Roar first into the grand final

The Brisbane Roar have qualified for their first ever Hyundai A-League Grand Final with a dramatic 2-2 draw against the Central Coast Mariners, secured in stoppage time by a cracking strike by substitute Henrique.

The Brisbane Roar have qualified for their first ever Hyundai A-League Grand Final with a dramatic 2-2 draw against the Central Coast Mariners, secured in stoppage time by a cracking strike by substitute Henrique.

The Mariners played a fast-paced brand of football, threatening the Roar on the counter before moving into a 2-0 lead at the end of the first half after two goals in two minutes, which momentarily silenced the 25,168 in attendance at Suncorp Stadium.

Thomas Broich had the Roar's first in the 63rd minute, courtesy of a clever individual effort, before Henrique stretched their undefeated streak to 27 games with a last-minute, right-foot screamer.

Brisbane coach Ange Postecolgou was subdued in the post-match press conference, disappointed in the first-half performance but pleased with his players' ability to come back in the second.

"It was a typical finals game I guess - two teams going at it. From our point of view, it's the right result," he said.

"We achieved our objective, but we made things a bit difficult for ourselves and we had to fight for it."

Despite now having to defeat the winner of the Adelaide United, Gold Coast match on Sunday in order to qualify for the grand final, Graham Arnold was glowing in his praise for his team and claimed a psychological victory.

"The boys were outstanding tonight. I thought they did exceptionally well," said Arnold.

"I don't look at the result, because we had to open up and go for it at the end."

"Overall, I think it's a psychological win for us."

Beginning the second match with a two-goal deficit, the Mariners needed to attack from the outset, and the early signs were positive for the visitors, with Michael McGlinchey, Patrick Zwaanswijk and Patricio Perez all finding themselves in threatening positions early.

Brisbane began to wake from their slumber fifteen minutes in and 21-year-old Kosta Barbarouses had their first shot of the game after running on to a perfectly weighted ball from Thomas Broich.

Jean Carlos Solorzano used his speed to create space for his own shot moments later and then Barbarouses had his second shot after taking a beautiful pass from Mitch Nichols, but Matt Ryan was up to the task on all occasions.

Matt McKay had an open goal to shoot at after Ryan's parry bounced to the top of the area, but he couldn't control his left-footed effort, which sailed just high.

Brisbane had a pair of corners at the half hour mark that seemed destined to find the back of the net, but the first from Matt Smith flew wide and the second, which went from Smith to Solorzano, was headed from the line by Daniel McBreen.

The Mariners had weathered the storm and with half time approaching their counter-attacking game-plan paid dividends.

Breaking down the left hand side in the 39th minute, the Mariners' defensive hero Daniel McBreen fired from the tight angle, and Theoklitos' save deflected into Matt Smith and then bounced back into the net, silencing the Suncorp crowd.

And then the unthinkable happened. In the 40th minute the Mariners had their second, with Oliver Bozanic playing a one-two with Perez before calmly curling a left-footer past Theoklitos and just inside the upright.

Brisbane went to the sheds in unfamiliar territory and returned with a clear intent to regain some composure and play patiently with the ball.

Central Coast showed no signs of going away, as they continued to push the pace and trouble the Brisbane defence, but just as they had all season, the Roar found a way.

German whiz Thomas Broich took the ball on the fringe of the area in the 63rd minute and with no defence coming to pressure the ball he pushed deeper and deeper, always threatening the pass, before slipping a cheeky shot with the outside of the foot into the near corner.

The two top sides went back and forth in a hectic period of play, with the Mariners throwing everything into their search for a third and the Premiers pushing back, seeking to reassert their dominance.

Just as Brisbane's streak looked to have ended, substitutes Massimo Murdocca and Henrique combined in style for the injury time equaliser.

The Brisbane crowd went into orbit, before the final minutes ensured one last moment of drama, with players coming together in a push-and-shove, after Pedj Bojic was sent after receiving his second yellow card for a challenge on Broich.

Brisbane Roar 2 Broich 63m, Henrique 90m Central Coast Mariners 2 McBreen 39m, Bozanic 40m Crowd: 25,168