Brisbane Roar have come from behind and secured a well-earned point in Saturday's Hyundai A-League clash against the Wanderers in Mudgee.
In what was the first Hyundai A-League fixture to be played at Mudgee's Glen Willow Sporting Field, the Roar overcame a two-goal first-half deficit to take a point back to Brisbane.
Goals either side of half-time for Alex Lopez and Adam Taggart saw John Aloisi's men fight back after falling behind early on.
“We didn’t start the way we wanted but it was a great comeback from our players and the group,” Head Coach John Aloisi said.
“Credit to the Wanderers who started really well and put us on the back foot and deserved to go two goals up.
“We found our way back into the game and started to play some really good stuff and controlled the game, especially in the second half.”
The home side took a lead inside the first 10 minutes through Riera, who benefited from a fortunate rebound off the upright from a Bruce Kamau strike.
The striker had his brace minutes later, despite having an initial penalty terrifically denied by Jamie Young. There was little the Roar keeper could do as Riera poked home the follow up.
Young would be called upon to deny the home side again throughout the first half, but the Roar was next to strike in the shadows of the break.
With a strike similar to numerous he'd struck throughout an esteemed European career, Alex Lopez cut the deficit to one goal with his maiden Hyundai A-League goal - a perfectly-placed long-range strike.
The goal appeared to fire belief into John Aloisi's men and just three minutes into the second stanza, a foul won by Eric Bautheac had the Roar back on level terms after Adam Taggart converted the ensuing penalty from the spot.
The visitors continued to threaten the Wanderers goal during the opening stages of the second half, looking the more dangerous as space began to readily open up on the flanks.
“I’m sure our fans realise that we are team that will not give up and will always play our way," Aloisi continued.
“Today’s comeback will give us a massive boost against a very good Wanderers side. Especially after two difficult away trips.
“We have a good side and I believe in this group and I know we will get it right. We are frustrated we haven’t won a game yet but we are on the right track.”
Terrific last-ditch defending from the Roar ensured the visitors survived their biggest scare of the second half. A succession of corners proved fruitless for Western Sydney with defenders Avram Papadopoulos and Daniel Bowles being perfectly positioned to thwart attacks on their own line either side of a Jaushua Sotirio strike that struck the upright.
The Roar return to Suncorp Stadium after next weekend's international break to face Melbourne City on Saturday, 24 November (6:50pm KO).
STORY OF THE GAME
- The Wanderers had a two-goal lead in the early stages with Oriel Riera twice finding the back of the net.
- With eight minutes to the break, Alex Lopez netted his maiden Hyundai A-League goal with a well-struck strike from outside the area.
- Adam Taggart restored parity at 2-2 from the penalty spot just minutes after the restart.
- The Roar threatened the home side's goal searching for a winner during an entertaining second half, with a Jacob Pepper header nearly securing all three points for Brisbane.
Western Sydney Wanderers - Riera 10' - 1-0
Bruce Kamau's effort rebounds towards the penalty spot off the upright and is met by a powerful finish into the roof of the net from Oriel Riera.
Western Sydney Wanderers - Riera 17' - 2-0
Riera steps up to the spot after Kamau wins the home side a penalty, and his initial shot is saved onto the post by Jamie Young, but the follow up is poked home.
Brisbane Roar - Lopez 37' - 2-1
Alex Lopez opens his Hyundai A-League account in style, finding the bottom right corner from well beyond the area.
Brisbane Roar - Taggart 48' - 2-2
Eric Bautheac earns the Roar a penalty before Adam Taggart sends Vedran Janjetovic the wrong way from the spot.
Hyundai A-League 2018/19 - Round 4: Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar
Glen Willow Sporting Field, Mudgee
Saturday, 10 November
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Riera 10', 17')
Brisbane Roar 2 (Lopez 37', Taggart 48' pen.)