Suncorp Stadium witnessed another incredible A-League Grand Final that saw Brisbane Roar take out the honours in front of 51,153 fans against Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday. The fantastic drama-packed spectacle provided brilliant theatre as it was a third late finish, in as many grand finals, that saw Brisbane Roar triumph once again.
Western Sydney had the slight advantage in the opening 15 minutes earning themselves a number of corners to put Brisbane’s defence under immediate pressure. Brisbane were being closed down quickly in midfield but were still looking very dangerous whenever they managed to get into the Wanderers’ final third.
Brisbane finally started to make an impact on the game with a good spell of possession that tested the Wanderers’ defence, although the latter’s tactical plan worked to their advantage nullifying Brisbane’s dangerous passing and movement.
A minute out from half time a deep cross that held up in the wind came back off the Wanderers’ cross bar, much to the relief of keeper Ante Covic, leaving the score 0-0 at half time.
The second half started with the Wanderers continuing to suffocate Brisbane’s play and Ono creating havoc on Brisbane’s defence. Broich was not to be outdone though as his quick movement and passing led to a couple of attempts on Western Sydney’s goal, but with no success.
A 65th minute corner was met at the near post by defender Mathew Spiranovic whose header gave Western Sydney a 1-0 lead, much to the delight of their travelling supporters.
Both coaches made a number of tactical changes during the next 10 minutes, the most notable being Shinji Ono coming off for a more defensive approach to close out the game.
Brisbane weren’t going to die wondering though and were huffing and puffing in the final 15 minutes until an 86th minute free kick was delivered perfectly by Broich to Besart Berisha for a nicely finished header to make it 1-1.
James Donachie replaced Luke Brattan in injury time to bolster the Brisbane defence as extra time loomed.
The beginning of extra time saw the Wanderers with a handful of shots on target, bringing the best out of Brisbane keeper Mike Theo. The game took another twist in the 19th minute of extra time as poor defending by the Wanderers allowed an unmarked Henrique to bury the ball past a hapless Covic to make it 2-1 to Brisbane Roar.
The Wanderers tried valiantly but without talismanic Ono they struggled to breach the Roar defence as the Queenslanders made it three grand final wins in the past four years to yet again stamp their mark on Australian football.
Brisbane Roar 2
Western Sydney Wanderers 1
Joe Marston Medal: Iacopo La Roca and Thomas Broich