Last-gasp winner sees Roar go streets ahead

By ANDREW DEMACK:

Round 17 Hyundai A-League 2013-14

4pm Sunday 2 February, 2014 – Suncorp Stadium

.

Brisbane Roar FC 2 (HENRIQUE 66’, Besart BERISHA 89’)

defeated

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (Mile STERJOVSKI 36’)

A cursory glance at the A-League table would lead you to believe that Brisbane Roar are a long way ahead of the rest of the competition this season. Attendance at the team’s home games tells a very different story.

Brisbane Roar came from a goal down to just edge out a determined Central Coast Mariners 2-1 at Suncorp Stadium this afternoon. Second half goals to Henrique and Besart Berisha answered the Coast’s Mile Sterjovski penalty in the first half.

Central Coast Mariners are always doughty opponents. Even missing Trent Sainsbury, off to mix with many more people in orange, even with the Goal Machine Daniel McBreen cashing in for the Chinese Super-League superbucks, yet the Mariners still put out a side in which Bernie Ibini can’t find a starting spot.

This is a mystery, because Ibini was close to the Mariner’s best when he did take the field, replacing the goalscorer Sterjovski with 33 mins to play. His team was one goal up at that stage, against the run of play to be sure, but the Mariners had reduced the Roar to shots from outside the box.

That both of the Roar’s second half goals came from runs by Thomas Broich is only to be expected. With Matt McKay injured, all of Roar’s creativity comes from Broich and Brattan. Brattan had another superb game, with a stand-out feature being his interceptions as Mariners tried to play passes forward out of defence. But it was his distibution from the centre of the park to wide attackers that often brought gasps of appreciation from the local fans.

But the master of the dribble and layoff is Broich. For the equaliser, he laid the ball off to Berisha, who passed it on to Petratos, who in turn fed it to the man who was in the clear, the ‘slippery fish’ Henrique.

His shot, calm and low and well-placed, was the straw that broke the Liam Reddy camel’s back.

After the equaliser, which had taken more than a hour of the game, Brisbane always looked likely to grab a winner. Admittedly it came late in the piece, with only a minute of normal time remaining, but that only made it sweeter for the home fans.

Brisbane now face a stern test against the Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta on Friday evening, a venue at which they have yet to record a win. You never know, Popovic might even put out a first-choice full-strength XI for that game.

Brisbane Roar 2 (HENRIQUE 66’, Besart BERISHA 89’) defeated Central Coast Mariners 1 (Mile STERJOVSKI 36’)

Sunday, 2 February 2014 Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Crowd: 16,078

Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO (gk), 2. Matthew SMITH (c), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 7. Besart BERISHA, 11. Liam MILLER (26. Corey BROWN 90+2’), 13. Jade NORTH, 14. Diogo FERREIRA (10. HENRIQUE 63’), 15. James DONACHIE, 18. Luke BRATTAN (16. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO 86’), 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Dimitri PETRATOS

Substitutes not used: 20. Matthew ACTON (gk), 27. Brandon BORRELLO

Yellow cards: 1. Michael THEO 35’, Liam MILLER 70’

Red cards: Nil

Central Coast Mariners: 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Marcel SEIP, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 7. John HUTCHINSON (c), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY (9. Mitchell DUKE 71’), 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 12. Liam REDDY (gk), 15. Storm ROUX, 17. Anthony CACERES, 19. Matthew SIMON, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI (20. Bernie IBINI 58’)

Substitutes not used: 1. Justin PASFIELD, 6. Brent GRIFFITHS, 22. Tom SLATER

Yellow cards: 8. Nick MONTGOMERY 38’, Nick FITZGERALD 86’

Red cards: Nil

Match rating: 7/10

Pitch rating: 7/10 couple of funny bounces today

Referee: Strebre Delovski 8/10

 

Best players:

3 – Luke Brattan (BR)

2 – Thomas Broich (BR)

1 – Bernie Ibini (CCM) … made a big difference when he came on