Brisbane Roar and the Central Coast Mariners have played out a thrilling season opener in front of a strong crowd at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
New recruit in Adam Taggart was on the scene for his first BRFC goal, drawing the Roar level during the second half in a gripping 1-1 draw to begin the new season.
Head Coach John Aloisi was delighted with the performance, but says his side were unlucky to not take all three points in dominant showing.
"We’re disappointed we didn’t get all three points because we were clearly the dominant team," Aloisi said.
"The amount of clear-cut chances we created was incredible. We played some really good football, and even though we went behind, we dealt with it quite well, but we should have won the game easily.
"I’m not happy with the result, but I am with the way we performed."
Four players made their Hyundai A-League debuts in orange with midfielders Alex Lopez and Stefan Mauk, as well as winger Tobias Mikkelsen joining Taggart for their first outing for the Roar.
Despite only arriving in Brisbane a matter of weeks ago, Aloisi was pleased with how Spaniard Lopez combined with his new teammates.
"Our front four combined really well - they have a good understanding together," Aloisi continued.
"I know the quality of Alex and he’s only going to get better. He’s going to do be able to dominate football games and the combinations were very good.
"In terms of the way the players were linking up, you’ll want to come watch this team play."
The visitors broke the deadlock inside the opening four minutes as Connor Pain finished off a rapid counterattack to hand his side an early lead.
Pain would go on to hit the upright later in the opening period, but it was the Roar who made the better of the first-half running with no reward.
New recruits Tobias Mikkelsen and Alex Lopez linked up well through midfield with the Dane proving to be a real thorn in the side of the Mariners' defence down the left wing.
Frenchman Eric Bautheac was proving to be just as dangerous on the right as the hosts continued to pepper the visitors' area, but struggled to force keeper Ben Kennedy into action.
It took the Roar less than two minutes after the restart to hit the target, but Kennedy was up to challenge, denying both a close-range header from Adam Taggart and then a long-range effort from Jack Hingert in quick succession.
Brisbane continued to push in search of an equaliser and were controversially denied one in the 61st minute, as Taggart was deemed to be marginally offside in the build up.
The strike wouldn't stand, but the new number nine would have his maiden goal for his new club just four minutes later, thundering a shot into the roof of the net & sending the 14,859-strong crowd at Suncorp Stadium into raptures.
Mariners recruit Kalifa Cisse would also have a goal ruled out for offside just minutes later before a frenetic final period ensued with the Roar desparately unlucky to not secure all three points in the dying stages.
Chances fell to Bautheac, defender Jacob Pepper, as well as substitute Henrique, but Aloisi's side were forced to settle for a point to open their campaign.
The Roar remain in Brisbane next round, welcoming Wellington Phoenix to Suncorp Stadium following our Roar Women's Westfield W-League season opener against Perth Glory. Get your tickets HERE.
- John Aloisi's starting XI featured four BRFC debutants - Alex Lopez, Adam Taggart, Stefan Mauk and Dane Tobias Mikkelsen.
- The Mariners were on the board within four minutes following a quick counter attack.
- The Roar controversially had a goal disallowed before finding the back of the net four minutes later.
- After entering the fray during the second half, Matt McKay is in contention to become the first BRFC player to reach 250 Hyundai A-League appearances against the Phoenix next Sunday.
Central Coast Mariners – Pain 4’ – 0-1
The visitors issue a swift counter-attack as Connor Pain races onto a skilful through ball from Tom Hiariej, puts it onto his left and bends around Avram Papadopoulos and an outstretched arm from Jamie Young.
Brisbane Roar – Taggart 65’ – 1-1
Stefan Mauk receives the ball from Connor O’Toole’s targeted cross and parries it off to Adam Taggart before the No.9 stops, turns and fires past Kennedy to secure his first goal in orange.
Hyundai A-League Round 1: Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Sunday, 21 October
Brisbane Roar 1 (Taggart 65')
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Pain 4')