All square as Roar grab road point

Saturday, 15 December 2012 8:20 PM

All square as Roar grab road point

Massimo Murdocca didn’t get to celebrate his 150th Hyundai A-League match for the club with a win, but the diminutive midfielder will savour a hard-fought point secured on the road courtesy of a 1-1 with Melbourne Victory at AAMI Stadium.

In a pulsating clash, both sides gave their all in an enthralling contest but could not be separated at the final whistle.

Melbourne started the more dangerous in the attacking third with sever opportunities in the opening 10 minutes with the most notable strike coming from Marco Rojas who drew a good save low to his left from Michael Theo.

Erik Paartalu had Brisbane’s two best opportunities at goal early with two shots from outside the box, one blocked by the defence and the other put wide of Nathan Coe’s goal.

Melbourne had an ideal opportunity to open the scoring on 20 minutes when Besart Berisha fouled Archie Thompson on the edge of the box, but Guilherme Finkler put his shot harmlessly over the bar.

But it was Brisbane who took the lead four minutes later when Ben Halloran pounced on a defensive mistake in the box.

Paartalu nodded a ball across the box and Diogo Ferreira missed his clearance, leaving Halloran free to stick the ball into the top corner.

On his 150th Hyundai A-League appearance, foundation player Massimo Murdocca tried his luck from distance and while he shot hard it was straight at Coe in the Melbourne goal.

In time added at the end of the first half Besart Berisha tried his luck from long range but dragged his shot well wide of the mark.

Just three minutes into the second half and Victory were level through Mark Milligan who was allowed to run at the Roar penalty area before unleashing a venomous strike past a helpless Theo.

Milligan threatened again a short time later, but this time his shot from outside the box was saved well by Theo.

In a blow to the Roar both Berisha (shoulder) and Nichols (back) were forced off with injury, leaving Rado Vidosic to shuffle his deck.

Theo then pulled off what must be a contender for save of the week, if not season, when he denied Finkler from close range despite the Victory attacker having time and space on the ball.

The Brisbane gloveman then denied Archie Thompson from point-blank range to keep the sides level.
Brisbane controlled the ball for much of the closing stages, but couldn’t find a way through the stubborn Victory rear guard.

Vidosic said he was delighted with his side’s determination to secure something out of the hard-fought contest.

“Today the first goal was crucial for us, to get our noses in front,” Vidosic said.

“We survived the first 15-20 minutes, it really was some heroic defending.

“From then on I thought we controlled the game, created a few chances and caused them quite a few problems.”

Brisbane’s mentor saved some special praise for his No.1 who made several key saves throughout the match.

“Michael has had many good games for us and this is just one of those many,” he said.

“He was outstanding.”

Melbourne Victory 1 (Milligan 48’)
Brisbane Roar 1 (Halloran 24’)
at AAMI Park, Melbourne
Jarred Gillett
Crowd: 17,128

Melbourne Victory: 3. Adama Traore, 5. Mark Milligan, 7. Guilherme Finkler, 9. Marcos Flores (26. Andrew Nabbout 71’), 10. Archie Thompson (8. Jonathan Bru 89’), 11. Marco Rojas, 13. Diogo Ferreira, 14. Billy Celeski (6. Leigh Broxham 46’), 23. Adrian Leijer (capt), 24. Nicholas Ansell, 39. Nathan Coe (GK).

Substitutes not used: 1. Tando Velaphi (GK).

Yellow cards: Celeski (22’), Milligan (28’), Broxham (69’)

Red cards: Nil

Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael Theo (GK), 2. Matt Smith (capt), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paartalu, 7. Besart Berisha (10. Henrique 58’), 8. Massimo Murdocca, 11. Ben Halloran, 17. Mitch Nichols (16. Do Dong-Hyun 73’), 19. Jack Hingert (13. Yuji Takahashi 89’), 22. Thomas Broich.

Substitutes not used: 20. Matt Acton (GK)

Yellow cards: Berisha (42’)

Red cards: Nil

Who was your player of the season?