Brisbane Roar came from behind thanks to a second half goal from Luke Ivanovic to draw 1-1 against Melbourne Victory in their pre-season friendly match on Sunday.
Head Coach Warren Moon said the match was a great opportunity as the team prepares for their Australia Cup semi-final clash against Sydney United 58 FC.
“It was a great hit out to have leading into the match this Sunday against Sydney, who’s going to be tough opposition,” Moon said.
“We had a massive result in the middle of last week against Adelaide, so the priority was to recover the bulk of the squad who played in that game.
“Overall, I’m pleased with what we got out of the match including minutes for key players and no injuries so all in all, it was a successful afternoon’s work,” he added.
Melbourne Victory put the pressure on the home side early on at AJ Kelly Park, taking the lead through Nicholas D’Agostino after he pounced on Stefan Nigro’s cross at the 15-minute mark.
Roar were able to keep their opponents at bay as Victory entered halftime with a 1-0 lead.
Not long into the second half, defender Jack Hingert was pushed in the 18-yard area and awarded the penalty by the referee.
Ivanovic had no trouble converting it from the spot to level things up as Roar pushed for a result.
With the match all tied up, both Roar and Victory made several changes to their sides, with Moon bringing on goalkeeper Macklin Freke, defender Kai Trewin, midfielders James O’Shea, Riku Danzaki and Louis Zabala and forwards Nikola Mileusnic and Charlie Austin.
Former Queens Park Rangers forward Austin quickly made an impact after entering the pitch, forcing Paul Izzo into action to block his shot.
Victory, also looking for a winner, saw Chris Ikonomidis pounce on a ball inside the penalty with Freke making a fine stop.
As full time drew closer, Roar would have the final chance of the match as Henry Hore was brought down inside the penalty area. Austin stepped up to the spot, but his effort was saved by Victory goalkeeper Matt Acton.
With the match ending with a draw, Moon said the match provided the opportunity to blood more Academy players including the likes of Tom Waddingham, who got his first senior starting XI.
“I was really pleased with what the team produced. Melbourne Victory is one of the biggest clubs in Australia and a side full of talent, so we knew that it was going to be a difficult test for us,”
“They kept us in the game for the first 60 minutes against a strong Victory side so that was the most pleasing thing for me and then when we made the changes in the second half, we got a glimpse of sort of what our strongest can look like,” Moon added.
Brisbane Roar will continue preparations for their Australia Cup semi-final match against Sydney United 58 FC on Sunday 11 September from 2pm AEST at Sydney United Sports Center.
Brisbane Roar 1 (Ivanovic 57’) v Melbourne Victory (D’Agostino 15’)
AJ Kelly Park