Brisbane Roar boss John Aloisi feels the second half dismissal of defender Jack Hingert cost his side victory against Melbourne City on Friday night.
Roar led 1-0 at the break at AAMI Park but the game turned early in the second half when Hingert received a second yellow card for a clumsy foul on Bruno Fornaroli in the box.
The home side equalised from the spot before making their numerical advantage count to score twice in the last 10 minutes for a valuable 3-1 win.
“It was definitely the turning point. Before that we were very comfortable,” a disappointed Aloisi told Fox Sports.
“I don’t think they [City] were creating too much and we were 1-0, they weren’t really causing us any issues.
“And then a little bit of brilliance from Fornaroli and they get a penalty and red card it changes the game.
“From there we just have to try to defend. We did well but it wasn’t enough.”
Roar were good value for their lead at the break, given to them thanks to a gem of a goal midway through the first half from Dimitri Petratos.
But they were unable to hold out under a tidal wave of pressure after Hingert’s dismissal, as substitute Anthony Caceres and Nick Fitzgerald popped up with two late goals after Aaron Mooy’s equalising penalty.
The result sees City leapfrog Roar into top spot on the ladder, although either Western Sydney Wanderers or Adelaide United will end the weekend at the summit depending on who wins their clash on Saturday night.
While disappointed with the result, Roar skipper Matt McKay is confident the defeat won’t derail their title hopes.
“I’m sure we’ll meet them again in the finals. They are a good team but it’s not going to bother us,” he said.
“We’ll keep going the way we’ve been going and keep positive.
“We’ve got three games to win and finish up the ladder as high as we can.”
Roar return to Suncorp Stadium next weekend for a clash with Sydney FC.