Roar tighten grip on sixth spot with 2-1 win over Jets
A heavily deflected Jay O'Shea strike helped Brisbane Roar survive a comeback attempt from Newcastle Jets to beat the bottom-placed side 2-1 at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night.
The result helped the sixth-placed Roar forge a three-point gap between themselves and the two sides (Western Sydney Wanderers, Perth Glory) equal on points in seventh and eighth and banging down the door for a place in the Finals Series standings.
It was a game defined by goals of an unusual nature, as the Roar scored twice off deflected strikes in between an O'Shea own goal which levelled the scores with half an hour to play.
Young Roar forward Alex Parsons looked to have put the visitors ahead in the 34th minute, before a closer inspection found Riku Danzaki had put the final touch on the strike as it diverted past Jets 'keeper Jack Duncan into the back of the net.
O'Shea provided Newcastle a pathway back into the game with an hour on the clock, heading Ramy Najjarine's delivery from a corner into his own net - but the Irishman would make amends in the 73rd minute by lashing a strike from outside the box off the half volley, which diverted off the leg of Jets substitute Lucas Mauragis on its way into the back of the net.
The Roar held onto the 2-1 advantage until the final whistle blew, earning three points which could prove pivotal in the tense battle for a place in the 2020/21 A-League Finals Series.
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Roar boss Warren Moon cut a frustrated figure on the sideline throughout the opening 15 minutes of play, as his side put on a disjointed display early on at McDonald Jones Stadium
But as the first half progressed Brisbane's attack began to get involved, with Danzaki, Parsons and Dylan Wenzel-Halls getting on the ball to cause problems for the Newcastle defence.
Wenzel-Halls was the first Roar forward to find the back of the net, heading home off a Danzaki cross from out wide on the left. The offside flag was raised immediately after the ball crossed the line, but the visitors were confident of the result being overturned by VAR - the orginal decision stood, however, frustrating the Roar and keeping the Jets level.
After seeing his goal ruled out Wenzel-Halls pressed on for an opener, dispatching a shot from a very tight angle which Jets goalkeeper Jack Duncan kept out with ease.
In the 34th minute Brisbane hit the mark once more, and this time the goal stood when Danzaki put a fortuitous touch on a Parsons strike to wrong-foot Duncan and score his eighth goal of the season.
It seemed Parsons had put the decisive touch on the ball when his low shot from the edge of the area dribbled into the bottom-right corner, but it was Danzaki who helped it along the way after getting the initial ball to Parsons' feet by nicking it off Jets defender Johnny Koutroumbis.
The second 45 began with the Jets creating the early chances. Scott Neville failed to deal with a Jason Hoffman overhead kick, sending Roy O'Donovan in on goal instead of clearing the danger.
The bouncing ball sat up invitingly for O'Donovan to shoot and the Jets forward elected to chip one over the outrushing Jamie Young - but his lobbed shot lacked pace and precision, allowing Tom Aldred to get back and clear the danger.
Jets boss Craig Deans made two half-time changes and one at the hour mark, bringing Ramy Najjarine off his bench and into the thick of the action. The move proved pivotal in bringing the home side back into the contest.
Najjarine ventured over to take a Jets corner one minute after coming on, and whipped a left-footed delivery into the danger area. Nigel Boogaard rose amongst a sea of Roar bodies but O'Shea got to it first. The Brisbane midfielder was unfortunate not to clear the area - instead, O'Shea's header looped Young in goal and dropped into his own goal to level the scores at 1-1.
But after one Newcastle substitute made a positive difference down one end, another helped the Roar go back ahead. Mauragis came on at half time, and in the 73rd minute attempted to provide a block on a long-range O'Shea shot from a corner routine, which Corey Brown sent to the edge of the box for his teammate to touch and shoot.
O'Shea's strike was sailing to the right of goal until Mauragis' outstretched knee sent it the other way, as the ball nestled into the bottom-left corner.
Brisbane Roar v Melbourne City
Tuesday, May 25 2021
Moreton Daily Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEST
Melbourne City v Newcastle Jets
Saturday, May 29 2021
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEST
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