Brisbane Roar have narrowed the gap on Hyundai A-League leaders Western Sydney Wanderers to two points with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Melbourne City in their Round 12 match at Suncorp Stadium.
It was Brisbane's third consecutive win and seventh in 12 matches, along with three draws.
The home side went into the break with a 2-0 lead courtesy of Brandon Borrello’s fifth goal of the season and an own goal from Melbourne City captain Patrick Kisnorbo.
Urged on by the 16, 435 crowd, Brisbane withstood pressure from City in the second half when the visitors reduced the margin 2-1.
But the home side locked up the three points when Henrique scored with a spectacular 45-metre strike into an open net after City's keeper Thomas Sorensen had gone forward to contest the last corner of the match. .
Player-of-the-match, Roar midfielder Corona was all class and cool-headed in midfield and was a crucial link in many of the Roar’s attacking plays.
Roar Head Coach John Aloisi described it as one of Corona' best performance for the club to date.
"Big game, big players step up and he sure did step up tonight," Aloisi said."
Aloisi said he was delighted with his side's performance, particularly in the first half, and praised the high quality of the match..
“It was an entertaining match where both teams wanted to win and we were happy to come away with the three points,” Aloisi said.
Goalscorer Borrello, who returned to the starting lineup for the first time in nearly a month, was delighted he had made the most of the latest chance given to him by Aloisi.
“It’s been great. I’ve had a couple weeks to reflect on they way the Boss wants us to play and he’s given me a chance and I thought I’ve made the most of it, it was a great team performance,” Borrello said.
Aloisi said he was happy Borrello had not dropped his head in recent weeks.
“I was really happy for him because he got his just rewards, he kept working. It was great he got on the scoresheet,” Aloisi said.
30’: Shane Stefanutto’s powerful cross into the penalty box is steered into the net by Melbourne City defender Patrick Kisnorbo. 1-0
40’: Dimitri Petratos’ through ball finds Brandon Borrello inside the box, who fires low and hard to Thomas Sorensen’s near post and too powerful fo rthe Danish keeper to stop. 2-0
49’: Bruno Fornaroli is through one-on-one after a long ball from Thomas Sorensen is flicked on by Harry Novillo and goes past Roar keeper Jamie Young to bring Melbourne City back into the contest. 2-1
90’+4: Henrique breaks clear with the ball following a Melbourne City corner and fires into the empty net from 45 metres out to seal the three points for the Roar. 3-1
We all knew that Corona was good but this was a masterclass in midfield from the Spanish ace - possibly his best game so far for the Roar.
Brisbane Roar Head Coach JOHN ALOISI: "As a team we tried to stay compact and reduce the space of the opposition and that’s something that's part of our structures. We’re just trying to improve every week and go out to win every football game and tonight was no different.
"The speed of the passing was good, we haven't had that in the last few weeks.”
On Roar winger Brandon Borrello: "That’s the reaction I wanted from Brandon. Brandon wasa little low on confidence . . . but he worked hard and didn't drop his head.
“I was really happy for him because he got his just rewards, he kept working. It was good to see him on the scoresheet. He needs to keep on going now.”
Melbourne City Head Coach JOHN VAN'T SCHIP: "After 1-0 you could see we were dropping too much, the spaces were becoming too big and that was a phase where Brisbane were stronger and pushing us backwards . . . we were not quick enough.
"We knew Brisbane would be dangerous. It was a good game, a very attractive game but we have to learn from this . . . and take the positives out of this game.
"It was a good game, it could have been a finals games because it was third against second and you could sense that both teams wanted to prove something. Tonight Brisbane clearly proved they were the winners."
The Roar return to Suncorp Stadium next week on Saturday 2 January (4:15pm KO) to face Perth Glory. Kenny Lowe’s side are coming off a positive 1-1 away draw against current Hyundai A-League Champions Melbourne Victory. For tickets to that match click here
Hyundai A-League Round 12, Sunday, 27 December at Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane Roar 3 (Kisnorbo OG 30’, Borrello 4O’, Henrique 90’)
Melbourne City 1 (Fornaroli 49’)
Half time: 2-0
Brisbane Roar FC: 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 7.CORONA, 9.Jamie MACLAREN (11.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO 86’), 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 17.Matt McKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23. Dimitri PETRATOS (18.Javier HERVAS 77’), 28. Brandon BORRELLO (10.HENRIQUE 65’)
Unused substitutes: 15.James DONACHIE, 36. Andre JANNESE (gk)
Yellow cards: Daniel BOWLES 59’, Jade NORTH 59’
Red cards: Nil
Melbourne City FC: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk), 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Erik PAARTALU, 8.Aaron MOOY, 9.Harry NOVILLO (34.Stefan ZINNI 76’), 18.Paulo RETRE (15.David WILLIAMS 79’), 19.Benjamin GARUCCIO, 21.Stefan MAUK (10.Robert KOREN 69’), 22.Jack CLISBY, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 24.Patrick KISNORBO (c)
Unused substitutes: 3.Aaron HUGHES, 20.Tando VELAPHI (gk),
Yellow cards: Harry NOVILLO 59’ Paulo RETRE 59’
Red cards: Nil
Referee: Jarred Gillett. Assistant Referee 1: Nathan MacDonald; Assistant Referee 2: Ashley Beecham Fourth Official: Alex King