Brisbane Roar put an end to Wellington Phoenix’s seven-game unbeaten streak as they ran out 3-2 winners in dramatic fashion at Suncorp Stadium on Monday night.
After a dull first term, Wellington must have been on the end of a more inspirational half-time speech from coach Ernie Merrick as they came out with far more intent, and sure enough they were ahead soon after the break thanks to Roy Krishna.
Somewhat out of the blue James Donachie headed in an equaliser ten minutes later and then Brandon Borrello put the newly energised hosts in front, before Kenny Cunningham was on hand to capitalise on a Roar mix-up at the back to make it 2-2.
Jean Carlos Solorzano scored a dramatic winner in extra time to earn the Roar three very valuable points.
What they said
“There’s a lot of room for improvement still, it’s my first game in three months. I’m happy for the boys that we can grab the three points here. It’s a good start for the second half of the season and we can build on that performance. Everything for us to play for and we can win everything still. Hopefully we can build some momentum now.” - Roar defender Jerome Polenz
“They were controlling the midfield and that’s something that Ernie (Merrick) wants us to do. We couldn’t do it. After Kenny (Cunningham) got his goal I thought we stepped up again but unfortunately we couldn’t go on with it. - Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante
50’ Roy Krishna
Krishna scored his sixth goal of the season after Burns did the hard work down the right and sent in a cross, which the Fijian did well to poke past Michael Theo.
60’ James Donachie
Donachie did a fine impersonation of former Roar skipper Matt Smith when he threw himself at a Thomas Broich corner to smash home a header on the hour mark.
76’ Brandon Borrello
A sublime defence-splitting pass exploited Wellington’s high line and Borrello did well to finish low past Glen Moss.
81’ Kenny Cunningham
Brisbane like to play the ball out from the back but perhaps Theo should not attempt it while he is still getting back up to game pace. His attempted clearance bounced straight off Cunningham and into the net.
90+2’ Jean Carlos Solozarno
After sending in some questionable crosses throughout the evening, Jerome Polenz got it right in a big way when he landed one right on Solozarno’s shin, with the Costa Rican hitting the winner in injury time.
Despite his tender years, Donachie was selected as part of the Roar’s leadership group this season, and he showed why he is highly regarded by making a difference when there was very little happening for his side – his goal changed the momentum of the match at a point when Wellington had looked well in control.
Broich’s visionary pass to set up Borrello’s goal showed just why the Roar had missed him so much when he was absent through injury.
The Final Word
There were only two players on the pitch who were part of Australia’s successful Asian Cup winning squad in Matt McKay and Nathan Burns, though both teams appeared to be suffering from a bit of post-Cup hangover in the first term as they struggled to string together attacking sequences of consequence.
The second half had plenty going for it, however, though both managers have work to do during the week as the sides showed a fair amount of rustiness in defence.
Brisbane Roar: Theo, Polenz, Donachie, Stefanutto, Brown, Brattan, Sarota, McKay, Borrello, Solorzano, Broich.
Wellington Phoenix: Moss, Muscat, Sigmund, Durante, Fenton, Lia, Riera, Bonevacia, McGlinchey, Krishna, Burns.
Scorers: Krishna 50’, Donachie 60’, Borrello 76’, Cunningham 81’, Solozarno 90+2’
Red cards: none
Yellow cards: Muscat 32’
Conditions: 25 and fine.Attendance: 9, 263