There was Brisbane Roar DNA inter-twined all over last night’s pre-season friendly with Hyundai A-League Champions Melbourne Victory on the Gold Coast.
Victory marquee player Besart Berisha, still a Brisbane favourite, chatted for more than 20 minutes on the field after the match with his close friend and Roar marquee Thomas Broich.
The Victory bench included last season's Roar’s assistant coach Rado Vidosic and popular former Roar football manager Paul Trimboli.
Roar keeper Michael Theo, a former Victory player, shook the hands of many of his Melbourne friends as did the Victory’s Kosta Barbarouses with those he knew from his time in Brisbane.
And earlier in the day, Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou – a former Roar and Victory boss – had named Brisbane captain Matt McKay as one of just three Hyundai A-League players in his 23-player squad for Australia’s next round of FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
But it was possibly the most unexpected product of Roar-Victory DNA cross-over who put his footprint on the game with the deciding goal in the 71st minute at Fankhauser Reserve.
Defender Jason Geria played in the Roar Youth team before following Postecoglou from Brisbane to Melbourne. In three seasons since, the 22-year-old has played 33 Hyundai A-League games and never found the net.
But last night, Geria – a right fullback – somehow found his way to the far left post on a Victory freekick from 25m on the right after Berisha had been fouled for the second time in a handful of minutes.
The two tackles were an abrupt welcome-back message that saw tempers briefly flare and underscored the deep veins of competitiveness in both teams – no matter how much Orange you may have worn previously.
The Roar defence, which had been solid throughout despite the Victory dominating possession for periods, repelled the initial shot from Jesse Makarounas but the ball fell tantalisingly at the unmarked Geria’s feet.
His shot wasn’t powerful or well-placed, after all he is a defender, but it was on target and a slight deflection took it into the far corner of the goal and well out of the reach of Brisbane keeper Jamie Young.
See the goal by clicking here
Afterwards, both coaches agreed the result was unimportant in what was a good hit-out for both clubs with the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season start still a month away.
The Roar had an early penalty appeal turned down, Jamie Maclaren had several close sniffs and a Dimitri Petratos overhead kick from the edge of the box deserved more.
But on the other hand, Victory veteran Archie Thompson was within a bootlace of toe-poking into the net two minutes before the break as the ball rolled across the Roar goalmouth and Berisha sliced though a flat Roar defence in the 79th minute but put his shot into the side netting.
The Roar were without injured stars including Broich (foot), Luke Brattan (illness), Theo (groin), Jean Carlos Solorzano (foot), Corey Brown, (quad), Henrique (knee) and Luke DeVere (knee).
“It is pre-season and we still have key players out . . . they had their best XI out. I am very pleased with the way we performed,” Roar Head Coach John Aloisi said.
Victory Head Coach Kevin Muscat was pleased with his side’s efforts so early in the new season and praised the high-tempo Roar style that Aloisi has introduced since his move to Brisbane just two months ago.
“They were quite tight . . . (and have) some energy in that front third now. I thought it was a good hit-out played in the right spirit. It was a good game,” Muscat said.
The Roar will now continue to prepare for the remaining games on their Pre-Season Tour of South-East Queensland. They play Newcastle Jets at Redland City (Cleveland Showgrounds, Saturday, 12 September, 3pm); PS4NPLQld Under-23 All-Stars (QSAC Nathan, Saturday, 19 September, 4.30pm) and Central Coast Mariners (Sunshine Coast Stadium, Saturday, 26 September, 7pm).
Ticketing information for those games will be announced soon.
Brisbane Roar FC v Melbourne Victory FC, Pre-Season, Wednesday, 19 August 2015, Fankhauser Reserve, Southport
Brisbane Roar FC 0
Melbourne Victory FC 1 (Jason GERIA 71’)
Brisbane Roar FC: 3.Shane STEFANUTTO (19.Jack HINGERT 50’), 6.Jerome POLENZ (Triallist Mark RODIC 82’), 8.Steven LUSTICA (27.Mitchell HORE 60’), 9.Jamie MACLAREN (26.Nick D'AGOSTINO 64’), 13.Jade NORTH, 15.James DONACHIE (14.Daniel BOWLES 46’), 16 Devante CLUT (40.Abrahim YANGO 46’), 17.Matt McKAY (c), 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO (20.Shannon BRADY 60’).
Substitute not used: 36. Denver CRICKMORE (gk),
Yellow cards: Nil; Red cards: Nil
Melbourne Victory FC : 2.Jason GERIA, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI(c) , 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS (23.Kieran DOVER 75’).
Substitutes half-time: ON - 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 11.Connor PAIN, 18.Dylan MURNAME. OFF - 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 19.George HOWARD.
Substitutes not used: 7. Guilherme FINKLER, 30.Lucas SPINELLA (gk)
Yellow cards: MAHAZI 25'; Red cards: NilReferee: Alan Milliner