A second half own goal has handed Brisbane Roar a narrow 1-0 loss against Melbourne Victory tonight at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne.
Roar defender Jade North’s unlucky touch after Besart Berisha headed down a free kick from Fahid Ben Khalfallah – one of many set pieces that tested the Brisbane defence - was the only difference in the Round 7 fixture.
It was a testy opening at Etihad Stadium with referee Chris Beath forced to hand out four yellow cards in the first 45 minutes as both sides tried to flex their muscles in the midfield battle.
Brisbane were forced into an early substitution with experienced left-back Shane Stefanutto leaving the field with injury in the 17th minute, replaced by James Donachie who was fresh from Olyroos duty during the week.
Roar goalkeeper Jamie Young was called into action in the 23rd minute, his outstretched left leg denying Besart Berisha the opening goal, before Leigh Broxham had an another chance for the home side with a header from a Gui Finkler corner on the half hour mark.
Chances for Mike Mulvey’s men were few and far between after the half-time break with Victory looking particularly dangerous from corners and free kicks.
In the 65th minute, Gui Finkler teed up Khalfallah to have a shot from distance which was deflected off Matt McKay before the Tunisian then picked out Broxham for another off-target header ten minutes later.
It was from a set piece that Brisbane conceded the match’s only goal in the 77th minute,with Khalfallah again involved – a well-placed free kick headed down by Berisha with the final touch coming off North close to goal.
Young made two great saves in the match’s dying stages, denying Broxham from close range and showing composure to stop Khalfallah what was a sure goal in a one-on-one situation.
Substitute Steve Lustica showed technique with a superb volley in stoppage time but the home side held on to take all three points.
Brisbane now face in-form Perth Glory next Saturday, 29 November at Suncorp Stadium, hoping to notch their second win of the 2014/15 campaign.
Melbourne Victory 1 (own goal 77’)
Brisbane Roar 0
Hyundai A-League Round 7 2014/15 season
Friday, 21 November at Etihad Stadium
Referee: Chris Beath
Melbourne Victory: 1. Nathan COE (gk), 5. Mark MILLIGAN (c), 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 7. Gui FINKLER (11. Connor PAIN 66’), 8. Besart BERISHA, 10. Archie THOMPSON (9. Kosta BARBAROUSES 58’), 14. Fahid Ben KHALFALLAH, 15. Daniel GEOFIEVSKI, 21. Carl VALERI (16. Rashid MAHAZI 85’), 23. Adrian LEIJER, 24. Scott GALLOWAY
Substitutes: 20. Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 22. Jesse MAKAROUNAS
Yellow cards: Carl VALERI 11’, Mark MILLIGAN 35’
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar: 2. Matthew SMITH (c), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO (15. James DONACHIE 17’), 10. HENRIQUE, 13. Jade NORTH, 14. Daniel BOWLES, 17. Matt McKAY (8. Steven LUSTICA 81’), 18. Luke BRATTAN, 21. Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Dimitri PETRATOS, 28. Brandon BORRELLO (7. Mensur KURTISHI 62’)
Substitutes not used: 30. Matthew ACTON (gk), 34. Shannon BRADY
Yellow cards: Matt McKAY 29’, Jade NORTH 45’, Luke BRATTAN 65’
Red cards: Nil