Friday, 28 March 2014


Despite poor weather in the lead up to the match and the resting of last week's match winner Luke Brattan, Brisbane Roar turned in an gritty hard fought display to win 2-1 as they continue building momentum ahead of the A-League finals.

The Heart applied the blowtorch early and adopted a “nothing to lose but everything to gain” approach as they begin making their “Mad Monday” costume selections.

They were awfully unlucky not to pull the newly crowned Premiers' pants down with an early penalty, only to be denied due to an offside ruling from the sideline official.

Michael Theo’s 16-yard box was busy early with plenty of opposition attention being cast his way. There was none better than when star striker David Williams found space from a fumbling Matt Smith turnover however his poorly executed attempt was sadly off target.

The small but willing contingent of travelling Heart fans didn’t have to wait too long as Aziz Behich punched home a beautifully laid off ball by Mate Duganzic after some fine lead up work by former Roar stalwart Massimo Murdocca to take the lead and the volume from the Roar supporters Den.

Roar’s tight possession took sometime to click into gear with the normally finely tuned passing style a little below par of previous weeks. They seemed to miss the tradesman like runs and endless work rate of Shane Steffanutto who was marked down on the subs bench for the evening.

The momentum eventually shifted back Brisbane's way on the back of a running and passing master class overseen by Thomas Broich.

It ended with Roar Captain Matt Smith finding Dimitri Petratos who eventually slotted home the equaliser past replacement keeper Tando Valaphi for his fifth goal and his very first at Suncorp Stadium.

Besart Berisha was looking dangerous with every touch on his welcome return back to the starting side following a brief stint in the FFA’s naughty chair. If we could only have predicted what was to happen next.

Mike Mulvey didn’t take long to call on the fourth official to announce experienced defender Jade North would make way for the youthful enthusiasm and brawn of James Donachie.

All appeared to be going along swimmingly until the game suddenly ignited plenty of feeling following an unfortunate challenge by Besart Berisha on Heart keeper Velaphi.

Referee Chris Beath judged that Berisha’s challenge warranted an immediate send off and duly flashed the red card in his direction.

It will be a nervous wait for the Albanian who looks certain to sit out at least a one match ban for his second straight and third send off of the season overall.

With the benefit of the replay it did appear that Berisha collected the entire ball first in his attempt on goal, but his boot awkwardly rolled up to catch Velaphi square in the face. Thankfully he was to his feet quickly and continued between the posts.

A teary and distraught Berisha finally made an emotional exit up the players tunnel to the dressing room to await his future.

Surprisingly the Roar’s defence gelled and lifted in intensity after Breisha’s exit and with that came renewed confidence in a blossoming attack that clearly lacked in numbers.

As the 70th minute ticked over Mulvey decided to unleash his secret attacking weapon in the form of the tiny but agile Henrique who replaced a battle wearied Liam Miller.

Henrique’s impact was almost immediate as Brisbane’s “Slippery Fish” made a determined salmon like run into space which eventually culminated with a pin point strike leaving the keeper left with no option but to watch the ball into the caressing arms of the nylon netting.

Mike Mulvey’s disappoiment was evident post match at the decision by the referee Chris Beath to award a red card to Berisha.

“I think it was the wrong decision.” He’s made contact with the ball; he’s at full stretch. What’s he supposed to do?”
“We’ll appeal this (Red Card), in fact I don’t think we’ll need to appeal this, as they (FFA) will have a look at this and say that this is not the right decision.” 
Mulvey conceded that his players:

“Weren’t at the races in the first-half.” “The second half however was a credit to the players we looked brighter and more incisive, composed and that was everything we weren’t in the first-half.”

For the Heart’s coach John van't Schip he was a little more philosophical in his assessment, ruing his side’s early missed opportunities and chances, but conceded that their tilt at the finals is over for this season.

Brisbane Roar: 1.Michael THEO (GK), 2.Matthew SMITH (c), 7.Besart BERISHA, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 11.Liam MILLER, 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Diogo FERRIERA, 17.Matt McKAY, 19.Jack HINGERT, 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS

Subs: 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 10. HENRIQUE, 15.James DONACHIE, 16.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 20.Matthew ACTON (GK),

Melbourne Heart: 3.Robbie WIELAERT (C), 4.Orlando ENGELAAR, 7.Iain RAMSAY, 8.Massimo MURDOCCA, 15.David WILLIAMS, 16. Aziz BEHICH, 17.Jason HOFFMAN, 19.Benjamin GARUCCIO, 20.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 23.Mate DUGANDZIC, 24.Patrick KISNORBO

Subs: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 6.Patrick GERHARDT, 21.Stefan MAUK, 22.Nicholas KALMAR, 28. Paulo RETRE

The Football Sack - "Grabbing the A-League by the Balls" 

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