Brisbane snatch late win over Mariners
Central Coast Mariners were unable to hang on against Brisbane Roar on Sunday, with a late Besart Berisha goal sealing a 2-1 win for the home side.
Central Coast Mariners were unable to hang on against a Thomas Broich-inspired Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday, with a late Besart Berisha goal sealing a 2-1 win for the home side.
The Mariners took a 1-0 lead into half time thanks to a Mile Sterjovski penalty, despite Brisbane controlling the majority of possession, but after the break the Roar threw everything at the visitors and eventually broke them down with goals from Henrique and Berisha.
Broich assisted both Brisbane goals to in what was a masterful second-half display.
The win sees the Roar take an imposing seven point lead at the top of the Hyundai A-League table.
The tempo of the game was slowed early on by a series of fouls from both sides, with Nick Montgomery and James Donachie the most frequent offenders.
A dinked through ball from Liam Miller gave Berisha half a chance, but the Albanian's shot from a tight angle on the left was deflected out for a corner.
Josh Rose forced a sharp save from Michael Theo when he was released into acres of space on the left by a Montgomery pass, with the Brisbane keeper getting down well to his right to deflect the ball wide.
Brisbane might have had all the momentum but it only took an instant for the Mariners to turn the match on its head after a shocking Berisha miss.
The Roar number nine took an air-swing at a low Shane Stefanutto cross before Central Coast broke quickly down the other and Sterjovski, despite a heavy first touch, managed to draw a foul from Theo as he went past him and earn his side a penalty.
The keeper was yellow carded and the striker duly dispatched the penalty to give his side the lead.
Brisbane almost evened the ledger seconds after the half time break when Dimitri Petratos somehow missed a close-range header from a perfect Broich cross.
Petratos had the ball in the net moments later after more brilliant work from Broich down the left, but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside.
Roar right-back James Donachie blazed an effort past the far upright after Broich played a low ball across the Mariners area.
Mariners keeper Reddy had to turn away a firm Petratos shot from wide on the right after a slick passing sequence from the Roar, who had shown real attacking intent after the interval.
The equalising goal eventually came, with Broich instigating the move with an evasive run before the ball went through the feet of Berisha and Petratos before recent substitute Henrique finished with precision into the far corner.
Broich had the Mariners defence mesmerised for much of the second period, and he almost got his name on the scoresheet in the 75th minute when he created space for himself with a clever back-step before unleashing a shot which dipped just over the crossbar.
Berisha, who overall did not play one of his better games for the Roar, latched onto a Broich pass in the 90th minute and fired a shot which Reddy could only parry into the top of the net.
Mariners substitute Mitchell Duke added even more late drama when he skimmed the upright with what was the last kick of the game.
Brisbane Roar 2 (Henrique 66, Berisha 90)
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Sterjovski 36)
Crowd: 16,078 @ Suncorp Stadium