Brisbane seal Number One with a Bullet
By Adrian Demack:
Hyundai A-League 2013-14 season, Round 24
Saturday, 22 March 2014
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Luke Brattan 90’+2)
Melbourne Victory FC 0
Brisbane have claimed the premiership with three games to play in another epic contest at Suncorp Stadium.
It took a stoppage time bullet from an injured Luke Brattan to separate the teams after Victory more than contributed to what could be a Grand Final preview.
Both teams came to win, to be fair neither team had much of an option. With the two teams combined a total of seven defenders were out injured, which makes the low scoreline all the more interesting.
Brisbane’s typical possession and build was playing well in the first half, until about mid way through, Brattan took an extravagant long shot, which he is prone to do, and appeared to strain his hip flexor. Following this, he didn’t kick another ball as well as we are accustomed to, until the 92nd minute.
This severely handicapped the Roar’s playing style; Brattan is so important to what they do now. Since taking over from Paartalu, the 24 year old has improved immeasurably. His breaking up play was still there, but his distribution is vital. Without it, the Brisbane captain had to make up the difference, and Smith stepped up well.
It was the electrifying ex-Roar player Barbarouses who caused the most issues for the Victory, his pace zipped around the high Brisbane line and forced a couple of sweeps out of the box from Theo, possibly more if not for a few offside flags.
When he came off, Melbourne’s real chances dried up, and you’d have to say the Champions League was to blame. Victory have really risen with the Champions League, it’s unlikely the fans will be too upset.
The midfield battle was intense and neither team was giving an inch. An extremely interesting game, despite the relative lack of goal-mouth action, and it was looking like the plate would have to go back in the cupboard for another week, but for yet another important late winner in Brisbane.
Roar had made a mini break, men moving forward as Thomas Broich lazed from left to right as he does so often. Attracting the attention of three Victory defenders, he slid the ball to the oncoming Brattan, who resisted the temptation to hit it first time, instead setting himself and driving the ball from 25 out to the bottom opposite corner.
As he said to Fox Sports post-game, “I just tried to hit the target, you know, balls these days they swerve a but if you hit it right.”
It was a tough break for Melbourne, who fought well all game. All those stunned at how they have climbed to second will have to watch this game to see just how far they have come from the early days of Muscat’s tenure.
The roar from the crowd and celebrations continued until the biggest cheer at the full time whistle. Brisbane now equal Victory’s two championships and two premierships, but Mulvey’s side will continue to push to make the Brisbane Roar the most successful club in the A-League’s short history.
Crowd: 17, 965
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO, 2. Matthew SMITH (c), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 10. HENRIQUE (16. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO 76’), 11. Liam MILLER (8. Steven LUSTICA 85’), 14. Diogo FERRIERA, 17. Matt McKAY, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Jack HINGERT, 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Dimitri PETRATOS
Substitutes not used: 20. Matthew ACTON (gk), 27. Devante CLUT, 28. Brandon BORRELLO
Yellow cards: Luke BRATTAN 69’
Red cards: Nil
Melbourne Victory: 5. Mark MILLIGAN (c), 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 7. Guilherme FINKLER, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES (22. Jesse MAKAROUNAS 80’), 14. James TROISI (10. Archie THOMPSON 62’), 17. James JEGGO, 20. Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21. Tomas ROGIC, 23. Adrian LEIJER, 24. Scott GALLOWAY, 25. Jason GERIA
Substitutes not used: 1. Nathan COE (gk), 16. Rashid MAHAZI, 31. Dylan MURNANE
Yellow cards: Leigh BROXHAM 38’, James JEGGO 89’
Red cards: Nil
Referee: Peter Green 7/10
Pitch: 8/10 (Actually looked quite good following another code 24 hours before)
3pts – Matt Smith (BR)
2pts – Kosta Barbarouses (MV)
1pt – Luke Brattan (BR)