Win sets scene for blockbuster finals showdown


Brisbane Roar has set up a blockbuster finals showdown with Sydney FC at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday courtesy of a confident 2-0 win over Melbourne Heart.

Brisbane Roar has set up a blockbuster finals showdown with Sydney FC at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday courtesy of a confident 2-0 win over Melbourne Heart.

Needing a win to keep the calculations of finals football in their own hands Brisbane stepped up to the mark, particularly in a classic Roar first half performance.

The win pushed Brisbane up to fifth spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder, ahead of Sydney on goal difference, and leaves the side with the knowledge three points against their old rivals from south of the border will guarantee a chance to defend their crown.

Playing their 100th home game at Suncorp Stadium, the Roar dominated proceedings all over the park with first half goals from Besart Berisha and Thomas Broich enough to secure the vital points.

It was all Brisbane in the opening half and the home side raced out to their 2-0 lead inside the first half an hour of play.

In the 11th minute, a push in the back from Sam Mitchinson saw Ivan Franjic fall inside the area with referee Matt Gillett seeing enough contact to award a spot kick.

Albanian striker Besart Berisha shouldered the responsibility and struck the ball past former Roar goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne to notch up Brisbane’s first and his 13th goal of the 2012/13 campaign.

German playmaker and stand-in captain Thomas Broich stole the show 20 minutes later, unleashing a thunderbolt from 25 metres out that sent the Roar faithful into raptures around Suncorp Stadium.

Mike Mulvey’s men tried to pick up where they left off when they returned to the pitch for the second half as the Heart defence made it all too easy for the current Hyundai A-League Champions.

A clever through ball from Mitch Nichols in the 58th minute found Steven Lustica in space inside the penalty area but the midfielder blazed his shot over before Luke Brattan went close to a maiden Hyundai A-League goal with a long-range effort that flew wide of the post moments later.

Substitute Stef Nijland went agonisingly close to Brisbane’s third but his powerful, curling strike bounced off the inside of the post to Redmayne’s left and away to safety.

The result was a deserved reward for a strong performance from Mulvey’s side who kept Melbourne Heart almost chance-less throughout the 90 minutes.

Brisbane host sixth-placed Sydney FC in their final match of the season on Thursday night with the Roar coach asking for a more complete performance against the Sky Blues.

“I’ll take that first half performance any day of the week,” Mulvey said.

“I can’t give them enough praise for that first half performance, they were really good to watch, they created chances and our movement was good.

“We talked about the second half about not becoming complacent and while we didn’t, we just stopped doing the things we did well in the first half.”

Brisbane Roar 2 (Besart BERISHA 12′(p), Thomas BROICH 31′)
Melbourne Heart
Sunday, 24 March 2013 at 4pm
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Matt Gillett
Crowd: 9,869

Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO (gk), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 7. Besart BERISHA, 14. Steven LUSTICA (10. HENRIQUE 78′), 15. James DONACHIE, 17. Mitch NICHOLS (9. Stefan NIJLAND 63′), 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Jack HINGERT (11. Ben HALLORAN 90+1′, 22. Thomas BROICH (c), 26. Corey BROWN

Substitutes not used: 20. Matthew ACTON (gk)

Yellow cards: Luke BRATTAN 70′

Red cards: Nil

Melbourne Heart: 8. Matt THOMPSON, 10. Josip TADIC (9. Dylan MACALLISTER 69′), 11. Richard GARCIA, 14. Golgol MEBRATHU (36. Eli BABALJ 62′), 15. David WILLIAMS, 16. Marcel MEEUWIS, 18. David VRANKOVIC, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 21. Jamie COYNE, 24. Sam MITCHINSON, 25. Jeremy WALKER

Substitutes not used: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 17. Jason HOFFMAN

Yellow cards: Marcel MEEUWIS 14′, David WILLIAMS 36′, Jamie COYNE 36′

Red cards: Nil