Popovic reacts to Santa sending off

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic praised the resilience of his side after they fought back from a goal down and withstood a late sending off to claim a 1-1 draw against Brisbane on Friday night.

Roar have only been beaten at Suncorp Stadium once in the last two seasons and looked well on their way to another three points when Corey Brown put them ahead in the second half with a cracking volley.

However Western Sydney captain Dimas pulled his side level with a superb strike of his own from a set-piece – atoning for last week’s poor effort from the penalty spot.

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“Our away record has been very good. That again was a good performance, fighting spirit,” Popovic told Fox Sports post-match.

“You go down a goal here in Brisbane, many teams have found it very difficult to come back from that and we showed a lot of spirit, a lot of fight.

“In the end we had some chances there where we could’ve won it.”


The best of those chances fell to substitute Brendon Santalab who certainly looked to impose himself on the contest when he was deployed just after the hour mark.

The striker received a caution from the referee just a minute after coming onto the pitch for a rough aerial challenge on Roar midfielder Thomas Kristensen.

When Santalab became involved in a second incident at the death, where he again made contact with an opponent’s face with his arm he was sent from the field.

“It was hard to see, Jade [North] blocked his run and I think the arms were all over the place,” said Popovic when asked about the incident.

“The linesman deemed that as a straight red so we have to deal with that.”

The point sees to Wanderers move back into the top six following their seventh draw of the season and they’ll now look forward to hosting Perth Glory on New Year’s Day.

Tony Popovic

Western Sydney will be without Santalab for the clash so Popovic may well turn to youth again after he made a number of changes to his starting side for the Round 12 opener.

“We had three 20-year-old’s on the field here in Brisbane so I don’t think this club has any fear of who they play,” said Popovic.

“We held our own, there weren’t many chances in the game. It’s very difficult when you play on a pitch like that for both teams.

“It’s very difficult to play football but we fought hard, we stayed in the game.”