Brisbane Roar were made to work late in a 2-1 win over Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Roar were cruising to victory with a two-goal advantage thanks to a pair of second-half goals to Henry Hore and Jay O’Shea, but a 94th-minute header from Aleksandar Šušnjar made things interesting late in the piece.
The hosts managed to see out the rest of additional time to collect three points and jump into fourth spot on the Isuzu UTE A-League table.
Cameron Cook was once again named to start in goal for Glory ahead of high-profile off-season signing Oli Sail, and he got to work early with a reaction save to deny Florin Berenguer a near-certain goal.
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Brisbane took command in the first half but in truth it was bereft of many chances, highlighted by a curling O’Shea strike from outside the box that bent just wide of the bottom-right corner, and a close-range opportunity for Mileusnic who had cut off his right foot and onto his left, sending Šušnjar to ground before calling Cook into another smart save.
Teenage Roar striker Thomas Waddingham burst into life shortly after half-time. The 18-year-old pounced on Darryl Lachman in the box to win possession off the feet of the Glory defender, then attempted to rifle a left-footed strike from a tight angle past Cook at his near post; Cook stood tall to repel the ball and keep the score locked at 0-0.
But Brisbane’s pressure would eventually take its toll on Perth, with determined midfield play from both Berenguer and O’Shea setting up Hore to score the opener.
Berenguer collected the ball on the right wing, nutmegging Mark Beevers before poking the ball into O’Shea’s path, who brushed Oli Bozanic to the deck in a strong duel, winning possession and playing Hore down the right side of the penalty area to convert from a tight angle.
Glory responded well after conceding. Shortly after coming off the bench, Stefan Colakovski stung the gloves of Macklin Freke with an ambitious volley, before a Jarrod Carluccio attempt from distance that drifted just wide of the mark.
Perth’s impressive reaction ultimately came to nothing as O’Shea doubled the lead. His first attempt from the edge of the area was blocked en route to goal, but O’Shea gathered the rebound to bury Brisbane’s second goal of the afternoon into the back of the net off his non-preferred left boot.
Waddingham wasted a wonderful chance to put Brisbane out of sight, firing wide of the mark in a one-on-one from a slight angle – then, late in stoppage time, came a goal against the grain from Šušnjar gave Glory a glimmer of hope.
Šušnjar’s goal came after a free-kick from Aaron McEneff which rattled the crossbar, falling into the Glory defender’s path for a header into an open net.
Brisbane wrapped up the 2-1 win after five minutes of extra time to move into third spot on the table, before a win to Adelaide United later in the afternoon bumped Aloisi’s team back down to fourth.
Up next for Brisbane is a home clash with league-leaders Western Sydney at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, December 1 while Perth continue their road trip, venturing to Allianz Stadium to take on Sydney FC on Saturday, December 2.
More to come…
It was another productive afternoon in the Isuzu UTE A-League for Jay O’Shea. The Irishman put a goal and assist on the board to give Roar the ascendancy in a game that called for a touch of class to be split open.
O’Shea put the responsibility on his shoulders, creating the opener for Henry Hore before bagging Brisbane’s second off his weaker left foot – and they needed it in the end, with Glory halving the deficit deep into stoppage time.
What they said
He may not have found the back of the net against Perth – but 18-year-old striker Thomas Waddingham put in yet another impressive performance for the Roar in his first season in the Isuzu UTE A-League.
Post-game, O’Shea was quick to heap praise on the teenager… who the Roar squad have repeatedly likened to Manchester City star Erling Haaland!
“He’s a machine,” O’Shea said.
“We’ve seen him in training every day. He’s left-footed, big, he presses. He’s excellent – and he’s added more to his game. He scores brilliant goals in training but his pressing, and even his hold-up play tonight.
“He’s playing up against experienced defenders and he’s holding them off and bringing players into play. I think he’s going to be some player.”
And as for that Haaland comparison?
“He loves it!” said O’Shea. “Who wouldn’t?”
The talking point
Defeat at Suncorp Stadium kept Perth Glory’s winless run on the road alive; the West Australian outfit haven’t won away from home since October of 2022.
Head coach Alen Stajcic needs to find a way to break that 13-month streak, and fast.
Glory have yet another away game on the cards next round against Sydney FC after consecutive defeats to Western Sydney and Brisbane.