Roar keep ACL dream alive after stunning Beijing

Brisbane Roar still have a chance of reaching the AFC Champions League round of 16 after upsetting Beijing Guoan 1-0 away from home on Tuesday.

Andrija Kaluderovic netted the only goal for the Hyundai A-League side against his former team in China, as Frans Thijssen’s men, still third in Group G, moved on to seven points.

Beijing and Suwon Bluewings, who defeated Urawa Reds away from home earlier on matchday five, are joint top on 10 points, both with a superior goal difference to the Australian side.

The Roar must defeat the Reds heavily at home in the final game of the group stage and hope for a similarly one-sided result between the frontrunners in South Korea if they are to draw level on points and sneak into the knockout stages on goal difference. 

An open and engaging first half at the Workers’ Stadium in Beijing produced plenty of attacking endeavour but relatively few clear-cut opportunities.

The hosts’ best chance fell to Erton Fejzullahu in the eighth minute, the unmarked Swede heading wide from Li Yunqiu’s inviting cross.

Brisbane’s first real glimpse of goal arrived nine minutes later, when Brandon Borrello and Devante Clut combined to good effect down the visitors’ right flank. Clut collected the ball with the help of a rebound off his marker and fired a dipping strike toward goal.

The teenager, who announced his arrival on the big stage with two goals in the 3-3 draw at home to Suwon Bluewings on matchday three, played a key role in the opening goal five minutes before half-time. 

Matt McKay picked out Clut in a good area and the 19-year-old flicked a brilliant first-time pass into the path of Kaluderovic, who, having beaten the offside trap, was left with a relatively simple finish past goalkeeper Yang Zhi.

The visitors had a good chance to double their advantage six minutes into the second half, when McKay’s attempt at a forward pass took a deflection off a Beijing shirt and fell kindly to Borrello, who lashed a shot high and wide of goal with Kaluderovic on side and available to his left.

The hosts came within inches of drawing level on the hour mark, when goalkeeper Jamie Young was called on to claw out a Pablo Batalla free-kick which appeared destined for the top corner.

Beijing Guoan continued to probe throughout the time remaining, causing Young and the Roar backline one or two nervy moments, but ultimately failing to find a way through, as the Chinese Super League side suffered their first competitive defeat at home since August 2014.