Brisbane Roar have returned to the summit of the Hyundai A-League ladder with a stunning 3-2 win over Sydney FC at Suncorp Stadium.
The Roar were forced to defend for a majority of the second half, but first half goals to Dimitri Petratos, Jamie Maclaren and a late winner from Henrique secured the points with just two rounds of the regular season to play.
Roar Head Coach John Aloisi praised his side’s character and never-say-die attitude in an incredible final few minutes after dominating the first half.
“It was an exciting last few minutes for the supporters but also for our players because they just show that they never give up,” Aloisi said.
“They’ve been through a lot this season and they showed that they have unbelievable character and they believe in what we’re doing and our structures.
“To score straight after they just equalised, we didn’t drop our heads.”
Despite a sixth-straight finals series on the horizon, the Roar are focusing their attention on their next home fixture against Newcastle Jets next Sunday, 3 April at Suncorp Stadium (5pm QLD time KO).
To purchase your tickets for the match click here.
Aloisi said his side would not get ahead of themselves with two tough matches remaining.
“Every game is hard. We have to be up for every game and now we’ll focus on Newcastle Jets,” he said.
“That’s going to be a difficult game, they’re a hard side to play against.”
Sydney FC striker Filip Holosko stunned the home crowd after 24 minutes when the Sky Blues striker opened the scoring against the run of play.
The lead was short-lived as the Roar unlaunched an attacking barrage which saw them equalise in the 32nd minute, and then take the lead four minutes later.
Jamie Maclaren scored the go-ahead goal, his 18th of the season. The 23-year-old is now the highest scoring Australian in a Hyundai A-League season, succeeding former Central Coast Mariners talisman Daniel McBreen.
Scintillating attack turned to valiant defending in the second period as Sydney dominated possession and tettitory, but couldn’t find a way past Roar keeper Jamie Young.
Ali Abbas, who replaced captain Seb Ryall when he was forced off injured in the first half, was desperately unlucky to not find the net when his free-kick cannoned off the upright early in the second half.
Young was inspirational in goals for Brisbane. The shot-stopper pulled off a number of top-class saves. His finest denied a George Blackwood header from close range in the final minutes of the first half.
Words by AARON COOPER and JACOB CHICCO. Photos by ALBERT PEREZ and GETTY
24’: Matt Simon and Filip Holosko exchange quick passes on the edge of the area before the latter attempts to round Jade North. North’s attempted clearance rebounds off Holokso’s leg and the Sydney striker collects the ball unopposed before calmly finishing low to Jamie Young’s right. 0-1
32’: Brandon Borrello collects an errand clearance on the right side of the area and draws four Sydney defenders towards him before laying off to Dimi Petratos who thunders his shot past Sydney keeper Vedran Janjetovic. 1-1
36’: An inch-perfect cross to the back post from Dimi Petratos provides a simple tap-in for Jamie Maclaren’s 18th goal of the season. 2-1
87’: Holosko is waiting at the edge of the area as a clearing header comes his way. The striker opens up his body and fires a low left-footed shot past Young. 2-2
88’: From the kick-off Corona, Maclaren and Tommy Oar combine before the latter crosses low to the goal-mouth where Henrique taps in from point-blank range. 3-2
The Roar have already secured their position in the Hyundai A-League finals series and a win against the Jets will confirm their position in the top four and a home final to be played in front of the Brisbane faithful.
Brisbane Roar Head Coach JOHN ALOISI: “I couldn’t be more proud of the boys. They deserved the three points and they deserve the position that we’re in.
“Tonight we had to dig in in the second half because they had nothing to lose and they had to come out and take a risk.
“The boys showed good character and good fight and we ended up getting the win that we deserve.
“The way we play, we should have been two or three up at half time. We were really good in the first half and we opened them up so many times. The way we play, we can leave ourselves a little bit open at times.
“We know we’re going to concede a little bit, but seeing as in the last three home games we’ve scored 11 – that’s the positive thing.”
On the Roar’s impact players off the bench: “I think most teams would like to have impact players coming off the bench. We know that we can run over players, we’ve show that here all season that in the last 15-20 minutes we can run over teams
“That’s why the boys have got belief. It helps when you have substitutes like we have and they can make a good impact.
On Roar winger Tommy Oar: “It was great to see Tommy involved in the goal. We all know what he can do, he’s just finding his rhythm again. We know that he’s direct and can put good balls into the box. He was positive and it was a great ball in for Henrique”
On Roar midfielder Dimitri Petratos: “This is probably the best season he’s had in the A-League and I still feel that he can get better.
“When he’s positive, his first touch is forward, he gets into scoring positions, he’s a great finisher and he can score goals – we know that.
“Hopefully he finds that consistency in his game because he has a great final pass and he’s shown that, especially over the last few weeks, that he can make a big difference for us.”
Brisbane Roar midfielder DIMITRI PETRATOS: “The boys never gave up tonight. We copped a goal really late but just didn’t give up.
“We just had to defend really well and work on the break.”
Sydney FC Head Coach GRAHAM ARNOLD: “I thought we were the better team tonight, we had enough chances to win the game.
“That’s probably the story of our season
“We’ve had 10 draws this season, that’s killed us. Probably in seven of those 10 draws, we should have won. Those tight games haven’t gone our way.”
The Roar return to Suncorp Stadium next Sunday, 3 April in their final home match of the Hyundai A-League regular season against the Newcastle Jets (5pm QLD time KO). The sides have shared the points in both meetings this season and the finals-bound Roar will be favourites against Scott Miller’s Jets. For tickets click here
Hyundai A-League Round 25, Saturday 26 March at Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane Roar 3 (Petratos 32’, Maclaren 36’, Henrique 88’)
Sydney FC 2 (Holosko 24’, 87’)
Brisbane Roar FC: 5.Corey BROWN, 7.CORONA, 8.Steven LUSTICA (18.Javier HERVAS 75’), 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 13.Jade NORTH (c), 14.Daniel BOWLES, 15.James DONACHIE, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH (24.Tommy OAR 65’), 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO (10.HENRIQUE 56’)
Unused substitutes: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Shane STEFANUTTO,
Yellow cards: James DONACHIE 90’
Red cards: Nil
Sydney FC: 1.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 2.Seb RYALL (c) (22.Ali ABBAS 17’), 4.Zac ANDERSON, 5.Matt JURMAN, 13.Brandon O’NEILL,17.David CARNEY (7.Andrew HOOLE 80’), 18.Matt SIMON, 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 24.George BLACKWOOD, 27.Mickael TAVARES (10.Milos NINKOVIC 72’)
Unused substitutes: 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 20.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk),
Yellow cards: Matt SIMON 42’, Brandon O’NEILL 49’, George BLACKWOOD 69’
Red cards: Nil
Referee: Shaun Evans; Assistant Referee 1: David Walsh; Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Lindsay; Fourth Official: Alex King