Mariners were incredibly unlucky to lose. A game that Brisbane Roar could never have won. A game that 50,168 people at Suncorp Stadium tonight will never forget.

An unbelievable culmination to Brisbane Roar's finest ever season. A massively frustrating finish to Central Coast's super season.

What do you mean, no more A-League for seven months? That doesn't seem bearable.

Ed. Mariners 18 year old goalkeeper Matt Ryan was awarded the Marston medal for the Player of the Grand Final - a fitting award as Joe Marston is a big Mariners fan and Central Coast resident.

2010/2011 Hyundai A-League - Grand Final
4:00pm, 13 March, 20101
at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 0 (2)
(Henrique 117’, Erik Paartalu 120’)

drew with
Central Coast Mariners FC 0 (2)
(Adam Kwasnik 96’, Oliver Bozanic 102’')

(Brisbane Roar have won the Grand Final AET on a penalty shoot-out 4-2, and are Champions of 2010/2011)
Penalties - Brisbane Roar 4 successful (Franjic, Paartalu, McKay, Henrique) - Central Coast Mariners 2 (Hutchinson, Wilkinson)

    Crowd: 50,168 (A sea of Orange with two big splashes of yellow)


    Brisbane Roar FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH, 4. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES (10. HENRIQUE +71’), 9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 15. Matt McKAY (c), 17. Mitch NICHOLS (8. Massimo MURDOCCA +82’), 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Milan SUSAK (14. Rocky VISCONTE +101’)
    Substitutes not used: 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (rgk), 12. Matt MUNDY

    Coach: Ange Postecoglou

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards: Nil

    Central Coast Mariners FC :
    Player listing:
    20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS (24. Bernie IBINI-ISEI +89’), 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON (2. Daniel McBREEN +72’), 22. Mustafa AMINI (7. John HUTCHINSON +60’), 23. Adam KWASNIK
    Substitutes not used: 30. Paul HENDERSON (rgk), 16. Trent SAINSBURY.

    Coach: Graham Arnold

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Matthew Breeze 8.5/10 ... amazing that not one card was shown
    Assistant referees: Ben Wilson, Brad Hobson; Fourth official: Srebre Delovski

    BOTN Player Points:
    > How can you do that??
    3. Patrick Zwaanswijk (CCM)
    3. Matt McKay (BR)
    3. Adam Kwasnik (CCM)
    3. Michael Theoklitos (BR)
    ... but that leaves out about 20 others who were all sensational.

    Pitch rating: [Ed. Pitch 7/10 - too sandy] Ground 9/10 ... the atmosphere made it a 10

    Game rating: 11/10 ... just astonishing! (Ed. I agree, 10/10 say - and we lost]

    Match Report and ratings: By Andrew Demack

(A painful way to lose a Grand Final - Photo Chris Dunkerley for BOTN)

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here, unless attributed, are as implicitly supplied by FFA and used by assumed permission.

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