Hemed, Mebrahtu strike as Phoenix and Roar draw in Newcastle
A late equalising goal from substitute Golgol Mebrahtu helped Brisbane Roar snatch a point in a 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Phoenix hit the woodwork early in the opening 45 through a long-range Reno Piscopo shot, before taking the lead on 42 minutes thanks to Tomer Hemed's calmly-taken strike - the Israeli's second goal in as many games.
Wellington's slender advantage lasted to the 86th minute before Mebrahtu levelled the scores with an instant impact off the bench. The 30-year-old, who had entered the contest two minutes prior, latched onto a whipped cross off the left flank by Macaulay Gillesphey with a diving header which diverted the ball into the back of the net.
The Phoenix made a strong finish to the game, looking to take back their advantage kept for a large majority of the second half. Then a second yellow card to Gillesphey for dragging down Jaushua Sotirio in a dangerous position in second-half stoppage time reduced Brisbane to ten men for the remainder of the game.
With just minutes left on the clock the Phoenix looked to make the most of their one-man advantage.
One final Wellington attacking foray led to Brisbane defender Tom Aldred's attempted clearance striking the arm of teammate Riku Danzaki in the box. Passionate pleas for a penalty ensued from the Phoenix players but no such decision ensued, as time ran out with the scores locked at 1-1.
Wellington looked to have taken the lead when a strike from Ulises Dávila in the 26th minute of play found its way into the back of the net off a deflection from David Ball.
But the early goal was quickly ruled out, due to the shot hitting Ball's hand on its way past Roar 'keeper Jamie Young.
After one Wellington striker saw his goal ruled out, another came to the fore to put the Phoenix ahead.
James McGarry played the initial ball into Hemed off the left flank to spark the chance, and Aldred's clearance lacked power as it dropped right into the path of the Phoenix forward.
Hemed took one touch into the box, waited for the ball to drop on the bounce and slid it past Young into the bottom right corner.
Dávila went close to making it two on the verge of half-time with a vicious curling free-kick struck from a central position just outside Brisbane's penalty area.
Young stood and watched as the ball whizzed past his post, and the two sides ventured into half-time with Wellington holding a one-goal lead.
Brisbane forward Dylan Wenzel-Halls took five shots throughout the contest, and went close to drawing his side level with a curling attempt which faded off target in the 64th minute of play.
Jay O'Shea found Wenzel-Halls in space with an inventive pass which allowed the Roar attacker to drive at the box and shoot off his left, but failed to trouble Oliver Sail in goal for the Phoenix.
Heading into the final five minutes of play with a 1-0 deficit, Roar boss Warren Moon called Mebrahtu off his bench to great effect.
Mebrahtu emerged as a substitute in the 84th minute, and by the 86th he had his first goal in Roar colours. Gillesphey sparked the chance with an invasive cross off the left wing after Corey Brown's well-timed tackle on Sotirio. Mebrahtu raced to the back post and leapt at the ball to send the ball past Sail, sealing a point for the visitors late in the show.
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