League leaders Brisbane Roar have overcome a slow start to eventually haul in Melbourne Heart with a 2-1 result at AAMI Park this evening. Gerald Sibon gave the Heart an early lead with a well-struck goal in the 11th minute before the Roar leveled five minutes after the hour-mark through in-form striker Kosta Barbarouses who grabbed his fourth goal in his last three outings.
Brisbane should have taken all three points when they were awarded a 72nd minute penalty which was taken by Ivan Franjic but saved by Clint Bolton but they were able to come up with a winner when Jean Carlos Solorzano tapped in with two minutes left to put them four points clear of Adelaide United at the top of the table.
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne Crowd: 7,034 Referee: Ryan Shepheard Yellow cards:MH - Josip Skoko 53', Wayne Srhoj 73', Matt Thompson 76' BR - Thomas Broich 90'
Melbourne began in a positive fashion with the likes of John Aloisi and Gerald Sibon making a nuisance of themselves and a reward came early when right-back Michael Marrone made a strong down the flank. GOAL He was able to beat off competition from the Roar defence after being released by Adrian Zahra before he cut it back nicely for Sibon and the big Dutchman struck solidly from inside the area, forcing it past Brisbane keeper Michael Theoklitos to open the scoring in the 11th minute.
Brisbane didn't let the goal dissuade them too much but it almost went against them six minutes after the goal when Heart midfielder Josip Skoko played a low ball from the right for Rutger Worm whose diving header beat Theoklitos but fortunately for the visitors, cannoned into the upright before deflecting off the keeper and out for a corner.
After that piece of play, the Heart really started to show confidence and were again close to a second when Aloisi's 25th minute strike was cleared by the legs of Theoklitos. Five minutes later, Roar centre-half Luke DeVere made a optimistic run before forcing a good save from Heart gloveman Clint Bolton with an outside of the boot shot from the outer.
Worm was supplying plenty from the left flank for the home side but his delivery was being somewhat wasted by his fellow forwards as the Roar defence worked overtime to keep out a second.
Roar coach Ange Postecoglou made a few alterations with the back third at the half-time break, hooking Shane Stefanutto for Ivan Franjic and then swapping Milan Susak to left-back after he was comprehensively beaten by Worm in the opening 45 minutes.
The switch almost paid dividends when Franjic made a strong run down the right but Kosta Barbarouses' shot from the pass struck the side netting.
The match evened out in the following 15 minutes with neither side really testing out the opposition keeper until the visitors got themselves a leveler.
The GOAL in the 65th minute when Barbarouses played a smart give-and-go with substitute Mitch Nichols before finishing across Clint Bolton into the bottom left corner to make it 1-1 for his sixth of the season.
Less than seven minutes later, Brisbane were awarded a penalty when Marrone bundled into Jean Carlos Solorzano with what was a clumsy but safe challenge. Thankfully for the home side, Bolton came up with a save with the lower half of his body from Franjic's straight and hard spot kick.
GOAL The league leaders looked the more likely out of the two sides to get a winner and it came two minutes from time when Mitch Nichols played the ball to an advancing Franjic whose first-time shot struck the near upright before deflecting to Solorzano who tapped in from a yard to give his side maximum points.
MH Clint Bolton (gk), Michael Marrone, Michael Beauchamp, Matt Thompson, Rutger Worm, Gerald Sibon (Colosimo 68'), Wayne Srhoj, John Aloisi (Babalj 55'), Aziz Behich, Josip Skoko (Terra 61'), Adrian Zahra
Subs - Peter Zois (gk), Eli Babalj (55'), Alex Terra (61'), Simon Colosimo (68')
BR Michael Theoklitos (gk), Matt Smith, Luke DeVere, Shane Stefanutto (Franjic 46'), Erik Paartalu (Nichols 64'), Kosta Barbarouses, Massimo Murdocca, Jean Carlos Solorzano (90+1), Matt McKay, Thomas Broich, Milan Susak