Brisbane Roar boss John Aloisi felt his side missed a huge opportunity to “punish’ Melbourne City after the sides played out a thrilling draw on Friday night.
Despite leading 2-0 at half-time thanks to two Jamie Maclaren goals, Roar were pegged back after the break and had to settle for a 2-2 draw at AAMI Park.
The draw means Roar missed the chance to close the gap on second-placed Melbourne Victory but Aloisi refused to be too critical of his side.
Roar only arrived back in Australia on Friday after their successful midweek trip to China where they qualified for the AFC Champions League group stage with a win over Shanghai Shenhua.
“Obviously we’re a little disappointed in the result because we felt when we went 2-0 up into the second half, we had a few one-on-ones where we could have actually punished Melbourne City,” Aloisi told Fox Sports.
“All in all were disappointed not to have three points but were proud of the boys, especially the ones that played through the week, with the travelling and backing up tonight, they gave everything.
“We probably lacked that zip during the game but we still tried to go for the three points
“It was difficult. We arrived yesterday afternoon and we had to play tonight. So credit to the boys because it’s not easy.”
Skipper Matt McKay felt his side finished stronger than City, but were made to pay for a three-minute lapse where the home side scored twice through Bruce Kamau and Nicolas Colazo.
But immediately after each City goal, Maclaren had opportunities to complete his hat-trick, only to be denied on both occasions by Thomas Sorensen.
“It’s great for him [Maclaren] to get a couple of goals but that one where we could have gone 3-1 up and then they go down the other end and get a penalty, that’s not the best,” McKay said of Roar’s leading scorer Maclaren.
“But delighted he gets a few goals and keeps his confidence high because we need his goals.”
Roar remains in third spot – two points ahead of both City and Perth Glory – heading into the final eight rounds of the regular season.
And they face a huge clash at nib Stadium next Saturday night, heading west to play the in-form Glory.