Brisbane have re-claimed top spot on the A-League ladder in emphatic fashion, notching a 4-0 win over the Central Coast on Saturday afternoon.
In a match that saw the Roar welcome their two-millionth home fan through the turnstiles at Suncorp Stadium goals from North, Maclaren, Corona and Henrique did the damage.
Similar to last weekend the Mariners introduced marquee man Luis Garcia for the second stanza but he was unable to conjure up another revival.
The Mariners were forced to fend with 10-men for the last 20 minutes after Harry Ascroft was shown a straight red card, as they remain four points from their nearest rival at the foot of the ladder.
The result sees John Aloisi’s side complete a seasonal sweep of the Mariners on a weekend where the former Socceroos striker celebrated his 40th birthday.
1-0 North (20’) – The Roar veteran opened the scoring after some lamentable defending from the Mariners allowed Brisbane’s centre backs to combine in their attacking box. Corona looped in a free-kick-to the back post that was headed across the six-yard box by Donachie. North showed great determination to get his head to the ball, nodding past Izzo to register just his fifth career goal.
2-0 Maclaren (36’) – Brisbane doubled their advantage before the break with consummate ease after Maclaren lashed home from close range. The home side were afforded too much time on the ball in the attacking third with Dimitri Petratos whipping in a cross that saw Maclaren mistime a header before following up with his right boot to notch his tenth goal of the season.
3-0 Corona (59’) – The Spaniard registered his first A-League goal with a long range beauty to all but secure the three points on the hour mark. Thomas Broich had the Mariners defence retreated with a mazy foray forward before laying the ball off for Corona. The 34-year-old hit a low driving shot into the bottom left corner from 20 yards out that gave Izzo little chance and had The Den on their feet.
4-0 Henrique (72’) – The Brazilian converted from the penalty spot after Harry Ascroft was shown a red card for denying Jamie Maclaren a goal scoring opportunity as the last man in defence. Replays suggest the sending off was harsh with the substitute appearing to get a touch on the ball. However Henrique duly stepped up to take the spot kick, sending Izzo the wrong way to complete the scoring.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
- Striker Jamie Maclaren’s goal takes his season tally to ten – his best return in a season and the 14th goal he’s scored in his last 16 A-League appearances.
- Super-sub Henrique’s penalty was the 11th goal out of his last 14 he’s scored off the bench and the 12th goal the Roar have scored in their last three home games against the Mariners.
- Brisbane have now won their last five against the Central Coast and are unbeaten in their last 23 matches against the Mariners when they’ve scored first.
The Mariners were dealt a blow in the warm-up with speedster Mitch Austin ruled out with a back spasm. Tony Walmsley resisted the urge to start marquee man Luis Garcia, with youngster Matthew Fletcher promoted in his place.
Defender Jacob Poscoliero suffered a head knock from a collision with Steven Lustica moments after the Roar midfielder had entered the fray but was able to return to the field.
In more worrying news for coach Tony Walmsley, Fabio Ferreira was unable to see out the contest after picking up an injury in the first half.
THE FINAL WORD
The three points sees Brisbane move one point clear at the summit with the Wanderers needing to take something home from Etihad Stadium against Victory to regain top spot.
While many of their adversaries have grabbed the headlines in recent weeks Brisbane proved they’re capable of handling the ‘favourites’ tag and at full strength are a force to be reckoned with.
The Mariners had high hopes heading into this one having broken their away hoodoo last weekend but were guilty of giving the Roar far too much time on the ball.
Marquee Luis Garcia tried to spark their attack, carving out a couple of chances but having had Austin ruled out before kick-off it just wasn’t the Mariners day from start to finish.
Brisbane Roar: Theo (gk), Brown, North, Donachie, Hingert, Corona, McKay (c), Petratos (Lustica 68’), Maclaren, Borrello (Henrique), Broich (Hervas 77’)
Central Coast Mariners: Izzo (gk), J.Rose, Poscoliero, Roux, McGing, L.Rose (Ascroft 57’), Neill, Montgomery (c), Ferreira (McDonald 76’), Bingham, Fletcher (Garcia 46’)
Scorers: North (20’), Maclaren (36’), Corona (59’), Henrique (72’)
Red cards: Harry Ascroft (70’)
Yellow cards: Petratos (27’), Brown (46’), North (89’)
Conditions: 27°C, humid
Attendance: 11,788 @ Suncorp Stadium