Brisbane Roar has booked a Hyundai A-League Semi Final match-up with Western Sydney Wanderers following a 2-1 win over Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium.
In a hard-fought match, Brisbane justified the favourites tag handed to it prior to the match, controlling proceedings for most of the contest.
Both sides had their share of possession in the early stages of the match but, aside from a couple of efforts which were well wide of the mark, both defences held firm.
With 15 minutes on the clock Adelaide came to life, bringing the crowd with it.
Carrusca blasted the ball wide when he should have done better from 12 yards from a Bruce Djite when free in the box before Djite himself had an effort deflected into the arms of Michael Theo.
Brisbane responded in a see-sawing opening to the game and attempted to push the home side back into its defensive third.
The away side was rewarded for their pressure on 27 minutes with fantastically well-taken effort from Luke Brattan.
Thomas Broich knocked a corner from the far side to the edge of the box and Brattan, on the volley, smashed the ball goalwards and catching a slight deflection from Reds defender Cassio as he attempted in vain to clear the shot.
With 10 minutes of the half remaining catpain Broich collected an accidental kick from Adelaide’s Jeronimo Neumann and limped through until the break.
Considering the injury, Ivan Franjic’s goal to extend the lead on the stroke of half time put Brisbane in the driver’s seat.
Mitch Nichols won a tussle with Osama Malik on the left side of Brisbane’s attack before the midfielder composed himself and delivered the perfect cross to the edge of the six yard box where Franjic beat Cassio to the ball to poke it home.
Broich did not return for the second stanza, with Ben Halloran replacing the German at the start of the second half.
The loss of their captain seemed to take the wind out of Brisbane’s sails as Adelaide started the second half determined to claw themselves back into the contest.
Jeronimo was at the centre of Adelaide’s brightest work, sending a teasing cross into the box which no Adelaide player could get on the end of before stabbing a shot wide of the goal from a Djite cutback.
Halloran nearly extended the away team’s lead a short time after, but after some persistent work in the box he pulled his shot just wide of the goal.
James Donachie made a timely intervention on 58 minutes, snatching the ball from Jeronimo’s toe just as it looked as though he was certain to convert Dario Vidosic’s well-directed nod down.
The injury curse struck again midway through the second half with Jack Hingert stretchered from the field after rolling his ankle attempting to block a cross.
Brisbane’s injury list was added to further when Reds substitute Tomi Juric caught Brattan with an ugly challenge that somehow only yielded a yellow card.
Adelaide then pulled a goal back with two minutes to go when Vidosic found himself on the end of a floated cross to the back post and smashed the ball past a helpless Theo.
Driven on by the now vocal Adelaide crowd, the Reds pushed forward frenetically seeking a second goal to send the match into extra time.
Despite one or two heart in mouth moments, Brisbane held firm to record a well-deserved win.
Brisbane Roar Head Coach Mike Mulvey lauded his player’s performance in a hostile environment, against a side who threw everything at them.
“I thought it was thoroughly deserved tonight,” Mulvey said.
“To be fair, it was charge of the light brigade in the last five minutes, but we should have killed the game off before that.
“We had a couple of good chances and the game would have been over.
“The main thing is that at the end of the day the whistle has gone and we’re into the next round of the finals.”
Adelaide United (Vidosic 88’)
Brisbane Roar (Brattan 27’, Franjic 45’+2)
Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium
Referee: Chris Beath
Adelaide United: 1.Eugene Galekovic (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard (19. Jake Barker-Daish 76’), 4.Jon McKain, 5.Iain Fyfe, 6.Cassio, 8.Marcelo Carrusca, 10.Dario Vidosic, 11.Bruce Djite, 17.Iain Ramsay(22. Fabio Ferreira 46’), 18.Fabian Barbiero, 21.Jeronimo Neumann (25. Tomi Juric 66’)
Substitutes not used: 12. Antony Golec, 20. Paul Izzo (GK)
Yellow cards: Jeronimo (32’), Fyfe (56’), Ferreira (73’), Carrusca (78’), Juric (86’), Cassio (90’)
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael Theo (gk), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 5. Ivan Franjic, 7. Besart Berisha, 13. Jade North, 14. Steven Lustica, 15. James Donachie, 17. Mitch Nichols, 18. Luke Brattan (8. Massimo Murdocca 86’), 19. Jack Hingert (9. Stef Nijland 66’), 22. Thomas Broich (c)( 11. Ben Halloran 46’)
Substitutes not used: 20. Matt Acton (gk), 29. Kwame Yeboah
Yellow cards: Brattan (39’), Listica (61’), Nijland (77’)
Red cards: Nil