Roar keep their season alive in Adelaide
Brisbane Roar moved into the top six with a deserved 1-0 win over an off-colour Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday night.
The visitors dominated from the outset but failed to capitalise, forced to wait patiently until the 81st minute to finally notch the only goal of the match through substitute Ben Halloran.
To make matters worse for Adelaide, midfielder Osama Malik was sent off late in the clash.
Brisbane dominated almost every facet of play in the first half and yet scores were deadlocked at 0-0 at the interval.
United were imprecise and panicky, while the visitors repeatedly got behind the Reds and into dangerous positions.
The Roar's best early chance came in the 11th minute after Jeronimo Neumann fouled Brisbane captain Thomas Broich just outside the box.
Luke Brattan rifled the free-kick perfectly for Ivan Franjic, whose header forced Adelaide goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic into a quick reflex punch, the ball perilously close to crossing the goal-line before bouncing off the left upright.
Broich cracked one from range moments later, but his effort was fractionally high before the dangerous Franjic forced Galekovic into a diving save on 16 minutes.
The Reds did not look too bad during their infrequent forward forays but were all over the shop bringing the ball out of defence and made Galekovic work harder than he would have liked in his milestone 150th game.
Dutch import Stefan Nijland had a long-range strike from a set-piece, but his 26th-minute effort only found the side-netting.
Adelaide's defence almost combined for a clumsy own goal five minutes later before Nigel Boogaard made team-mate Galekovic work overtime with a loopy back pass moments later.
United were fortunate to escape when star Roar striker Besart Berisha was felled in the penalty area but referee Shaun Evans was unmoved.
Galekovic made another fine save in the 47th minute when Broich connected with a shot.
The Reds custodian would again be in the firing line with Berisha lining up a penalty after the Albanian was felled inches away from goal by Malik.
Berisha stepped up but inexplicably smashed it into the woodwork after Galekovic dived the wrong way to his left as Franjic was unable to control the follow up.
After the massive let off, Adelaide lifted noticeably and fought their way back into the match.
Cassio's free-kick on 58 minutes was well dealt with by Michael Theo before Tomi Juric – in his first home game for his new club – forced the Brisbane goalkeeper into a nice save.
The Roar weathered the storm and finally got their deserved goal through substitute Halloran, who struck his fourth goal of the season.
Calamitously, Malik and Iain Ramsay almost collided in defence as Berisha played the ball out wide to Halloran and he side-footed a precise effort into the bottom corner.
In the 85th minute, Juric took a desperate shot from outside the area but it lacked the power to beat Theo.
Approaching 90 minutes, the Reds had one last chance from a Dario Vidosic corner but the home side could not capitalise even with Galekovic having run right up into attack to help out.
On the counter-attack, Brisbane were clear and with Galekovic miles out of position, a second goal was there for the taking for Halloran, who streamed forward in space.
He was brought down just outside the penalty area by Malik, who was deservedly shown a red card, as United's afternoon ended in farcical fashion.
Bet365 Man of the Match: Eugene Galekovic
The Reds keeper brought a big presence and it might have been that which caused Berisha to miss the penalty. Great performance in a beaten side.
Adelaide United 0
Brisbane Roar 1 (Halloran 81)
@ Hindmarsh Stadium, 2/3/2013