Roar stun Macarthur to end eight-game winless streak
Macarthur FC rallied late but couldn't find an equalising goal in a contest against Brisbane Roar, which ended 2-1 in favour of the visiting side at Campbelltown Stadium on Friday night.
Dylan Wenzel-Halls scored Brisbane's first of the night in the first half, before Riku Danzaki doubled the advantage after the break to put Brisbane in a commanding position to clinch their first win since February 6.
Bulls substitute Lachlan Rose scored his first A-League goal in the 90th minute to give the hosts a slim chance of a comeback, but in the end it proved too little, too late as Brisbane clung on to all three points on the road.
The result put an end to both side's respective streaks of form. Macarthur approached the home clash on a three game winning run, whilst Brisbane were without a win in eight games. Against the odds the visitors prevailed, clinching three points to rise above Western United into seventh on the A-League table.
The Bulls, meanwhile, will sweat on the results still to come in Matchweek 16. The A-League new-boys surged to third on the table after three consecutive wins, but now sit just one point above Sydney FC and Adelaide United - two teams with games in hand on Macarthur.
The Bulls were the first of the two teams to put the ball in the back of the net from a free-kick situation, but referee Alireza Faghani blew his whistle before Aleksandar Jovanovic's header crossed the line.
Aleksandar Šušnjar was spotted holding back Brisbane's Josh Brindell-South in the box as the swinging delivery found Jovanovic at the back post to score, inviting the referee to put a halt to the dangerous Macarthur attack.
Brisbane's Wenzel-Halls came back into Warren Moon's 11 after missing out on a start against Western Sydney Wanderers in Matchweek 15, and the 23-year-old repaid the faith by putting his side in the lead on 12 minutes.
Wenzel-Halls ventured onto the left flank, where Jay O'Shea's lofted through ball found him in space, running toward the edge of the box and isolating Bulls defender Mark Milligan.
The Macarthur captain allowed Wenzel-Halls the time to cut across him and dribble along the edge of the box, where he elected to shoot low towards the bottom-left corner of goal.
Macarthur 'keeper Adam Federici was unable to put a glove on the strike as the ball squeezed inside the left-hand upright to put the Roar in front.
Bulls boss Ante Milicic injected Jake Hollman into his team in the absence of Markel Susaeta, and the young midfielder received the chance to equalise when Liam Rose's ball off the right flank found him all alone in the centre of the box - but Hollman's shot floated high and wide of the mark.
Energised by his early opener Wenzel-Halls persevered to add a second to his tally for the night, flashing a shot on goal from a tight angle which Federici tipped away from the same corner of goal he found in the 12th minute.
Wenzel-Halls went on to receive two more first-half chances, but both of his resulting attempts lacked the conviction needed to beat Federici once more. Macaulay Gillesphey tried one from distance, before Matt Derbyshire received a half-chance in the 38th minute which he shot over the bar - it was the Englishman's only genuine sight of goal of the opening 45.
Brisbane took a 1-0 lead into the break, but went close to doubling that advantage with the last kick of the half. Joey Champness burst into life when Danzaki's cross from the right made its way into his path as he stormed into the box, but Liam Rose marked him all the way to pressure the shot, and Champness missed the target.
The second half began with Macarthur bossing possession but lacking any cutting edge in the final third. Milligan took matters into his own hands just before the hour mark, stepping out of defence and gliding past Rahmat Akbari to strike from distance, asking Jamie Young to tip the ball over the bar.
One minute later Brisbane went two goals up, showing greater creativity in the final third to send Danzaki hurtling toward the back post to finish the move he started on the outskirts of the penalty area.
Danzaki fed the ball initially to Brindell-South on the right flank, who played Scott Neville down the line on the overlap. His cross got a deflection off a Macarthur leg which fed the ball into Danzaki's path, who had gambled on a run to the back post where the ball fell into his path to score a simple tap-in.
Federici spilled a Corey Brown cross at the back post on 69 minutes which almost dropped into his own net; a third Brisbane goal would have surely quashed any chance of a comeback, and the visitors went close to notching that advantage thanks to Federici's slippery glove-work.
The Bulls then put together a pair of quick-fire chances. Derbyshire diverted a low cross from Lachlan Rose toward the bottom-right corner, but Young pulled a save out of the top drawer to poke the ball out for a corner. From the resulting set piece two Bulls collided, and Šušnjar arrived at the back post to lash a shot off the side netting.
The result looked beyond doubt as time ticked into the final minute of regular time, until Macarthur substitute Rose found the back of the net to make it 2-1.
Charles M'Mombwa sparked the chance, showing desperation to get on the end of a through ball trickling out for a Roar goal kick. His sliding cross hit Young's leg and popped up invitingly for Rose to attack, which he did with vigour to volley home the strike and give his side the slim chance of a fightback as the contest moved into added time.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar
Friday, April 16 2021
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEST
Macarthur FC v Newcastle Jets
Sunday, April 18 2021
Kick-off: 6.10pm AEST
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