Roar seal Finals Series berth, ending Glory's hopes of top-six finish
Brisbane Roar secured their spot in the 2020/21 A-League Finals Series with a 2-1 win over Perth Glory at Moreton Daily Stadium on Wednesday night - a result which vanquished the Western Australian side's hopes of an unlikely top-six finish.
Perth travelled to meet Brisbane needing all three points to remain in the Finals Series conversation but after going into half-time locked at 0-0 Perth put themselves on the back foot when Jonathan Aspropotamitis scored an own goal in the 51st minute.
Riku Danzaki doubled the advantage with less than 20 minutes to play, applying the finish to a rapid counter attack from the home side, before Brandon Wilson emerged from the bench to halve the deficit in the 85th minute and give Perth hope of an unlikely three-goal turnaround.
Desparate to seal a win of their own to take outright ownership of third spot on the A-League table, the Roar held firm to notch a 2-1 win, leaving Perth five points behind Adelaide United in sixth with one game to play.
The result was a pleasing one for both Macarthur FC and Central Coast Mariners, who like the Roar are guaranteed to play Finals Series football now that Perth have dropped out of the hunt. Brisbane's attention now turns to sealing a third-place finish by keeping their advantage over both the Mariners and Bulls intact with a positive result against Sydney FC in Matchweek 24.
A goalless first half was not without its big chances as a desperate Glory outfit looked to claim an early advantage in a must-win game at Moreton Daily Stadium.
The away side signalled their intent in the opening minute when Bruno Fornaroli lashed a strike from outside the box which faded just wide of the mark to put Perth on the front foot early in the contest.
Roar midfielder Jay O'Shea went on to offer a genuine threat down the other end sending two attempts on goal; the first of which came off his head, calling Liam Reddy into a comfortable save before the Irishman whipped one off his right foot just past the post with 17 minutes on the clock.
Scott Neville produced a goal-mouth block to deny Fornaroli at the back post after Joel Chianese found the Uruguayan with a cross off the right flank before Castro came to life just before the half-hour mark, twisting and turning to get past Kai Trewin brushing a left-footed shot off target from close range.
The chances continued to flow for the visitors as the first half drew to a close before Brisbane sparked a late counter attacking move, taking the ball from the left side of defence to attack down the right wing. Neville whipped a venomous cross toward Dylan Wenzel-Halls but the Roar striker couldn't get over the top of the ball, heading off the mark as he leapt backward to make contact.
Disaster struck for Perth early in the second half when Aspropotamitis - who had excelled throughout the opening 50 minutes - bundled a Josh Brindell-South cross into the back of his own net.
The Glory defender had made an excellent block from a similar ball whipped in off the right wing just minutes before fluffing his lines in a near-identical situation, attempting to clear with his left boot but diverting it instead past Reddy into the back of the net.
Richard Garcia brought a pair of substitutes off his bench near the hour mark as the away side chased the game at Moreton Daily Stadium, sending Aspropotamitis and Kosuke Ota to the bench to be replaced by Wilson and Carlo Armiento.
A manic scramble ensued in Brisbane's defensive box in the 73rd minute, as Fornaroli and Castro raffled up the ball before the Spaniard took control. A series of desperate defensive blocks were to follow as the Roar kept out Castro, Armiento and Jason Geria to spark the all-important counter attack which led to the second goal of the game.
Trewin got the ball out of defence to the feet of Roar substitute Alex Parsons, who fed Danzaki in behind Darryl Lachman to run toward goal.
Lachman made up the ground but Danzaki turned him one way and then the other to find the space to bury his shot into the bottom-left corner to all-but end Perth's dream run toward the 2020/21 Finals Series.
Perth would proceed to add a consolation goal in the 85th minute, which gave the visitors a glimmer of hope of an unlikely turnaround.
Wilson was the surprise scorer of the deficit-slashing goal, getting forward for a corner routine and finding space to shoot after Geria rose to head the ball toward his path. Wilson struck on the volley around a Roar body to find the bottom-right corner and bring Perth back into the game at 2-1.
Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC
Saturday, June 5 2021
Moreton Daily Stadium
Kick-off: 3.05pm AEST
Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory
Saturday, June 5 2021
McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 7.10pm AEST
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