Brisbane claim M1 Derby honours

Brisbane Roar have kicked off the Hyundai A-League Rivalry Round by emphatically beating closest rivals Gold Coast United 3-0 in the highly-anticipated M1 Derby.

Brisbane Roar have kicked off the Hyundai A-League Rivalry Round by emphatically beating closest rivals Gold Coast United 3-0 in the highly-anticipated M1 Derby.

Erik Paartalu, Besart Berisha and Mitch Nichols rounded out the score line while goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos played his part in keeping his third clean sheet of the campaign.

The lead-up to the match predicted an intense and hard-fought fixture and the fans in attendance at Suncorp Stadium did not leave disappointed.

The home side welcomed Henrique back into the starting eleven for the first time this season at the expense of James Meyer, who was left out of the squad altogether - the Brazilian winger wasting no time at all getting himself amongst the thick of the action, winning his side a free-kick four minutes after the opening whistle.

German midfielder Thomas Broich floated a cross towards the mass of heads inside the penalty area with Roar captain Matt Smith-s connection flying just high of the cross bar.

Brisbane were dictating play in the midfield area but goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos was also displaying his worth, his strong hands matching the forceful shot from Adama Traore.

Another Broich set piece drew dividends on the 14 minute mark when unsteady Gold Coast defending gifted Erik Paartalu a simple header near the far post, their overwhelming possession making the Roar deserved early leaders.

It was the 25-year-old-s second consecutive goal against their M1 rivals with Paartalu scoring the second in Brisbane-s win in the final home match last season - a volley which eventually won him Hyundai A-League Goal of the Year gong.

Miron Bleiberg-s side were not content to sit back and let Brisbane command play and had two close chances to level the scores, Dylan Macallister sending a powerful header off the upright before Ben Halloran sent his long-range strike half a yard the wrong side of the same post.

Gold Coast were soon leading the shot count after debutant Maceo Righters forced a diving save from Theoklitos which prompted another Brisbane attack - this time Besart Berisha-s darting run to the near post wasn-t enough to send an Ivan Franjic cross into the back of the net.

While an injury to Dylan McGowan threatened to derail the high-tempo nature of the fixture, Brisbane clung on and headed into the half-time break with a marginal lead.

Brisbane Roar Head Coach Ange Postecoglou introduced fresh legs early in the second half, Massimo Murdocca and Kofi Danning replacing Issey Nakajma-Farran and Henrique just before the hour mark.

His move proved inspired with Murdocca-s defence-splitting ball four minutes after entering the field of play providing Berisha with the perfect opportunity to score his second goal in as many games.

The Albanian international rounded Gold Coast gloveman Glen Moss with ease to calmly slot the ball into the back of the net, much to the delight of his hard-working teammates who celebrated the goal wholeheartedly with their newest striker, making just his third appearance in orange.

Berisha almost turned provider ten minutes later, defying the offside trap to latch onto a well-timed pass from Shane Stefanutto, but his final cross towards Danning was too heavy and the substitute failed to connect with the ball as it sprayed across the face of goal.

The Roar continued with their plan of attack and soon found themselves with a three goal advantage, thanks to in-form midfielder Mitch Nichols.

Goal scorer Berisha took advantage of some sloppy Gold Coast defending and despite snatching the ball with his back to goal, laid off the perfect pass for Nichols to send a thunderous strike past Moss for Brisbane-s third of the night.

A stoppage time screamer from Paartalu, before a rare strike from Murdocca, nearly replicated the 4-0 score line from the last time these two sides met back in February but referee Peter Green soon blew his whistle to draw to a close to the exciting and fast-paced encounter between the two south-east Queensland sides.

Postecoglou was pleased with the result of the round three fixture but admitted there was much room for improvement in the performance of his side.

“They made it hard for us, credit to them, they worked hard early on to try and shut us down from playing,” he said.

“We really struggled to find our rhythm most of the night in terms of our play so from that point of view, it wasn-t a great performance in terms of the standards we set.

“There-s still stuff there for us to work on but I guess what has shown over the first three weeks is that the teams that stop us are going to work really, really hard and they have to go for 90 minutes because we certainly will”.

Brisbane Roar (Erik PAARTALU 14-, Besart BERISA 63-, Mitch NICHOLS 78-) Gold Coast United Friday, 21 October 2011 Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Referee: Peter Green Crowd: 13, 425

Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (GK), 2. Matt SMITH (c) (16. Mohamed ADNAN 81-), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 4. Matt JURMAN, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Besart BERISHA, 10. HENRIQUE (9. Kofi DANNING 59-), 11. Issey NAKAJIMA-FARRAN (8. Massimo MURDOCCA 59-), 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 22. Thomas BROICH

Substitutes not used: 30. Matthew ACTON (GK)

Yellow cards: Nil

Red cards: Nil

Gold Coast United: 1. Glen MOSS (gk), 2. Josh BRILLANTE, 3. Michael THWAITE (c), 6. Paul BEEKMANS, 12. Dylan MACALLISTER, 14. Ben HALLORAN 15. Adama TRAORE, 16. Maceo RIGHTERS (8. ROBSON 71-), 18. James BROWN, 22. Peter JUNGSCHLAGER, 23. Dylan MCGOWAN (5. Kristian REES 45-)

Substitutes not used: 9. Joel PORTER, 20. Jerrad TYSON (gk)

Yellow cards: Paul BEEKMANS 17-, Dylan MACALLISTER 52-, Adama TRAORE 75-

Red cards: Nil