Roar down Mariners 2-0 in A-League semi

March 31, 2012
By Jim Morton

A-League champions Brisbane Roar put a down payment on another home grand final with a 2-0 major semi-final defeat of minor premiers Central Coast on Saturday night.

German maestro Thomas Broich returned to his best for the Roar in his 50th appearance as Brisbane dominated possession and richly deserved the victory in the first of a two-legged play-off.

A win, draw or one-goal loss next Sunday in Gosford will mean the Roar host a second straight title decider at Suncorp Stadium on April 22.

Only Henrique's early goal separated the competition's top teams until the 86th minute when Broich mesmerised three defenders before laying off for a blazing strike by Erik Paartalu to the delight of a 15,081-strong crowd.

The Mariners will find the going tough enough at home next weekend but could have easily been left with more work to do if not for some better finishing by Brisbane.

Mitch Nichols and Paartalu both narrowly missed golden chances late before the tall midfielder found the back of the net.

Broich, finding some rhythm after overcoming recent shoulder and heel injuries, was particularly prominent in the final 20 minutes as the home side quelled a second-half uprising by Central Coast.

The Mariners started with lanky youngsters Bernie Ibini and Tomas Rogic in attack but the move backfired as they failed to hold possession in a pulsating opening.

Instead it was a hugely-relieved Henrique who put the Roar ahead in just the eighth minute.

The Brazilian was in the thick of the early action as he won a penalty when Josh Rose brought him down in the box and also copped a yellow card in turn.

Henrique failed to convert the spot kick as Matt Ryan lunged to his left but his disappointment lasted less than a minute as he scored off the resulting corner following a Matt Smith header.

The devout striker ripped off his shirt in celebration to show off a tattoo across his shoulders "With God nothing is impossible" but was then booked for his sins.

Brisbane continued to dominate but couldn't convert a host of chances, as Ryan consistently came to the Mariners' rescue.

Bahraini defender Mohamed Adnan bravely completely the match despite being troubled by a knee injury which saw Matt Jurman warm-up at halftime.