March 9, 2013
Roar thwart Victory in A-League draw
Brisbane Roar continued to thwart Melbourne Victory and their former coach Ange Postecoglou with a 1-1 draw in an enthralling A-League encounter at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
While the defending champions were far more welcoming of their old mentor than back in round two, Postecoglou endured a frustrating second return to Brisbane as the Victory failed to end a seven-match winless run against the Roar.
Diminutive midfielder Leigh Broxham scored the first headed goal of his career, and the visitors could well have led 3-0 at halftime, but the home side finished the stronger on a patchy surface.
After a month of rain and a series of rugby union and league matches, the pitch failed to deliver the even surface the Roar are used to at home.
But it did not prevent two quality goals and an entertaining contest in which Brisbane had a 12,624-strong crowd expecting a late winner as Ben Halloran made a huge impact off the bench.
The draw left third-placed Melbourne five points behind second-placed Central Coast on the A-League table while Brisbane are out of the six, but just one point from fifth.
Melbourne had lost in their past four visits to Brisbane, including the 5-0 rout in round two when anti-Postecoglou signs and chants were the order of the day.
Despite an enterprising opening 25 minutes by the home side, Melbourne looked in control and set for the three points at 1-0 approaching the hour mark.
But a superb pass by classy midfielder Luke Brattan put Ivan Franjic in the clear down the right sideline and the winger finished brilliantly by blazing past goalkeeper Nathan Coe.
Counterpart Michael Theo had until then kept the Roar in the match with some desperate reflex saves, stopping close-range efforts by Daniel Mullen and Archie Thompson.
Theo had no way of preventing a stunning opening goal by Broxham, against the run of play in the 11th minute.
Thompson had perfectly timed and weighted a lofted cross in the box for the 169cm Broxham who leapt high onto the back of Franjic, Australian Rules style, and headed over Theo.
The Roar, with captain Thomas Broich taking a far more direct approach on goal, continued to outflank Melbourne for most of the first half but the Victory's defence was up to each foray.
While the Roar finished the better side, Postecoglou bemoaned his side's inability to grab a second goal and close out the match.
"We had two absolutely golden opportunities one on one with Michael (Theo)," he said. "That's where the game was there for the taking for us and we didn't take it."
The Victory coach was also unhappy that referee Peter Green let a dangerous Franjic challenge on left back Adama Traore in the second-half go unpunished.
Traore left the field with an ankle injury and will undergo scans, putting him in doubt for next week's Big Blue against Sydney FC.
Roar coach Mike Mulvey was delighted with Brisbane's performance and lavished praise on Theo for keeping them afloat.
"Mike made two fantastic saves and I said to him at halftime that he had kept us in that game," Mulvey said.
"It's disappointing to lose the first goal because the smallest on the field scored it. But I'm very pleased to get something out of that game."
The Roar finish the season with matches against the Mariners (away), Melbourne Heart (home) and a pivotal final battle with Sydney FC (home).
|Brisbane Roar||Melbourne Victory|
|1 Michael Theoklitos||39 Nathan Coe|
|3 Shane Stefanutto||33 Daniel Mullen|
|19 Jack Hingert||31 Scott Galloway|
|15 James Donachie||23 Adrian Leijer|
|14 Steven Lustica||5 Mark Milligan|
|18 Luke Brattan||14 Billy Celeski|
|13 Jade North||3 Adama Traore|
|5 Ivan Franjic||6 Leigh Broxham|
|9 Stefan Nijland||11 Marcos Rojas|
|7 Besart Berisha||10 Archie Thompson|
|22 Thomas Broich||32 Connor Pain|
|20 Matt Acton||Tando Velaphi 1|
|17 Mitch Nichols||Spase Dilevski 21|
|11 Ben Halloran||Jesse Makarounas 22|
|10 Henrique||Andrew Nabbout 26|
|Mitch Nichols for Steven Lustica (60)||Spase Dilevski for Adama Traore (67)|
| Henrique for Stefan Nijland (75)||Jesse Makarounas for Connor Pain (90)|
|Ben Halloran for Jack Hingert (75)|
|Luke Brattan (63)||Mark Milligan (60)|
|Ben Halloran (90)||Adrian Leijer (84)|
|Leigh Broxham (90)|
|· Squads: Brisbane Roar | Melbourne Victory|