Brisbane Roar have wrapped up their 2012 season with an entertaining 1-1 draw with Beijing Guoan at Brisbane Stadium tonight.
Two early strikes set the tone for the AFC Champions League fixture which could have easily seen plenty more goals, if a little bit more luck was on the side of Rado Vidosic and his team.
After a rusty first 15 minutes, Besart Berisha and Mitch Nichols made amends for two almost identical off-target headers by combining with the in-favour Kofi Danning for the match’s opening goal.
Nichols’ clean pass through the Beijing defence required just the first time touch from Danning, who in turn set up a confident, left-footed finish from his Albanian strike partner.
Five minutes later, Berisha almost made it two when Danning outpaced Xu Wu and sent in a similar delivery into the penalty box but the ball ended up the wrong side of the upright.
With arguably five clear cut chances in front of goal and an overwhelming hold on the possession statistics, Brisbane were unlucky to find themselves on level terms just after the half hour mark although the classy strike from Li Hanbo was well worthy of the continental stage.
The chances to add to their goal tally were coming thick and fast for the Roar in the second half - Danning looking particularly lively in the final third.
Massimo Murdocca forcing a diving save from Bai Xiaolei in the 68th minute before the Beijing ‘keeper did well to deny an Erik Paartalu header from point blank range two minutes later.
With just moments remaining on the clock, Brisbane were doing all they could to find the elusive second goal to secure their maiden win in the AFC Champions League campaign.
Most notably, substitute James Meyer’s shot taking a wicked deflection before Berisha’s powerful strike bounced agonisingly off the woodwork to end a frustrating second period for the Hyundai A-League Champions.
Despite not taking all three points, Rado Vidosic was pleased with the performance of his players.
“I’m very proud of the boys, they came here tonight and played for the colours of our club,” he said.
“They gave everything they had and you saw at the end, physically, we looked much, much stronger than our opponents.”
Brisbane Roar 1 (Besart BERISHA 15’)
Beijing Guoan 1 (LI Hanbao 34’)
Wednesday, 16 May 2012
Brisbane Stadium, Milton, Brisbane
Referee: Ali ALBADWAWI (UAE)
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk) (C), 4. Matthew JURMAN, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU (18. Luke BRATTAN 81’), 7. Besart BERISHA, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Kofi DANNING, 16. Sayed Mohamed ADNAN, 17. Mitch NICHOLS (21. James MEYER 76’), 22. Thomas BROICH, 26. Corey BROWN
Substitutes Not Used: 14. Rocky VISCONTE, , 24. Nick FITZGERALD, 25. George LAMBADARIDIS, 27. James DONACHIE, 30. Matthew ACTON
Yellow cards: Mitch NICHOLS 32’, Besart BERISHA 39’, Ivan FRANJIC 41’
Red cards: Nil
Beijing Guoan: 1. YU Yang, 10. ZHANG Xizhe, 14. YANG Yun, 16. ZHANG Xiaobin (33. MAO Jianqing 77’), 17. XU Wu, 18. LANG Zheng, 21. ZHU Yifan, 24. LI Hanbo (7. WANG Changqing 74’), 25. JAIO Zhe, 29. SHAO Jiayi (c) (15. ANDRIJA Kaluderovic 50’), 36. BAI Xiaolei (gk)
Substitutes Not Used: 12. HOU Sen, 13. XU Yunlong, 20. ZHANG Xinxin, 28. ZHANG Jian,
Yellow cards: XU Wu 17’, JIAO Zhe 41’
Red cards: Nil