Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC have played out an entertaining Hyundai A-League Round 7 clash in front of a tremendous crowd at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Two of the competition’s top sides battled out a 1-1 draw in front of 17,322 supporters at Suncorp Stadium, extending the Roar’s unbeaten run to five matches.
Head Coach John Aloisi was disappointed with his side's opening 45 minutes but has praised his squad for fighting back in the second period in the Roar's first match in Maroon.
"We were poor in the first half but we did well to fight back in the second half," Aloisi said.
"Brisbane Roar are orange but we are a team that represents Queensland. The crowd definitely gave us a lift in the second half and we came out fighting in true Queensland spirit."
An impeccably-placed strike from Thomas Kristensen restored parity for the Roar shortly before break, cancelling out Josh Brillante’s early opener.
The result extends the undefeated streak at Suncorp Stadium to 11 matches.
The visitors started the better of the two sides, pressuring the Roar defence into a number of uncharacteristic mistakes deep in their own half. The Roar looked to control possession but struggled to break down the Sky Blues’ set-up behind the ball as possession rarely escaped the home side’s half.
Brisbane were made to pay for a turnover close to goal as Josh Brillante opened the scoring after 13 minutes with a long-range strike, his first ever Hyundai A-League goal.
Thomas Kristensen was the first to threaten Danny Vukovic’s goal with a sweetly-struck volley from the top of the area forcing a tip over the bar from the Sydney keeper
Kristensen then sent Suncorp Stadium into raptures, delicately chesting Tommy Oar’s long ball down before steering a shot without the outside of his right boot into the bottom corner.
The second half turned into a thrilling end-to-end encounter as both sides created a number of solid chances in search of a go-ahead goal.
The Roar finished strongly, making a number of entries into Sydney’s penalty area and utilising the fresh legs of Jamie Maclaren who entered the match as a second-half substitute.
Brisbane’s back four were placed under substantial pressure throughout the second period, but remained resolute. Keeper Michael Theo made a number of crucial saves, halting two one-on-one situations with Bobo and Alex Brosque in the first half as well as blocking out a number of goal-bound efforts in the second half.
Aloisi commended the performance of his shot-stopper as well as the impact of returning striker Maclaren.
"Michael Theo was good for us. He kept us in it and helped us keep a point against a very good Sydney FC side," Aloisi said.
"The introduction of Maclaren at half time made a big difference in the second half. He was able to stretch their defence against with runs in behind."
Manuel Arana (below) played the final 30 minutes in his second appearance at Suncorp Stadium and looked dangerous in attack, creating terrific opportunities for both himself and Brett Holman late in the second period.
13’: Roar concede possession in their own half and Sydney look to pounce. The ball falls to Brillante 20m from goal who fires into the top corner with his second touch. 0-1
40’: Tommy Oar’s cross finds Thomas Kristensen at the back post. The Danish international chests the ball down before superbly finding the bottom right corner with the outside of his right boot. 1-1
Man of the Match
Roar keeper MICHAEL THEO was awarded NAB Man of the Match and received $500 courtesy of NAB for an incredible performance in between the posts, making a number of vital saves
“I’ve been happy with the way we’ve started the season," Theo said.
“At times tonight we overplayed but Sydney pressed us well and we made a few mistakes, but we stayed in there. TK [Thomas Kristensen] (above) scored a great goal and we got a point out of it. I think a draw is a fair result in the end.
“If you make a few good saves early on it helps. I’ve got a great team to work with at Brisbane and hopefully we can keep on improving.”
The Roar now face consecutive interstate trips, firstly to face Western Sydney Wanderers at Spotless Stadium on Friday, 25 November (6:50pm KO Qld time) before travelling further south to AAMI Park to play Melbourne City on Saturday, 3 December (6:50pm KO Qld time).
Hyundai A-League Round 7, Brisbane Roar FC v Sydney FC, Saturday, 19 November, 2016 at Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Kristensen 40’)
Sydney FC 1 (Brillante 13’)
Brisbane Roar FC: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Luke DEVERE, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN (9.Jamie MACLAREN 46’), 10.Brett HOLMAN (below), 11.Tommy OAR, 13.Jade NORTH, 17.Matt MCKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS (15.ARANA 60’)
Unused substitutes: 4.Daniel BOWLES, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk)
Yellow cards: Jack HINGERT 42’, Michael THEO 43’, Jade NORTH 53’
Red cards: Nil
Sydney FC: 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6.Joshua BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 9.BOBÔ (18.Matt SIMON 65’), 10.Milos NINKOVIC (11.Bernie IBINI 80’), 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO (17.David CARNEY 70’), 23.Rhyan GRANT
Unused substitutes: 22.Sebastian RYALL, 30.Mitchell EVANS (gk)
Yellow cards: Michael Zullo 45’, Joshua BRILLANTE 76’, Rhyan GRANT 77’
Red cards: Nil
Referee: Alan Milliner; Assistant Referee 1: Ryan Gallagher; Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Linsday; Fourth Official: Kurt Ams