Brisbane Roar have fallen just short of an incredible comeback against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Friday night.
The Victory shot out of the blocks and opened up a three goal lead within the first half-hour but had their advantage was slashed to a single goal before the break.
An entertaining but ultimately scoreless second period saw the hosts secure a 3-2 win.
Brisbane were unable to find a crucial third goal but Head Coach John Aloisi was pleased with his side keeping their heads up after conceding an early lead.
“Under the circumstances of going 3-0 down at AAMI Park, we still believed in what we were doing, played some good football and created a lot of opportunities," Aloisi said.
"We’re disappointed with the result but there were positives in the performance."
The Roar made a lively start but conceded the lead early. A well-struck free kick from James Troisi opened the scoring for the home side after 12 minutes of play.
Marco Rojas got the better of Michael Theo five minutes later to double their lead before matters went from bad to worse as Besart Berisha converted from the penalty spot following a foul from Luke DeVere.
The goals kept pouring out of a highly-entertaining first half and the next was a goal-of-the-season contender from dead-ball specialist Dimitri Petratos.
The Roar attacker left Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas with little chance, nestling an impeccably struck free-kick into the top right corner. Click HERE to see that goal!
The goal provided hope for the Roar and chances poured out in the latter moments of the first half. Roar skipper Matt McKay was influential across the park and went close to scoring his first goal of the season, only to be denied by a flailing left leg from Thomas.
An incredible first half continued to amaze as the Roar reduced the margin to one goal through an own goal from James Donachie. Brandon Borrello had a golden opportunity to incredible restore parity for the visitors but was unable to find a teammate with a low ball across goal.
Similar to the first half, the Roar opened the second period the brighter of the two sides with play almost exclusively camped in the Victory half.
The match was flipped on its head shortly before the hour mark as Chris Beath brandished a straight red card for Berisha after coming into contact with Luke DeVere off the ball.
The Roar pressed hard for an equaliser, but a 21,103-strong crowd galvanised the home side, helping them secure an important three points.
"Oddly enough, I think the red card suited them because they then defended a little deeper, and the game became scrappy, but we still have to do better," Aloisi said.
"We need to move the baller quicker and try to create chances when a team sits off like that."
The Roar had a strong travelling contingent in Melbourne, creating a great atmosphere on the road.
12': Matt McKay fouls Besart Berisha on the edge of the area and James Troisi curls the ensuing free-kick inside the near post with a left-footed strike. 1-0
17': Troisi plays an early ball for Marco Rojas that leaves Michael Theo in two minds. The Victory attacker benefits and slots home from the edge of the area. 2-0
27': Besart Berisha goes down following minimal contact from Luke DeVere and Chris Beath points to the spot. Theo guesses correctly but Berisha's shot squeezes inside the left post. 3-0
30': Dimitri Petratos hits a goal-of-the-season contender with a free kick that would have made Roberto Carlos proud. 3-1
41': A wide ball to Brandon Borrello from Petratos creates space close to goal for Borrello whose low cross across the face of goal rebounds off James Donachie into the back of the net. 3-2
The first half was one of the most entertaining periods of football so far this Hyundai A-League season in which the game was ultimately decided with five goals before half-time.
Brisbane Roar winger DIMITRI PETRATOS: "We had alot of the ball in the second half, they sat deep and just looked to get us on the counter.
"We're just a bit unlucky in the final third, we need to finish our chances next time. We come out to do our best, we just need to re-group together and look to the next game."
Brisbane Roar Head Coach JOHN ALOISI: "We’re disappointed with the result but there were positives in the performance.
"It gave them an edge at the start to get the early goals but we did well to get back into it.
"At the beginning of the second half I thought we were gaining momentum and felt that we could run all over them. We need to move the baller quicker and try to create chances when a team sits off like that."
The Roar make their only trip cross across the Tasman this season to face Wellington Phoenix on Saturday, 21 January (4:35pm KO) before returning home to face Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC at home on consecutive weekends.
Hyundai A-League Round 15, Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar, Friday, 13 January at AAMI Park
Melbourne Victory FC 3 (Troisi 12', Rojas 17', Berisha 27' p)
Brisbane Roar 2 (Petratos 30', Donachie o.g. 41')
Crowd: 21,103 at AAMI Park
Melbourne Victory FC: 2.Jason GERIA (5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI 71'), 4.Nicholas ANSELL, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Marco ROJAS (23.Jai INGHAM 81'), 8.Besart BERISHA, 10.James TROISI, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH (11.Mitch AUSTIN 87'), 17.James DONACHIE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI
Unused substitutes: 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 40.Matthew ACTON (gk)
Yellow cards: James TROISI 63'
Red cards: Besart BERISHA 58'
Brisbane Roar FC: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Luke DEVERE, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN (22.Thomas BROICH 73'), 11.Tommy OAR, 13.Jade NORTH, 15.Manuel ARANA (9.Jamie MACLAREN 57'), 17.Matt MCKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO
Unused substitutes: 4.Daniel BOWLES, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk)
Yellow cards: Luke DEVERE 26', Jade NORTH 75'
Red cards: Nil
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: Luke Brennan; Assistant Referee 2: Wilson Brown; Fourth Official: Shaun Evans