Roar stun Sydney in shootout

Brisbane Roar have secured their fourth straight Westfield W-League grand final appearance in dramatic circumstances, scoring a last-gasp equaliser in regular time before edging out Sydney FC 4-3 in a penalty shootout.

Brisbane Roar have secured their fourth straight Westfield W-League grand final appearance in dramatic circumstances, scoring a last-gasp equaliser in regular time before edging out Sydney FC 4-3 in a penalty shootout.

After an under-par first half performance from the home side, the second stanza produced end-to-end football with Brisbane finding the dramatic leveller through Emily Gielnik with just seconds remaining on the clock.

With a Westfield W-League grand final appearance at stake, both teams looked to make their mark on the match, in particular the midfield battle, as soon as referee Casey Reibelt opened proceedings at Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre.

The most notable attempt on goal in the first few minutes was an ambitious, long-range shot from Roar midfielder Aivi Luik but Sydney began to dictate play and soon found their breakthrough goal through Renee Rollason after 19 minutes.

As Servet Uzunlar sailed a free-kick across the face of goal, Renee Rollason freed herself of her defender to sneak a header past returning Brisbane ‘keeper Casey Dumont at the far post.

The home side had to rely on the odd counter-attack as they looked to level with their Sky Blue rivals, Tameka Butt curling the ball over the Sydney crossbar almost instantly before Jo Burgess sent a powerful shot wide just before the half-hour mark.

Kyah Simon had a golden chance to double her side-s lead five minutes before the half-time break, only the woodwork stopping her diving header from flying into the back of the net and the two teams went into the changing rooms with just the one goal separating them.

Brisbane Roar Head Coach Jeff Hopkins looked to his bench at the interval, deciding to replace veteran striker Lana Harch with young Emily Gielnik, who had scored six of her seven goals this season off the substitutes bench.

Gielnik involved herself instantly, first setting up strike partner Catherine Cannuli for a header inside the six-yard box before breaking into space behind AFC Young Player of the Year Caitlin Foord and attempting a shot on goal on her non-preferred left foot.

However, Sydney FC had a response to the Roar super sub-s energy, throwing Sarah Walsh into the fray at the expense of Leena Khamis.

Walsh was hard for the Brisbane back four to contain, the pint-sized striker going close with header soon after her introduction and then providing the ideal through-ball for Foord to force a top-drawer one-on-one save from Dumont.

But, time was proving to be the biggest obstacle for the Roar Women and when the fourth official lifted the board displaying a minimum of five minutes of stoppage time, it was seemingly all over for the reigning Westfield W-League champions.

Up stepped Gielnik.

After Sydney FC failed to deal with a delivery from right wing, the Westfield Young Matilda made the vital connection with the ball to give her side the well-deserved equaliser in the last minute of time added on, bringing the 1,648-strong QSAC crowd to their feet.

Sydney's Kyah Simon received her marching orders from referee Reibelt for her second cautionable offence in the dying seconds of regular time, an incident which also saw the opposition coach Alen Stajcic sent from the bench.

Two relatively even and tightly-fought periods of extra time saw no additional goals for either side despite the best efforts of Walsh in Sydney-s attacking third but Roar custodian Dumont stood tall on numerous occasions and for the second year in a row, Brisbane had to face penalties in the Westfield W-League semi-final.

The opening two penalties were both successfully converted by Sydney-s Thea Slatyer and Roar defender Kim Carroll but in the Sky Blues- second kick was skyrocketed by Estelle Johnson, allowing Tameka Butt to put the home side in front.

Sydney captain Danielle Brogan and Brisbane-s Brooke Spence made no mistakes from the spot before Teresa Polias and Olga Cebrian Garcia both missed, meaning the responsibility of the final kick fell to Aivi Luik.

The former FC Indiana midfielder was cool and composed as she approached the ball and her execution was no different, calmly slotting past Sydney ‘keeper Allison Lipsher.

Brisbane now face undefeated premiers Canberra United in the Westfield W-League Grand Final next Saturday at McKellar Park.

Brisbane Roar 1 (Emily GIELNIK 90+4-) Sydney FC 1 (Renee ROLLASON 19-)

Brisbane Roar (Kim CARROLL, Tameka BUTT, Brooke SPENCE, Aivi LUIK) beat Sydney FC (Thea SLATYER, Danielle BROGAN, Teigan ALLEN) 4 - 3 on penalties

Saturday, 22 January 2012 Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre, Brisbane Referee: Casey Reibelt Crowd: 1,648

Brisbane Roar: 1. Casey DUMONT (gk), 2. Laura ALLEWAY, 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE (c), 5. Brooke SPENCE, 6. Joanne BURGESS, 7. Kim CARROLL, 9. Catherine CANULLI (18. Olga CEBRIAN GARCIA 80-), 10. Lana HARCH (17. Emily GIELNIK 46-), 11. Aivi LUIK, 13. Tameka BUTT, 14. Vedrana POPOVIC

Substitutes Not Used: 19. Ellen BEAUMONT, 20. Hoshimi KISHI (gk), 21. Rebecca PRICE

Yellow Cards: Vedrana POPOVIC 35-

Red Cards: Nil

Sydney FC: 1. Allison LIPSHER (gk), 2. Teresa POLIAS, 3. Danielle BROGAN (c), 4. Renee ROLLASON (12. Teigan ALLEN 83-), 6. Estelle JOHNSON, 6. Servet UZUNLAR, 8. Caitlin FOORD, 10. Kylie LEDBROOK (13. Brittany WHITFIELD 93-), 15. Thea SLATYER, 17. Kyah SIMON, 19. Leena KHAMIS (9. Sarah WALSH 71-)

Substitutes Not Used: 16. Alisha BASS, 40. Trudy BURKE (gk)

Yellow Cards: Servet UZUNLAR 40-, Renee ROLLASON 61-, Kyah SIMON 69-, 96-, Leena KHAMIS 69-, Teigan ALLEN 112-

Red Cards: Kyah SIMON 96-