Football 4 years ago

Brisbane The Champions!

  • Brisbane The Champions!
  • Brisbane The Champions!
  • Brisbane The Champions!
  • Brisbane The Champions!

Brisbane Roar are the 2014 A-League champions after a thoroughly enthralling 2-1 extra time win over the Western Sydney Wanderers in the ninth enstallment of the showpiece event.

Goals from Besart Berisha and Henrique midway through the extra time period nullified Matthew Spiranovic's opener for the visitors as the Roar came from behind to become the most successful team in A-League history with their third Grand Final victory - becoming the first side to do so.

The Wanderers on the other hand have a longer than normal flight back to Sydney tonight before they jet out to Japan to face Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the Round of 16 in the Asian Champions League after Tony Popovic's men were unable to attone for last years Grand Final loss to the Central Coast Mariners to suffer their second consecutive final day defeat in as many seasons.

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Take nothing away from all those in Red and Black, who were simply outplayed and outrun in the clutch moments late in the match - a small spot on what has otherwise been another successful season for the A-League's newest franchise.

Western Sydney found their feet the fastest of the two on the Suncorp Stadium surface, with last minute inclusion Mark Bridge and perenial nuisance Brendan Santalab causing problems for the Brisbane back four in the early stages of the decider, however nothing ever eventuated in a first half largely highlighted by solid defence.

The Wanderers continued their pressure after the break, whilst the defensive midfield pairing of Iacopo La Rocca and Mateo Poljak proved impenetrable for the home side, and it wasnt long before the deadlock was broken by the unlikely source of lanky centre back Spiranovic. Latching on to a corner flighted delicately to the front post, Spiranovic found himself unmarked as he lost Thomas Broich and headed home powerfully from a tight angle with technique to make Tim Cahill jealous.

Just after the hour mark, a knee injury to Nikolai Topor-Stanley proved to be the game changer as he limped off the park and would take no further part in the match. Without foundation captain Michael Beauchamp to turn to on the bench, Popovic was forced to move La Rocca into the back four, thereby breaking the fantastic partnership he had made with Poljak, and bring on Mooy for his last A-League fixture in Red and Black.

Brisbane took the accendancy from there and never looked back, and it seemed only a matter of time before the flood gates would break as the Wanderers defence absorbed a barage of orange attacks until finally, on 85 minutes, Brisbane restored parity when a Broich free kick found Berisha relatively free on the 6-yard line and his well directed header gave a dispairing Ante Covic no chance as he dispatched of the chance with elegant ease and sent the Den into rapturous applause.

As extra time reared its ugly head it seemed as though it would be a battle of fitness for the final 30 minutes, and so it proved as tired legs and mistimed passing dominated the first stanza. The game seemed poised to be decided from the spot, before the slippery fish Henrique popped up to seal the comeback win for the Roar. A James Donachie cutback from the edge of the box was met by the Brazilian who took one touch to steady and a second to fire the ball past Covic's gloves and into the roof of the net at the Den end. 




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