Brisbane Roar boss John Aloisi has hailed his side’s strong character following their stunning come-from-behind 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium in Friday night's Elimination Final.
Roar appeared headed for an early exit from the Hyundai A-League Finals after Besart Berisha gave a 10-man Victory a deserved lead with less than five minutes remaining.
But goals to Matt McKay and a stoppage-time header from Thomas Broich capped a remarkable turnaround for the hosts and set up a Hyundai A-League Semi-Final with Wanderers in Sydney next week.
“It’s the spirit of the club. The character of the players. They’ve shown this season that we never give up and we go right till the end,” Aloisi told reporters post match.
“There’s a number of games this season that we won right at the end when people thought we were gone. To do it again like that was brilliant for the fans and the players.
“No matter what happens in the football game we go right until the end. And the boys did.
"That’s because of the belief they’ve got. Not only the way we play but in each other.”
Roar struggled to get into the game in the first stanza with Victory’s high-pressing tactics forcing the hosts into a series of uncharacteristic errors in possession.
Victory dominated for large periods but failed to punish the hosts on the scoreboard as the Roar gradually worked their way into the contest in the second stanza.
Aloisi admitted his side looked nervous in the early stages but hailed his side’s ability to grind out a victory despite being well below their best.
“It would have been disappointing not to go through. We always believe we can win. That’s the thing that we’ve got,” Aloisi said.
“It was an off night, the first half. We won’t have two in a row. The best teams in the world can’t play well all season.
“But we found a way to win. Tonight was about winning.
"It would have been great to have a good performance and win. But if we had a great performance and lost I would have been even more disappointed.
“Last week we deserved to win, we played well and we didn’t [win]. This week we weren’t as good but we won, we found a way to win and that was important."
Brisbane will travel to Sydney to tackle the Wanderers next weekend and Aloisi is confident the Roar can upset Tony Popovic’s side at Pirtek Stadium.
“I think we’ve shown all season that we’re a side that can beat anyone and play good football.
“We’ve played two good games down at Pirtek. We match up really well against the Wanderers.
"The first game we won 3-1 and the next game we lost 2-1 but we were good, that was probably our best away performance.
“We’re confident against the Wanderers we can put on a good performance and get the win we want.”