Brisbane Roar’s busy week at Suncorp Stadium has ended on a high with Costa Rican striker Jean Carlo Solorzano’s first Hyundai A-League goal proving the decisive factor in a tough 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory.
The win means the Roar have collected seven points from a possible nine in the past eight days and have extended their unbeaten run at home to eight games.
Mitch Nichols opened the scoring for the home side in the 26th minute before former Brisbane young gun Robbie Kruse equalised just after the break, but it was substitute Solorzano who sealed the win with a purposeful shot inside the box with thirteen minutes remaining.
A slight reshuffle from the side that beat Central Coast Mariners midweek meant that Mitch Nichols and Matt Mundy were welcomed into the starting eleven, with Kosta Barbarouses, Jean Carlo Solorzano and Rocky Visconte making up an attack-minded bench for the Roar, alongside reserve goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.
Brisbane made their intentions known from the opening whistle, with midfield duo Massimo Murdocca and Matt McKay dominating the middle of the park early in the match.
Defender Ivan Franjic, buoyed by his mid-week goal of the season contender, looked lively on the right side, pushing forward on a number of occasions to be involved in the Brisbane attack.
The Roar-s first attempt at goal fell to Thomas Broich in the 11th minute after a well-worked sweeping movement from the backline with a quick, long-range through ball from Franjic found Murdocca in space on the right.
Murdocca then picked out Nichols on the edge of the box, who put a teasing cross into Broich but despite having time on the ball, the German-s shot flew the wrong side of the upright.
Melbourne threatened on the counter attack minutes later, Brazilian livewire Ricardinho forcing a fingertip save from Brisbane-s Michael Theoklitos and the away side failed to make the most of the resulting corner.
Brisbane continued to push forward, with Broich attacking from a well-struck free kick and Reinaldo going close after he connected with a sizzling cross from Franjic, however it was Mitch Nichols who broke the deadlock for the home side in the 26th minute.
A swinging ball from Broich into the box was flicked on by big Erik Paartalu and the unmarked Nichols was able to tap the ball home from inside the six yard box.
The Roar continued to exploit Melbourne in the air, with Paartalu and Reinaldo testing Petkovic with headed efforts just a minute apart, before creating numerous opportunities going forward through Broich and skipper McKay in the middle of the park as the half-time whistle approached.
Brisbane had an uncharacteristically sluggish start after the break and were made to pay as the Victory found an equaliser through former Roar player Robbie Kruse just three minutes in.
Receiving the ball just outside the penalty area, Kruse-s low, deceptive strike flew through the Brisbane penalty area and past Theoklitos to level the score line.
Franjic had a golden chance to regain Brisbane-s lead in the 57th minute after an angled shot from Broich took a wicked deflection, but the defender-s left food failed to properly connect with the ball and he sent it soaring over the crossbar.
Roar coach Ange Postecoglou went into action to recover Brisbane-s lead, bringing on pacy strikers Jean Carlo Solorzano and Kosta Barbarouses to place more pressure on the Victory defence.
The away side had a brief patch of dominance with Carlos Hernandez and Billy Celeski calling Theoklitos into action, but it was substitute Solorzano who netted his first goal of the Hyundai A-League campaign to give Brisbane the advantage.
Luke DeVere created the movement and showed composure on the ball as he charged towards goal and cutting inside two defenders.
The ball fell to the feet of Solorzano after a tackle in the box and the 22-year-old Costa Rican placed his shot perfectly past Petkovic to bring the enthusiastic Brisbane crowd to their feet.
Melbourne refused to give up and a glancing header from Leijer went close with five minutes left on the clock but the Victory-s best chance to draw level came through a classy back heel that drew a wonderful, last-gasp save from Theoklitos close to the final whistle.
With four minutes of stoppage time, Melbourne threw everything forward in hopes of taking something from the match meaning a nervous finale for the Brisbane players but the Roar hung on to extend their unbeaten run at home to an impressive eight games.
The win marks the end of a hectic seven days for Brisbane, and means they keep pressure on Adelaide United at the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder.
Post-match, Postecoglou said Melbourne were one of the better sides his team had faced this season and was proud of the way his players conducted themselves after a busy week.
“Full credit to the boys, we were running on empty and it was a fantastic effort,” he said.
“We-re very disappointed with the goal we conceded just after half time because we had done a lot of good work in the first half and everything was working smoothly, but that kind of knocked the wind out of us.
“It was going to take a massive effort, and it wasn-t pretty – we-ve played better this year for sure – but it was a good sign in the fact that this team is resilient and it was great to get a point against a dangerous opposition.”
Brisbane Roar (Mitch Nichols 26-, Jean Carlo Solorzano 77-)
Melbourne Victory (Robbie Kruse 48-)
Saturday, 23 October 2010
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Peter Green
Brisbane Roar line-up: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH, 3. Luke DEVERE, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 11. REINALDO (9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO 64-), 12. Matthew MUNDY, 15. Matt McKAY (c), 17. Mitchell NICHOLS (7. Kosta BARBAROUSES 64-), 22. Thomas BROICH (14. Rocky VISCONTE 83-)
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk)
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Melbourne Victory line-up: 1. Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2. Kevin MUSCAT, 3. Mate DUGANDZIC (6. Leigh BROXHAM 31-), 8. Grant BREBNER (11. Marvin ANGULO 81-), 9. RICARDINHO, 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 14. Billy CELESKI, 15. Tomislav PONDELJAK (27. Geoff KELLAWAY 81-), 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ, 21. Robbie KRUSE, 23. Adrian LEIJER
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Sebastian MATTEI (gk),
Yellow Cards: Robbie KRUSE 28-, Michael PETKOVIC 83-
Red Cards: Nil