Sport

Another late show wins it for Roar

Besart Berisha of the Roar celebrates after scoring his second goal during the 2012 A-League Grand Final match between the Brisbane Roar and the Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium on April 22, 2012 in Brisbane, Australia.
Besart Berisha of the Roar celebrates after scoring his second goal during the 2012 A-League Grand Final match between the Brisbane Roar and the Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium on April 22, 2012 in Brisbane, Australia. Chris Hyde - Getty Images

ROAR 2 (B Berisha 2) GLORY 1 (I Franjic own goal)

Crowd: 50,344 at Suncorp Stadium

IT WAS the late, late show all over again as Brisbane Roar broke Perth Glory hearts at Suncorp Stadium last night.

Just as 12 months ago, it appeared the Roar was going to leave empty-handed on the grand final stage.

Late goals again stole the title and this time there was more than a touch of controversy about the final result.

Perth looked like staging the perfect smash-and-grab raid when Brisbane defender Ivan Franjic turned the ball into his own goal.

But with time running out, Besart Berisha proved the Roar hero. His first goal with six minutes left was clear enough when he headed home a Thomas Broich free-kick.

But Perth will be moaning all the way back to Western Australia about his winner.

Just as the game was headed into extra time, Berisha went on one last dribble in a bid to steal a winner.

He went down under a challenge from Liam Miller and referee Jarred Gillett pointed to the spot.

Replays suggested the Albanian had helped the decision by falling over his own feet in attempting to shoot - and the Perth players certainly felt they had every right to complain.

Berisha himself stepped up to the spot and was calmness personified to send keeper Danny Vukovic the wrong way.

There hadn't been much to shout about for the passionate home crowd in the early stages and the flow of the game wasn't helped by a long stoppage after Shane Smeltz appeared to run into an accidental elbow from Roar skipper Matt Smith. Smeltz received treatment for about four minutes for a bloodied nose before finally emerging with a massive bandage covering his wound.

Perth's game plan of a high pressing game was nullifying Brisbane's passing game and as a result there was not goalmouth action in the first 30 minutes.

But suddenly the game came to life.

First Vukovic had to be alert to keep out a weak Mitch Nichols' effort.

Then Berisha was left kicking the pitch in frustration as a bobble appeared to cost him a shot on goal just as he was pulling the trigger.

Franjic was the next to be cursing his luck as Vukovic did superbly to get low to his right to keep out his low drive.

Perth looked livelier after the break and broke the game open on 51 minutes.

Travis Dodd's first cross from the right was blocked but his second effort caused panic in the home defence and after the ball went under the foot of Billy Mehmet, Franjic could only watch on as the ball deflected off his foot and into the back of the net from close range.

The Roar had chances to draw level but wasted them and Postecoglou threw caution to the wind by using all three substitutes inside 75 minutes.

And the attacking move paid off as the home side levelled in emphatic style. Berisha had been quiet by his standards but he was Johnny-on-the-spot to nod home from Broich's beautifully flighted free-kick on 84 minutes to set up a frantic finish.

James Meyer forced Vukovic into another fine save as the game reached boilng point and in injury time Perth was down to 10 men after Dean Heffernan was shown his second yellow card for scything down Franjic.

Topics:  a-league football, brisbane roar, perth glory fc



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