Brisbane Roar are through to the Hyundai A-League Semi-Finals after recording a stunning come-from-behind 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Brisbane scored twice in the final five minutes through Matt McKay and Thomas Broich to move through to a Grand Final Qualifier against Western Sydney Wanderers next week.
Besart Berisha looked destined to be the hero for the visitors after breaking the deadlock for Victory with five minutes remaining before the Roar’s stunning comeback in the dying stages in a thriller.
0-1 (Besart Berisha 86’) – Just moments after having Jason Geria sent off, Gui Finkler won a corner for Victory with a superb strike from distance. Kosta Barbarouses delivered a teasing ball into the area which found the unmarked Besart Berisha who fired home from close range.
1-1 (Matt McKay 88’) – Dimitri Petratos found space on the right flank before whipping in a wicked ball which was stroked home by midfielder Matt McKay in heavy traffic.
2-1 (Thomas Broich 90+3) – Corona fired in a fizzing ball from a corner which was met by Thomas Broich who fired a thumping header past the stranded Lawrence Thomas.
Jason Geria's red card helped turn the tide late on in Roar's favour.
Oliver Bozanic and Carl Valeri have hardly played together all season but the Victory duo were outstanding in the middle of the park for Kevin Muscat’s side. The duo’s pressure, intensity and composure was all class throughout the contest and looked destined to see them through the final four.
Victory continued to dominate proceedings at the start of the second stanza and should have been rewarded with a goal in the 63rd minute through Fahid Ben Khalfallah. Besart Berisha picked up a loose ball in the Roar half before playing an incisive ball through to Barbarouses who delivered a wicked ball across the face of goal for Khalfallah. The Tunisian attempted to side foot the ball home from just outside the six yard box but badly miscued his shot wide of Jamie Young’s goal.
- Victory dominated the contest and had 16 shots to 9 for the match, including 10 to 0 at half-time. But a lack of clinical finishing to reward their domination ultimately came back to haunt them.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
Melbourne Victory came out of the blocks firing and immediately put the hosts on the back foot with their energy and willingness to press high up the field. John Aloisi’s side struggled to maintain the ball in the opening stanza and continued to play themselves into trouble in their own half under a torrent of Victory pressure. Roar failed to adapt to Victory’s pressure and too often played aimless balls forward to the isolated Jamie Maclaren.
THE FINAL WORD
Brisbane put to bed the disappointment of missing the Premiers Plate to book a date with Western Sydney Wanderers for a spot in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.
John Aloisi’s side will travel to a packed Pirtek Stadium full of confidence after twice beating Tony Popovic’s side in the regular season, including a 3-1 win in Sydney back in Round 1.
Melbourne Victory’s Hyundai A-League title defence officially comes to an end after a spluttering campaign which was dogged by inconsistency.
Kevin Muscat’s side will now quickly turn their attention to Tuesday night’s trip to China to tackle Shanghai SIPG in a tricky Asian Champions League encounter.
The Big V will need to rebuild their A-League squad ahead of the 2016/17 campaign with the loss of star duo Gui Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses to the Phoenix, while experienced defender Matthieu Delpierre is tipped to retire.
Brisbane Roar: Young (gk), Hingert, Donachie, North, Brown, Corona, Petratos, McKay, Oar (Henrique 57’), Maclaren, Broich
Melbourne Victory: Thomas (gk), Geria, Delpierre, Broxham, Georgievski, Valeri (Ansell 79’), Broxham, Barbarouses, Finkler, Ben Khalfallah (Galloway 86’), Berisha
Scorers: Berisha 86’, McKay 88’, Broich 90’+3
Red Cards: Geria 83’
Yellow Cards: McKay 9’, Finkler 17’, North 26’, Barbarouses 76’, Geria 78’ 83’, Henrique 89’
Conditions: 21°C, dry