Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

Another late, late show
as Brisbane go back to back
By Andrew Demack

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

Brisbane Roar FC 2
(Besart Berisha 84', 90'+4 pen)
Perth Glory FC 1
(Ivan Franjic 51’ og)

So Brisbane Roar are the first back-to-back champions of the Hyundai A-League after defeating Perth Glory 2-1 in front of a full house at Suncorp Stadium tonight.

But debate will rage on for quite a while over the circumstances of the win, with a penalty awarded to the home team deep into injury time with the score locked at 1-1.

Perth probably thought they had done enough to make it to extra-time, but Thomas Broich and Besart Berisha thought otherwise. First Broich danced around the edge of the area, then fed a pass to Berisha who danced around a highly congested penalty box before finally wriggling free but then hitting the deck before getting his shot away.

When it happened, like every other Roar supporter in the ground I was on my feet screaming 'penalty!' at the ref.

And on this occasion Jarred Gillett agreed. He pointed to the spot.

But while Gillett was under siege from every single member of the Perth Glory team, the big screens at either of the stadium were showing replays. And they showed Berisha wriggle free, off-balance, and have an air-swing at the ball.

Now its possible that Gillett was blowing the penalty for the fact that Berisha's shirt was tugged, which it was. Or that he had been kicked by Liam Miller half a second before, which he was. But if the call was that he had been fouled while attempting the shot, then the ref was mistaken.

Berisha stepped up to take the penalty himself, sent Danny Vukovic the wrong way and rolled it into the net. It was a most dramatic conclusion to a game in which Perth's spoiling game-plan came startlingly close to creating an upset.

The game started in predictable fashion. Brisbane had most of the ball, but Perth were pressing them as hard as they could, all over the pitch.

The hard pressing game was inevitable from Perth, because if you sit back, Brisbane will pass it around you and create plenty of chances.

And in a fairly frustrating first half for both sets of fans, there were very few clear opportunities.

The major incident of the half was an injury received by Shane Smeltz while fouling Matt Smith. Smeltz was way late into a tackle and Smith put an arm up to fend him off. The result was a free to Brisbane and Smeltz requiring bandages round his upper lip, perhaps for a broken tooth.

But the question for all teams who try to push Brisbane back is this: Can you keep it up all game?

At half-time Perth had been successful in restricting Brisbane to only a couple of clear shots. Ivan Franjic had a good chance just before the break when he ghosted past a couple of defenders, but Vukovic made a good save low to his right.

The second half started as tense and tight as the first half, until in the 51st minute Thomas Broich set it alight. Chasing a ball down the inside left channel, he beat Josh Risdon with a wonderful piece of skill and Vukovic could only beat away his powerful shot.

But Perth took the lead only a minute later, turning the whole final on it's head. Mehmet won the ball in great position and fed it out to Travis Dodd. Dodd's first cross was blocked, but the rebound gave him a second chance from a slightly better angle. His second attempt went through a crowd of players and bounced off Ivan Franjic's shin into the goal.

So with the underdogs a goal up, and everything to play for, Ange Postecoglu rang the changes. On came Brattan and Fitzgerald for Paartalu and Murdocca. Five minutes later, Meyer was on for Henrique.

And the subs made a real difference. Brisbane were dominating, Broich was mesmerising, Fitzgerald was flying, but still the equaliser wouldn't come.

It wasn't until the 85th minute that Brisbane scored. Late goals are a specialty of this team, but its clear for all to see that the reason for that has nothing to do with luck, and everything to do with the fact that they just keeping playing their relentless style of play all the way to the final whistle.

Broich received the ball from a throw-in, had a quick look up and placed a perfect cross onto the head of Berisha who was flying to meet the ball at the near post. His header beat Vukovic, and Perth's plans had turned to dust.

Then came the penalty controversy, followed in short order by the final whistle, and after that general delirium.

So Brisbane are champions. The penalty was debateable, but what is beyond debate is that Brisbane were absolutely monstering Perth at the time, and Perth hadn't got the ball out of their own half for about 15 minutes.

It's a totally hypothetical question to ask what would have happened in extra time, but there was no indication that Perth had anything in their legs to play Brisbane in any other way other than with 10 men behind the ball.

It was somewhat fitting that the game's two best players, Broich and Berisha, were both involved in both of Brisbane's goals.

So the Brisbane Roar fans did get to sing (to 'You Are My Sunshine'): “His name is Besart, Besart Berisha, he is mental and he is mad, He is the best centre forward the Brisbane Roar have ever had.”

And there are few watchers of the A-League who would dispute the sentiments of that song.

And a final footnote: On the Back of the Net podcast earlier this week, BOTN's editor Chris Dunkerley correctly predicted a 2-1 win to Brisbane, and also correctly predicted that it would be anything but an easy game.

However, I will claim that my 3-0 prediction was not entirely wrong. After all, Brisbane did score all three goals.

Ed. The Joe Marston medal for the Player of the Grand Final was awarded to Jacob Burns of Perth Glory, after wrongly being given at the ceremony to Thomas Broich.

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

Brisbane Roar FC 2
(Besart Berisha 84', 90'+4 pen)

Perth Glory FC 1
(Ivan Franjic 51’ og)

    Crowd: 50,334


    Brisbane Roar FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH (c), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU (18. Luke BRATTAN 65’), 7. Besart BERISHA, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA (24. Nick FITZGERALD 65’), 10. HENRIQUE (21. James MEYER 74’), 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 16. Mohamed ADNAN, 22. Thomas BROICH
    Substitutes not used: 4. Matt JURMAN, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (rgk)

    Coach: Ange Postecoglou

    Yellow Cards: Ivan FRANJIC 89’
    Red Cards: Nil

    Perth Glory FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Daniel VUKOVIC (gk), 3. Seb VAN DEN BRINK, 4. Billy MEHMET, 5. Steve PANTALEDIS, 7. Jacob BURNS (c), 9. Shane SMELTZ (14. Steven McGARRY 80’), 10. Liam MILLER, 13. Travis DODD 12. Scott NEVILLE 76’), 17. Todd HOWARTH, 19. Joshua RISDON, 35. Dean HEFFERNAN (RC)
    Substitutes not used: 2. Josh MITCHELL, 20. Neil YOUNG (gk), 27. ANDREZINHO

    Coach: Ian Ferguson

    Yellow Cards: Liam MILLER 10’, Jacob BURNS 49’, Dean HEFFERNAN 56’, 90'+1, Danny VUKOVIC 90'+2, Billy MEHMET 90'+4
    Red Cards: Dean HEFFERNAN 90'+1

    Referee: Jarred Gillett tba/10
    Assistant referees: Matthew Cream, Mathew Cheeseman; Fourth official: Ben Williams

    BOTN Player Points:

    3. tba
    2. tba
    1. tba

    Pitch rating: tba/10

    Game rating: tba/10

    Match Report and ratings: By Andrew Demack

No photos, sorry

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.

Crafted lovingly by hand
By fans, for fans
© Magic Llama 2000 - 2011