A brilliant solo effort from Ivan Franjic has given Brisbane Roar a share of the points as they played out a fast-paced 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
Victory created the more clear-cut chances of the opening half, denied twice by reactive saves from Roar goalkeeper Michael Theo, while Brisbane characteristically had the lion's share of possession over the course of the 90 minutes.
In the 11th minute, the visitors took the lead against the run of play, Archie Thompson playing provider to Leigh Broxham who headed home after out jumping Ivan Franjic inside the area.
Stand-in Roar skipper Thomas Broich looked the man most likely to make a difference for his side, his fancy footwork on show as he worked his way towards goal on a number of occasions but unfortunately for the Suncorp Stadium faithful, his shooting was just off target.
Theo kept his side in the contest with a point-blank save on the half-hour mark, stopping Daniel Mullen's connection with a Marco Rojas free-kick from ending up in the back of the net.
The Brisbane custodian was again the hero for his side as half-time approached, quick to react and smother a shot from Thompson who latched onto a wicked through ball from Rojas on the right flank.
Roar had the better start to the second half and soon found themselves level when right-back-turned-attacker Franjic scored a contender for goal of the season.
He beat the offside trap as Luke Brattan struck the ball forward, finding himself one-on-one with Nathan Coe as he ran at pace towards goal before sliding the ball through the legs of the Victory goalkeeper to raise a massive cheer from the crowd.
Head Coach Mike Mulvey threw attacking duo Henrique and Ben Halloran on with 15 minutes remaining as Brisbane continued to heap pressure on the Victory defence.
The final chance of the match came in the form of a stunning long-range effort from Halloran - who scored the winner against Adelaide United away from home last week - only to be denied by a equally impressive save from Coe between the posts.
“I’m very pleased with the way we tried to play the game,” Mulvey said in the post-match press conference.
“To be fair, we could have been out of sight at half-time - Michael [Theo] made two fantastic saves and I said to him at half-time that he earned us something out of this game.
“That was proven right in the second half because we got the goal back.”
Brisbane Roar 1 (Ivan FRANJIC 59')
Melbourne Victory 1 (Leigh BROXHAM 11')
Saturday, 9 March 2013
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Peter Green
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO (gk), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 7. Besart BERISHA, 9. Stefan NIJLAND (10. HENRIQUE 75'), 13. Jade NORTH, 14. Steven LUSTICA (17. Mitch NICHOLS 60'), 15. James DONACHIE, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Jack HINGERT (11. Ben HALLORAN 75'), 22. Thomas BROICH
Substitutes not used: 20. Matt ACTON
Yellow cards: Luke BRATTAN 63', Ben HALLORAN 90+3'
Red cards: Nil
Melbourne Victory: 3. Adama TRAORE (21. Spase DILEVSKI 67'), 5. Mark MILLIGAN, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 10. Archie THOMPSON, 11. Marco ROJAS, 14. Billy CELESKI, 23. Adrian LEIJER (c), 31. Scott GALLAWAY, 32. Connor PAIN (22. Jesse MAKAROUNAS 90'), 33. Daniel MULLEN, 39. Nathan COE (gk)
Substitutes not used: 1. Tando VELAPHI (gk), 26. Andrew NABBOUT
Yellow cards: Mark MILLIGAN 60', Adrian LEIJER 84', Leigh BROXHAM 90+1
Red cards: Nil