Goals from Besart Berisha and Thomas Broich were enough to see off a hard-working Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium last night, to maintain Brisbane Roar’s perfect start to the season.
Two wins and two clean sheets have given Brisbane the perfect start to their Hyundai A-League title defence, but they were made to work hard for the three points by a determined Sydney outfit.
A goal in each half was enough to give Brisbane the three points much to the delight of a vocal band of traveling fans.
James Meyer had the first opportunity of the match inside the first five minutes when he cut in from the right, but his left-foot shot was comfortably saved low by Sydney keeper Liam Reddy.
Sydney pressed Brisbane early in an attempt to stifle the away side’s passing-possession game, but Brisbane maintained their composure on the ball to settle into a good early rhythm.
Sydney nearly snuck a goal against the run of play when Nick Carle played Terry Antonis into the box on 26 minutes with the youngster’s intended cross drifting towards the back post, but Michael Theoklitos tipped the ball over the bar and away to safety.
Brisbane were working well into the wide areas of the pitch, but each time the ball got into the box there were plenty of Sydney defenders on hand to clear the danger.
Sydney were showing they could provide some danger of their own with Carle directing traffic through the middle of the park for the home side as the half wore on.
But it was Brisbane who took the lead just before the break through Albanian international Berisha on 42 minutes.
Sydney failed to clear the ball on the edge of their own box and Erik Paartalu unleased a left-foot thunderbolt which Reddy could only parry into the path of Berisha who tapped home into an empty net.
Meyer had a chance to help Berisha double the lead in stoppage time at the end of the half, but after a wonderful flowing move he couldn’t cut the ball back across the face of goal enough for the striker to once again tap into an empty net.
Carle nearly levelled things up immediately after the restart when Bruno Cazarine played him clean on goal, but Theoklitos pushed him wide and the excellent Matt Jurman was able to clear the subsequent cutback to keep the lead in tact.
Three minutes later Jurman came to the rescue again, when Cazarine rose to meet a Carle cross and nod it towards Theoklitos’ goal but the young Roar defender put his body in the way to stop the Sydney attack in its tracks.
Mitch Nichols then drew another save from Reddy when he shot from a Meyer cutback, but the Sydney keeper did just enough to keep the ball out of danger for the home side.
Brisbane continued to control much of the ball, with Sydney playing predominantly on the counter with plenty of bodies in the defensive lines.
Broich was the player to finally double the lead when the ball made it all the way across the box from a Kofi Danning cross with the German’s first time shot unerring in its aim for the bottom corner to round out the scoring.
Brisbane mentor Ange Postecoglou was content with the result, but continued his mantra from the pre-season program: There is more improvement in us.
“I thought our structure in the front third, particularly in the first half, wasn’t what it could have been,” Postecoglou said.
“We really smashed these guys on the training track this week, both in a physical and football sense.
“There won’t be any complacency, and there can’t be, because a soon a there is you drift back to the pack and that’s not what we’re about.
“We want to get better and I believe we can get better, that’s certainly what we’re working towards.”
Sydney FC 0
Brisbane Roar 2 (Berisha 42’, Broich 72’)
Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Sydney FC squad: 1. Liam Reddy, 3. Jamie Coyne, 4. Pascal Bosschaart, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 7. Brett Emerton, 8. Karol Kisel, 9. Bruno Cazarine (11. Dimi Petratos 61’), 10. Nick Carle, 15. Terry McFlynn (capt)( 23 Rhyan Grant 72’), 17. Terry Antonis, 21. Scott Jamieson
Substitues not used: 2. Sebastian Ryall, 20. Ivan Necevski,
Yellow cards: McFlynn (12’), Jameison (44’)
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar Squad: 1. Michael Theoklitos (GK), 2. Matt Smith (capt), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman (16. Mohamed Adnan 88’), 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paaratlu, 7. Besart Berisha, 11. Issey Nakajima-Farran (8. Massimo Murdocca 69’), 17. Mitch Nichols, 21. James Meyer (9. Kofi Danning 67’), 22. Thomas Broich
Substitutes not used: 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK)
Yellow cards: Nichols (40’)
Red cards: Nil