It was a goal that set up this weekend’s Christmas blockbuster against Melbourne City, but Roar striker Dimitri Petratos today modestly sidestepped any suggestion he had delivered the perfect holiday present for the club’s fans.
Petratos curled a sweet left foot shot from the edge of the penalty box inside the far post to break the 85-minute scoreless deadlock against Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.
The spectacular goal was the match winner.
It gave the Roar a much-deserved three points, back-to-back wins and cemented their place in second spot, one point ahead of the revitalised Melbourne City.
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Petratos, who will play his 70th game across all competitions for the Roar if selected on Sunday, chuckled at suggestions he was Santa Claus in disguise – but conceded it was a “decent” goal.
He praised the inch-perfect pass from Thomas Broich and the clever outside overlap run the German made to put the Mariners defence in two minds and open the shooting option for the Roar’s No.23.
“I would like to thank the boys for the good build up and winning the ball,” Petratos told media representatives who greeted the Roar at Brisbane Airport this afternoon (below)
“When I came on (as a 71st minute substitute), I came on with confidence and did my job.
“(It was) not necessarily (about) me ending up scoring but trying to help the team with the build up and anyone could have got the goal.”
It was Petratos’ second goal in a season where he is thriving under the direction of Head Coach John Aloisi and the new high-tempo, passing structures the former Socceroo has introduced to the Roar’s attacking style.
“From the start of pre-season, the method was to work hard on and off the pitch. This is a new environment with the new coaching staff and that has helped the team a lot,” Petratos said.
“All the boys are buzzing.”
Petratos spoke for the entire Roar squad when he said how eager they are to get back to Suncorp Stadium after a month on the road.
“Hopefully we will get a good turnout with the fans and they will be our 12th man for the game. We’re looking forward to it,” he said.
Melbourne City have won four on the trot since their 1-1 draw with the Roar at Suncorp Stadium on 20 November. They have netted 16 goals and conceded just three.
Petratos says the Roar are well aware of the challenge ahead.
“They are a good side, we are a good side as well, we will just play our game,” he said.
“We have a whole week of training now and will just listen to what the Boss (Aloisi) says and do our job.”
Asked whether at this stage of the season there was the same winning feeling within the Roar that took them to the double in 2013-14 (when Petratos netted five goals), the often shy striker answered confidently:
“You have to have that feeling in the squad and we have that feeling,” he said.