Roar draw first blood

Brisbane have taken a giant step towards hosting the A-League Grand Final after they scored two second half goals to down the Central Coast Mariners 2-0 in the first leg of the major semi-final at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night.

Brisbane have taken a giant step towards hosting the A-League Grand Final after they scored two second half goals to down the Central Coast Mariners 2-0 in the first leg of the major semi-final at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night.

A clinical strike from Kosta Barbarouses fired the Roar to the lead in the 52nd minute before skipper Matt McKay had a free header to kill off the match in the 73rd minute.

Barbarouses struck after a poorly timed pass from Mariners striker Daniel McBreen was intercepted by McKay.

McKay put Barbarouses away and he coolly cut inside Mariners defenders Patrick Zwaanswijk and Alex Wilkinson to fire a low shot into the back of the net.

While they were far from their best, the Roar always looked dangerous and took a major step to securing a home grand final when McKay, who was left unmarked, headed home a cross from Barbarouses with 17 minutes to play.

McKay was on hand to capitalise on some terrible defence from Central Coast.

The Mariners tried hard, but again lacked the cutting edge up front.

Central Coast created chances in both halves but either failed to get a shot on target or delivered a poor final ball.

The home team came close several times, hitting the post once in the first half and two times in the second half.

Whenever the Mariners looked threatening the Roar always had plenty of players behind the ball which has been a feature of the club's amazing 26-game unbeaten run.

The Mariners best moment came in the 61st minute when McBreen and Matt Simon hit the same post within 10 seconds.

A goal there would have given the home team a huge lift. Instead the Roar rallied and scored a crucial second goal.

The Mariners now face a monumental task of at least matching the result in Brisbane next Saturday night.

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold has not given up hope of at least reversing the result at Suncorp Stadium.

"That's the benefit of coming second, we get another chance and we'll go for it next week," he said.

"The boys are a bit down but the effort was there.-"

The Mariners will need adopt an attacking game plan to have any hope of scoring three goals next week, but Arnold has ruled out mass changes.

Brisbane 2 (Barbarouses 52m, Matt McKay 73m) Central Coast 0 Crowd: 10, 166