A never-say-die Brisbane Roar has completed an incredible comeback in a high-scoring classic against Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Saturday evening.
In what was an early contender for Game of the Season, a brave Roar outfit came from three goals down early in the first-half to take a point from an enthralling encounter with the Phoenix.
In fact, the Roar was desperately unlucky to not take all three points after completely dominating the second-half and having a shot hit the post in the dying stages.
The visitors showed incredible character in a united and committed performance, particularly in the second-half in which they made all the running.
A proud Head Coach John Aloisi was impressed with his side's resilience and will to keep playing the Brisbane Roar way regardless of the scoreline.
“The boys showed great character, great resilience and played some great football which is what this team is about," Aloisi said.
"We feel like this result can kick-start our season. To come from 3-0 down shows that we are a quality side.
“There are things that we can do better defensively, but in saying that, they hardly went in our half in the second-half and that’s a credit to the way the boys defended as a unit.
Brisbane were on the wrong side of a 3-0 scoreline after 20 minutes with Andrija Kaludjerovic finding the back of the net either side of a long-range strike from Roy Krishna.
The Roar dominated first-half possession but had difficulty carving clear-cut opportunities before Massimo Maccarone sliced the deficit to two goals in the shadows of half-time.
Tunisian Fahid Ben Khalfallah was brilliant in midfield and he stamped his authority on the match after half-time, playing a key role in Brisbane's incredible comeback.
The Roar made all the running after the break and set up a grandstand finish when Ben Khalfallah's parried free-kick found its way to Avram Papadopoulos who slotted his first Hyundai A-League goal.
Brisbane was back on level terms when Maccarone completed his brace from the penalty spot inside the final 10 minutes. Despite finishing with a flurry, the Roar were unable to find what would have been an incredible late winner.
In his first start for Brisbane Roar, Mitchell Oxborrow was strong in midfield while defender Dane Ingham nullified the threat of Fijian Roy Krishna and caused the Phoenix attacker headaches going forward after coming off the bench.
STORY OF THE GAME
- The Phoenix were three goals up inside 20 minutes with an early goal for Andrija Kaludjerovic, who then scored his second minutes after Roy Krishna netted a long-range screamer.
- Massimo Maccarone gave his side a boost just before half-time, poking home from point-blank range to make the score 3-1 at half-time.
- The Roar dominated the second-half and created the better chances of the period, netting two of those chances.
- Fahid Ben Khalfallah's close-range strike in the shadows of full-time was deflected against the upright before Eric Bautheac's follow-up went agonisingly wide.
- It was only the sixth time in Hyundai A-League history that a side has been on the wrong side of a 3-0 deficit and gone on to draw or win.
Wellington Phoenix - Kaludjerovic 2' - 1-0
Dario Vidosic floats a cross from the left wing which Andrija Kaludjerovic latches on to with a looping header that dips in under the crossbar.
Wellington Phoenix - Krishna 18' - 2-0
Roy Krishna receives the ball outside the area before shaping to shoot and firing a powerful shot into the back of the net.
Wellington Phoenix - Kaludjerovic 20' - 3-0
Krishna slides a low ball across the face of goal and Kaludjerovic is there to tap the ball home at the back post.
Brisbane Roar - Maccarone 45' - 3-1
Jack Hingert plays a delightful ball into the area and Brett Holman's original header is saved by Keegan Smith before Massimo Maccarone belts the follow-up into the net.
Brisbane Roar - Papadopoulos 66' - 3-2
Fahid Ben Khalfallah fires a free-kick at the near post which Smith is able to get a palm to, but Avram Papadopoulos pokes home the rebound for his first Hyundai A-League goal.
Brisbane Roar - Maccarone 82' - 3-3
Eric Bautheac cuts back for Papadopoulos who is brought down in the area and Jared Gillett points to the spot. Maccarone makes no mistake from the penalty spot to level the scoreline.
Hyundai A-League 2017/18: Round 4 - Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar
Saturday, 28 October
Wellington Phoenix 3 (Kaludjerovic 2', 20', Krishna 18')
Brisbane Roar 3 (Maccarone 45', 82', Papadopoulos 66')