Brisbane Roar will have the chance to defend their Hyundai A-League crown after securing fifth place on the competition ladder with a convincing 3-1 win over sixth-placed Sydney FC in their final match of the season tonight.
In front of a loud Suncorp Stadium crowd, Brisbane continued their strong record against the Sky Blues at home - the 3-1 win that guarantees finals football was their eighth straight victory against their New South Wales rivals at the Milton venue.
The only goal of an entertaining first half came on the half hour mark when a loose ball from Sydney's marquee man Alessandro Del Piero gave acting Roar skipper Thomas Broich a sniff at goal.
In between two Sky Blue defenders, Broich was quickest to the ball and immediately played in Besart Berisha inside the penalty area, the unmarked striker making no mistake from the edge of the six yard box.
Another defensive lapse just after the half-time break gifted Brisbane their second goal of the evening, Berisha turning provider as Sebastian Ryall gave the ball away inside the box.
This time, it was Steven Lustica unmarked in a promising position and the young midfielder struck the ball cleanly to give the home side a two goal buffer.
While Sydney looked more dangerous in the second half, the Roar were clearly in the driving seat and Ivan Franjic ensured the three points with Brisbane's third goal in the 79th minute.
Teed up by Broich, Franjic's stunning right-footed curler beat Sky Blue goalkeeper Ivan Necevski and flew just inside the far post from the edge of the box.
Sydney's consolation goal came in the 84th minute when Del Piero scored a penalty won by strike partner Joel Griffiths after he was fouled by James Donachie.
Brisbane will now face either Melbourne Victory or Adelaide United in the first week of the finals series, depending on the rest of the Round 27 results.
"I'm very proud of the boys," Head Coach Mike Mulvey said in the post-match press conference.
"Since I've come in, we've had our moments but tonight is something they can take great credit for.
"They deserve it, they've earned it and we're focused now, we're ready."
Brisbane Roar 3 (Besart BERISHA 29', Steven LUSTICA 51', Ivan FRANJIC 79')
Sydney FC 1 (Alessandro DEL PIERO (pen)84')
Thursday, 28 March at 7pm
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Peter Green
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO (gk), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 7. Besart BERISHA, 13. Jade NORTH, 14. Steven LUSTICA (8. Massimo MURDOCCA 76'), 15. James DONACHIE, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Jack HINGERT (11. Ben HALLORAN 82'), 22. Thomas BROICH (c)
Substitutes not used: 9. Stefan NIJLAND, 20. Matt ACTON (gk)
Yellow cards: Michael THEO 85'
Red cards: Nil
Sydney FC: 1. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 8. Adam GRIFFITHS, 10. Alessandro DEL PIERO, 13. Tiago CALVANO, 15. Terry McFLYNN (c) (3. FABIO 62'), 17. Terry ANTONIS (21. Yairo YAU 56'), 21. Ali ABBAS (16. Joel CHIANESE 55'), 23. Rhyan GRANT, 26. Peter TRIANTIS, 29. Joel GRIFFITHS
Substitutes not used: 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk),
Yellow cards: Peter TRIANTIS 32', Rhyan GRANT 54', Adam GRIFFITHS 70', Thiago CALVANO 79'
Red cards:< /b>Nil