Brisbane Roar has secured their third win in a row, beating Central Coast Mariners 2-0 at Central Coast Stadium tonight thanks to two second-half penalties to set up a mouth-watering clash against Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium next Friday.
Ahead of Besart Berisha’s first visit back to Brisbane following his off-season departure, the Roar showed composure in front of goal as Costa Rican striker Jean Carlos Solorzano scored his fifth goal in six matches before debutant Andrija Kaluderovic secured the three points with a spot kick in stoppage time.
“It was two set pieces but we’ll take that and three wins in a row for us sets us up for a really good second half of the season,” Roar captain Matt McKay said.
“The desire is there, our spirit is back and hopefully that can continue.”
Following a disappointing performance in last week’s narrow 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets, Brisbane Roar interim coach Frans Thijssen urged his players to improve on the park and this showed from the outset in the Round 17 fixture as the Roar pushed for an early goal.
In the seventh minute, Brisbane right-back Jerome Polenz found Solorzano with a perfectly-weighted cross but the Costa Rican striker couldn’t get a clean first touch and sent the ball well off target.
Just a minute later, Corey Brown – fresh from signing a three year contract extension during the week – almost broke the deadlock with a rare shot on goal, cutting inside Nick Montgomery but striking the ball wide of Liam Reddy’s post with his right foot.
The Mariners tried to flex their muscles in front of goal too but Roar goalkeeper Michael Theo did well between the sticks, first collecting a header from Hutchinson before stopping Eddy Bosnar’s attempt at a trademark bullet free-kick.
It was Brisbane’s Thomas Broich who had the best chance of the half. After pouncing on a short goal kick from Reddy, the German playmaker hesitated before shooting, allowing Reddy to block – Broich holding his arm up in apology after the effort for failing to see the run of Brandon Borrello into the area.
The away side didn’t have long to wait after half-time to break the deadlock, after just four minutes the ball struck Bosnar’s arm inside the area as Brisbane pushed forward and referee Kris Griffiths-Jones awarded a penalty.
Solorzano unleashed a powerful strike from the spot, allowing Reddy no chance and giving his side a deserved lead with majority of the second half.
Midfielder Luke Brattan almost made it 2-0 from a set piece just past the hour mark, striking a swerving free kick on target only to be denied by a fingertip save from the Central Coast gloveman.
Goal scorer Solorzano’s night was over in the 77th minute as he limped off with a suspected hamstring strain, which allowed Thijssen the opportunity to give new Serbian signing Kaluderovic his Hyundai A-League debut.
After scoring against the Mariners’ Foxtel National Youth League side in his first hit-out in an orange jersey last Saturday, Kaluderovic held his nerve in the 92nd minute to score from the penalty spot after Mariners substitute Anthony Kalik fouled Broich inside the edge of the box.
The result takes Frans Thijssen’s men into the top six for the second time this Hyundai A-League season, at least overnight, with seventh-placed Melbourne City – now two points adrift of Brisbane – playing away to Wellington Phoenix tomorrow.
Central Coast Mariners 0
Brisbane Roar 2 (Jean Carlos SOLORZANO 50’ pen, ANDRIJA Kaluderovic 90+2’ pen)
Hyundai A-League Round 17 2014/15 season
Friday, 13 February 2015
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Central Coast Mariners: 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 7.John HUTCHINSON (c) (20.Anthony KALIK 71’), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY, 10.Anthony CACERES (15.Matt SIM 84’), 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 12.Liam REDDY (gk), 19.Matt SIMON, 25.Eddy BOSNAR, 26.Fabio FERREIRA (14.Travis MAJOR 58’)
Substitutes not used: 1. Matthew NASH (gk), 16.Liam ROSE
Yellow cards: Storm ROUX 30’
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar FC: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 2.Jerome POLENZ, 4.Adam SAROTA, 5.Corey BROWN, 12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO (9. ANDRIJA Kaluderovic 90+2’), 13. Jade NORTH, 15.James DONACHIE, 17.Matt McKAY (c), 18.Luke BRATTAN, 22.Thomas BROICH, 28.Brandon BORRELLO
Substitutes not used: 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 8. Steven LUSTICA, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 34. Shannon BRADY
Yellow cards: Corey BROWN 43’
Red cards: Nil