Brisbane Roar can thank goalkeeper Michael Theo for becoming the first team to hold unbeaten league leaders Sydney FC this season.
After Roar went 1-0 down in the 13th minute of Saturday night’s clash at Suncorp Stadium, Theo rose to the occasion and produced a number of crucial saves, including one in the final minute of added time to deny Sydney substitute Bernie Ibini.
Ibini had sprinted free from Brisbane’s Corey Brown after the ball was lobbed into Sydney’s vacant attacking half, with Theo coming out of his box to meet the challenge, chesting the ball away and sealing a point for his side.
“Obviously the natural instinct of the goalkeeper is to use your hands, but I knew I was outside my box and I just had to stay big,” Theo told Fox Sports post-match.
“We were pretty high, we didn’t have anyone at the halfway line, so Corey had to sprint back and obviously Bernie got through, but fortunately for me I got something on to it and kept it out.
“I think a draw was fair result in the end.”
Theo pulled off terrific saves to deny Sky Blues Bobo and Alex Brosque after the Roar defence twice turned the ball over deep in their defensive half.
“At times we overplayed, but credit where credit’s due,” Theo said. “Sydney pressed us well and obviously we made a few mistakes playing out and we almost conceded a goal, but we didn’t and we kept in there.”
Theo was kept busy in the second half, leaping high to snuff out a free kick from Brandon O’Neill before being called into action twice in as many minutes just past the hour mark to stave off challenges from Brosque and Milos Ninkovic.
The 35-year-old was named man-of-the-match for his goalkeeping heroics, just a week after making a costly blunder against Adelaide United.
“I think that’s the life of a goalkeeper, we make mistakes in goal,” Theo said.
“It was just unfortunate, the ball skidded up on me and went in. In saying that, I’ve been happy with the way we’ve started (the season), It’s a team game.
“Obviously today I played well and hopefully that made up for it.”