Adelaide United FC has come away with a 1-1 draw from an intriguing match against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.
Adelaide United FC has come away with a 1-1 draw from an intriguing match against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium in Week 23 of the Hyundai A-League.
A Reds side that was without captain Eugene Galekovic and Sergio van Dijk followed up their morale boosting AFC Champions League win over Bunyodkor on Tuesday night with another gallant effort against the reigning Hyundai A-League champions.
Iain Ramsay finished off a brilliant counter attacking move to put the Reds ahead against the run of play in the 14th minute, but just when United started to think about a first win over Brisbane since February 2010, Besart Berisha came to the Roar-s rescue with a 70th minute equaliser as the points were shared.
United Coach John Kosmina stated in the days leading up that the Reds would use the Roar encounter as preparation for their second ACL match against Gamba Osaka, and that is exactly what they did.
While the Reds entered the game without any hope of making the finals, the Roar had plenty to play for, including the race or the Premier-s Plate and trying to atone for their ACL home loss to FC Tokyo.
Thus the Roar burst out of the gates in the opening 10 minutes, but having absorbed the early onslaught, the Reds went ahead in the 14th minute courtesy of a classic counter attack, Ramsay producing a ruthless finish with his non preferred right boot to make it 1-nil.
Dario Vidosic put the ball into the path of Bruce Djite out wide on the right, the Reds- striker outsprinting his Roar defender before delivering a sublime ball across the waiting bodies in the penalty area for a waiting Ramsay who smashed the ball past Michael Theoklitos in the Brisbane goal.
The increased confidence among the Reds was evident right across the field, Ramsay, Vidosic and Djite-s pace causing problems for the Roar defence as United looked to soak up the Roar pressure and then catch them out on the break.
In his first appearance of the season, Reds goalkeeper Mark Birighitti was nearly left red faced in the 29th minute as he sent an attempted clearance into an encroaching Roar player, the ball fortunately sailing just wide of the open net.
Vidosic missed a golden chance to extend the Reds- lead in the 35th minute when the Roar defence was caught napping but the skilful number 10 could not put his shot on target with just Theoklitos to beat.
The Reds headed into half time unscathed, although Zenon Caravella and Osama Malik found themselves in the referee-s book for challenges on Roar playmaker Thomas Broich.
Berisha, who scored a hat trick when the sides last met at Suncorp, blazed a shot well over the bar in the opening minute of the second half, Daniel Mullen then required to make a crucial tackle to diffuse another promising Roar attack.
Djite was working tirelessly in his lone role up front but the chances were coming at the other end, Broich badly miscuing a shot that went well over the bar in the 64th minute.
Willing to sit back in defence, the Reds were being put under constant pressure from the Roar and in the 70th minute it took its toll. Caravella-s intended backward pass for Mullen was slightly off, Roar substitute Kofi Danning pouncing and squaring the ball for Berisha who could not miss from point blank range.
Then in the 79th minute the Reds- goal resembled a pinball machine as Nigel Boogaard repelled Broich not once but twice off the goal line after Danning caught the Reds- defence out to leave Birighitti, who was having an impressive game, out of position.
The Reds will wonder how they got away with it and as the game neared its conclusion, the fatigue of both sides- ACL matches started to take its toll. Space started to open up at both ends as players were out on their feet.
More last ditch defending saw the Reds hang on and also survive a late penalty shout from the Roar after an Antony Golec challenge on Rocky Visconte, but the referee was unmoved.
Adelaide United is on the road again next weekend when it meets league leaders the Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on Saturday.
Brisbane Roar 1 (Berisha 70-)
Adelaide United FC 1 (Ramsay 14-)
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Crowd: 10,739 @ Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane Roar line-up: 1.Michael Theoklitos (GK), 2.Matt Smith (C), 3.Shane Stefanutto, 5.Ivan Franjic, 6.Erik Paaratlu, 7.Besart Berisha, 11.Issey Nakajima-Farran, 16.Mohamed Adnan, 18.Luke Brattan (14.Rocky Visconte 28- (4.Matt Jurman 88-)), 22.Thomas Broich, 24.Nick Fitzgerald (9.Kofi Danning 52-)
Substitutes not used: 20.Andrew Redmayne (GK)
Yellow Cards: Franjic 79-
Red Cards: Nil
Adelaide United line-up: 20.Mark Birighitti (gk), 2.Osama Malik (4.Jon McKain 60-), 3.Nigel Boogaard, 5.Daniel Mullen, 6.Cassio (21.Francisco Usucar 79-), 7.Zenon Caravella, 10.Dario Vidosic (25.Evan Kostopoulos 77-), 11.Bruce Djite, 12.Antony Golec, 14.Cameron Watson, 17.Iain Ramsay
Substitutes not used: 30.Paul Izzo (gk)
Yellow Cards: Caravella 38-, Malik 44-
Red Cards: Nil