Brisbane bring point home from Parramatta

(Joosep Martinson/Getty Images AsiaPac)

(Joosep Martinson/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Brisbane Roar (1) Berisha 13’
Western Sydney Wanderers (1) Haliti 85’
At Parramatta Stadium, Sydney.

Brisbane: Theo, Donachie, Smith, North, Stefanutto, Miller, Brattan, Franjic, Petratos, Broich, Berisha.
Substitutions: Henrique for Miller (68’), Lustica for Petratos (90’).
Unused Substitutes: Acton, Ferreira, Solórzano.
Yellow Cards: Smith, Miller.
Red Cards: Nil.

Western Sydney: Covic, Polenz, Spiranovic, Topor-Stanley, D’Apuzzo, Poljak, Mooy, Ono, Hersi, Bridge, Santalab.
Substitutes: Haliti for Bridge (74’), Juric for Santalab (74’), Cole for Polenz (78’).
Unused Substitutes: Tyson, La Rocca.
Yellow Cards: Spiranovic, Polenz, Haliti.
Red Cards: Nil.

Brisbane Roar have secured a tough hard earned point tonight in Parramatta which sees the league leaders remain top by 7 points with 10 games remaining. Brisbane started the game off in good shape and got the rewards after a quarter hour when Broich and Berisha combined and the Albanian blasted past Wanderers keeper Ante Covic. The remainder of the first half was by and large and even contest with the dominant figure for the remainder of the first half being referee Kris Griffiths-Jones.

It all started with Wanderers right- winger Youssouf Hersi making runs in behind Stefanutto at left back which was Brisbane’s problem at the back. Stefanutto’s age and declining pace were often exposed, forcing Smith and Brattan to cover him regularly. The fact that Brisbane play a high line, especially with the full-backs doesn’t do him any favours either. Despite the heat the referee was coming under, I thought he had a reasonably good game and did well not to be influenced by the referee.

The second half however was almost all red and black with Santalab setting the tone early on with a good shot that hit the post. From there on they did what they to extremely well, they pushed up the park, congested the space and made it impossible to play out of defence. They didn’t create a great deal of clear cut chances in truth, but the pressure and momentum was building for the hosts. To the hosts credit, the second half is the first time in a long time that Brisbane have been forced to play without the ball, again that was due to their defensive press which allowed them to dominate the game.

It wasn’t however until Popovic played his cards off the bench in Labinot Haliti and Tomi Juric that the visitors got back into the game. It wasn’t a spectacular goal from Haliti but they all count and it was poor marking at the back post from Donachie to allow Haliti in, and to allow the ball to drop inside the six yard box. Popovic wasn’t the only coach however to make a canny substitution however, with Mulvey himself making a shrewd one with 25 minutes to play. Henrique replaced Miller, and within five minutes he was played in beautifully by Brattan and really should have put the visitors 2-0 up.

After the equaliser, it was the visitors who pushed on and searched for the winner in typical Brisbane fashion and they had a couple of half chances. A draw however is a very fair result given the way the game panned out. Western Sydney threw everything they had at Brisbane in the second half, and it was an impressive defensive display to hold them out, and leave with a point. Going into the game, one of Western Sydney’s biggest keys was to keep Broich quiet, and Brisbane’s was to be defensively sound. Both sides achieved their objectives for almost the entire game, but for a brief lapse around the goals.

These two sides have now played out two tough, hard fought contests now with Brisbane picking up four points out of six. That doesn’t tell the full story as the Wanderers have had their moments in both games. It was a quality game between arguably the two best sides in the country and these two sides should be featuring prominently in the serious finals. Brisbane remains 7 points clear at the top with a game in hand, and still are in a fantastic position to wrap up the premiers plate.

Stats:
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Up next:
Brisbane return home next Sunday with the third and final game against the Jets for the season. So far Brisbane have lost both games to the Jets, so they will be wanting to reverse that trend. Infact Brisbane are winless in their last four games against Newcastle (1 draw, 3 losses)

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