Brisbane claw past Victory
By Adrian Demack:
A-League – Season 2013/2014 Finals Series – Semi Final
Sunday, 27 April, 2014 – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Besart Berisha 58′)
Melbourne Victory FC 0
Brisbane Roar have overcome the Melbourne Victory to host their third grand final in four years, next Sunday against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Just the one goal from Besart Berisha separated the two side after 90 minutes in what was an intense but open semi-final.
Berisha, keen to leave the Roar on a high, was fed behind the Victory line and took the ball in his signature marauding style. Having taken it into the box, it appeared he had overplayed his hand and been forced wide by Ansell, but the Albanian struck the ball from the angle, getting between Coe and his near post with quality and force.
The last few weeks have been tough for the former golden boot winner in many ways, but the striker was clearly drinking it all in during his celebration.
The first half was relatively cagey, with both teams just feeling each other out. Melbourne were finding space between the lines of the Brisbane defence, and the Roar wide men were keeping the Victory full backs occupied.
But after the break the Roar looked the better team, controlling the ball a lot better and passing swiftly. After the goal it only got better and they were looking comfortable, until Muscat made a very brave move.
In the 83rd minute, Contreras made way for Nabbout, leaving Victory with three at the back, five attackers, and very little structure. It appeared suicidal when Miller walked into the gap but blazed his effort over the bar.
But in the last five minutes, the Roar seemed to switch off and were being peppered. The Victory had multiple opportunities, with only fine saves by Theo keeping them in it. The most hazardous chance even required Matt McKay off the line to defuse the situation.
After huffing and puffing and even a possible penalty shout, the Victory were beaten by the full time whistle, with Brisbane holding out for their chance to become the most successful club in A-League history.
The Wanderers will make their way up to Suncorp looking to do one better than last year, but will have their work cut out for them against what has been the best team this season. The Roar have never lost a finals match at Suncorp, and will be very motivated to keep that streak alive in front of 50,000 fans.
Referee: Strebre Delovski 7/10
Pitch: Held up alright after rain before kick off 7/10
Game: Not a classic, but always these two always entertain 7/10
Luke Brattan 3pts
Besart Berisha 2pts
Michael Theo 1pt