10 man Brisbane dominate, fail to finish

Sydney FC 1 (Ryall 35’)
Brisbane Roar 1 (Berisha 23’)
At Sydney Football Stadium

Brisbane: Theo, Hingert, Smith, Stefanutto, Brown, Miller, Brattan, McKay, Petratos, Broich, Berisha.
Substitutions: Lustica for Miller (77’), Henrique for Petratos (77’), Ferreira for Brown (81’).
Unused Substitutes: Acton, Borrello.
Yellow Cards: Brown.
Red Cards: Berisha.

Sydney: Janjetovic, Ryall, Ognenovski, Petkovic, Jurman, Gligor, Antonis, Abbas, Garcia, Gameiro, Urosevski.
Substitutions: Calver for Ryall (60’), Chianese for Gameiro (66’), Naumoff for Garcia (81’).
Unused Substitutes: Necevski, Thompson.
Yellow Cards: Ryall.
Red Cards: Nil

Brisbane Roar have missed the chance to go 13 points clear at the top of the table tonight as a ten man Brisbane side missed the chance to put one hand on the A-League Premiership. Despite not getting the win, Brisbane still remain 11 points clear at the top and depending on results this weekend, may still have the chance to clinch the premiership next weekend against the Victory.

Onto tonight’s game however, and Brisbane opened the scoring with a delightful cross from Broich to find Berisha at the back post. The Albanian created a half yard of space on the back post from Jurman and proceeded to loop a header over the top of Janjetovic. Sydney’s reply came ten minutes before the break when Ryall got on the end of a corner to head home at the back post, uncontested. Brisbane’s defending for the goal was sloppy at best, with Ryall free on the back post, and Theo making a hash of his attempt to come for the corner which you’d expect a goalkeeper to reach given it was an inswinger on the six yard box line. Brisbane’s lack of general height also cost them tonight as Sydney had a couple of other chances in the first half from set pieces.

The game’s big controversy occurred soon after as the two goal scorers slid into what seemed like a 50-50 at the time resulting in Berisha seeing a straight red card for his part in the challenge. Ryall meanwhile saw a yellow for either his part, or for whacking Berisha in the back of the hand. A lot has been said about this already, but my take on it is that when you slide in the way Berisha did, you give a referee the chance to send him off. He probably didn’t make much contact, and Ryall’s challenge wasn’t much better, but it’s the referee’s opinion that matters. In some ways it reminds me of an incident in the EPL last season when Jonjo Shelvey was sent off against Manchester United for his challenge on Jonny Evans. There is also little chance of this red card being rescinded despite all the protestations- the reason being is that the referee didn’t make an obvious error in the sense that the challenge was at least worthy of a yellow at the minimum, and as such the red card will stand. The result is that he’ll definitely miss the Victory game next Saturday, and probably the Heart game in two weeks given it’s his second red card of the season.

The second half was very similar to the last time Berisha got sent off in Perth, with the home side sitting back and inviting Brisbane onto them. Farina bemoaned the poss possession, passing and patience of his side which was a correct statement as the Sky Blues struggled to get any control of the game. Brisbane meanwhile created a host of clear cut chances and really should have won the game, and but for more composure from the likes of Henrique, Miller and McKay, they would have. The trio of McKay, Brattan and Broich were absolutely wonderful in the second half, controlling the game and really making light work of getting through Sydney’s first two defensive lines.

Screenshot_2014-3-14 21.17.14


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