Brisbane Roar earned a 1-0 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers FC thanks to a superb second half strike from Brandon Borrello.
The Roar continued their recent run which has seen them earn 13 points in five A-League games without overly impressing on the pitch thanks Borrello and the woodwork, which prevented Tomi Juric getting an injury time equaliser.
A mistake-riddled first half saw more loose passes and offside calls than meaningful passing movements or clear goal-scoring chances from either side, before Brisbane’s goal enabled the home team to take control of the game.
What they said
"We just don’t have the luck, we’re creating a lot of chances but it seems like we’re just doing simple mistakes. I thought today we did well, there’s a lot of positives but obviously the negative is we didn’t get the three points." – Wanderers defender Antony Golec
"It was tough. Western Sydney are organised and defensively they’re solid. We created a lot of chances which is positive and we’re building momentum to try and get into the top six." – Roar midfielder Luke Brattan
The excellent Jerome Polenz stole possession on the right and quickly moved the ball inside to Borrello, who weaved inside, leaving Nikolai Topor-Stanley for dead, then fired a left-footed effort into the bottom corner.
Neither side could claim to have taken ownership of the game until Borrello’s strike, and while it came somewhat out of the blue, it did allow Brisbane to settle into their possession game for the remainder of the match.
The Wanderers were forced to push further forward in search of an equaliser, which enabled the hosts to launch a series of dangerous counter attacks, which probably should have resulted in a second goal.
Borrello’s goal had a hint of Lionel Messi about (a hint!) and he produced another moment in the second half that was reminiscent of the Argentine maestro’s work.
Showing great control to latch on to a through ball, Borrello, with just the keeper to beat, attempted a delicate dink which looked like it would drop into the net, only for the ball to strike the crossbar. In retrospect he should have crossed to a lurking Henrique for a simple tap in, but it would have been a gorgeous goal if it had come off.
With Japanese referee Yudai Yamamoto allowing the game to flow in the face of some fairly roughhouse Roar defending, the influence of the Wanderers’ tricky attack-minded players Jaushua Sotirio, Romeo Castelen and Mark Bridge began to fade as the match wore on.
Wanderers’ old boy Polenz, in particular, got away with a few fouls on Sotirio which might have earned him a yellow ticket from an Australian referee. Managers might need to take into consideration the slightly different outlook exchange referees have when preparing tactically for a game.
The Final Word
The top five teams on the A-League ladder would no doubt feel far more comfortable if the Roar were not edging their way into the finals spots.
Brisbane have rarely reached the heights of previous seasons, but with some top-class talent still on their books and plenty of title-winning experience, they may be the joker in the pack come finals time.
Brisbane Roar: Young, Polenz, DeVere, Donachie, Stefanutto, Brattan, McKay, Broich, Borrello (Hingert), Solorzano (Kaluderovic 82), Henrique (Petratos 78).
Western Sydney Wanderers: Bouzanis, Gallaway, Spiranovic, Topor-Stanley, Golec, Poljak, La Rocca, Bridge (Takahagi 45), Sotirio (Rukavytsya 64), Bulut (Juric 69), Castelen.
Scorers: Brandon Borrello 53
Yellow cards: Brattan 8, Donachie 17, Spiranovic 81
Conditions: Warm and sunny.
Attendance: 12, 095