Goals to Steven Lustica and Besart Berisha has helped Brisbane Roar to three points over Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium this afternoon.
Playing their third game in eight days, Brisbane scored once in each half – Lustica’s first goal for the club and Berisha’s 12th goal of the campaign – to jump to seventh place on the Hyundai A-League ladder.
National Youth League striker Kwame Yeboah was a late inclusion in the Brisbane Roar squad after Mitch Nichols failed a fitness test on a tight hamstring in the warm-up while Stef Nijland dropped to the bench and Massimo Murdocca returned after two weeks out with an ankle injury.
Wellington constructed the first chance of the match in the eighth minute when Tony Lochhead delivered a cross into the box and striker Corey Gamiero’s second header attempt eventually ended up in the back of the net.
However, the goal was disallowed after referee Alan Milliner consulted with his assistant – the officials spotting a foul on Roar defender Jade North by Gameiro in the build-up.
Neither side were creating chances in the attacking third with opportunities in front of goal few and far between until just after the half-hour mark when Brisbane took the lead through Steven Lustica.
Captain Thomas Broich and Shane Stefanutto combined down the left wing allowing the full-back to edge his way into the penalty area and deliver a clean pass to unmarked Lustica, who calmly slotted his left-footed strike past Glen Moss in the Phoenix goal.
Besart Berisha doubled Brisbane’s lead just after the break, releasing a powerful strike past Moss after a cheap turnover from Wellington substitute Dani Sanchez allowed Luke Brattan to quickly play the Albanian striker in at the top of the penalty area.
Broich almost had the Suncorp Stadium crowd on their feet again in the 63rd minute, turning inside a throw in from Stefanutto and unleashing a dipping volley that whistled just high of the crossbar.
Late in the game, Brisbane’s Corey Brown almost created a third for his side when he chipped the ball over the outcoming Phoenix goalkeeper Moss, giving himself space to cross into the box but fellow substitute Stef Nijland failed to get a clean touch on the delivery.
Yeboah made his Hyundai A-League debut in the 90th minute, replacing goal scorer Besart Berisha at the pointy end of the Roar’s attack, but it was Dutch playmaker Nijland who went closest to adding to Brisbane’s goal tally when he forced a quick save from Moss deep into injury time.
Newly-appointed Head Coach Mike Mulvey praised the determination of his side, especially given the arduous travel to Thailand for an AFC Champions League qualifier during the week.
“It was a very important result and it’s been on the end of a lot of travel,” Mulvey said.
“I think it’s fair to say we were on the move for 18 hours there and 18 hours back so it’s takes a lot out of you but I can’t speak highly enough of the effort the boys put in today because it was very tough.
“We had bodies that were sore but they toughed it out and I was very pleased with their effort.”
Brisbane Roar 2 (Steven LUSTICA 33’, Besart BERISHA 49’)
Wellington Phoenix 0
Sunday, 17 February 2013
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 4pm AEST
Referee: Alan Milliner
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO (gk), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 7. Besart BERISHA (29. Kwame YEBOAH 90’), 8. Massimo MURDOCCA (9. Stef NIJLAND 73’), 11. Ben HALLORAN, 13. Jade NORTH (26. Corey BROWN 78’), 14. Steven LUSTICA, 15. James DONACHIE, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Jack HINGERT, 22. Thomas BROICH (c)
Substitutes not used: 20. Matt ACTON (gk)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
Wellington Phoenix: 2. Emmanuel MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Isaka CERNAK (21. Daniel SANCHEZ 27’), 8. Paul IFILL (10. Stein HUYSEGEMS 63’), 12. Tyler BOYD, 16. Louis FENTON, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 20. Glen MOSS (gk), 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Corey GAMEIRO
Substitutes not used: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 7. Leo BERTOS
Yellow cards: Corey GAMEIRO 38’, Ben SIGMUND 74’, Daniel SANCHEZ 83’
Red cards: Nil