Roar edge out Phoenix

A classy right-foot finish from Kosta Barbarouses has given the Brisbane Roar a 1-0 victory over the previously undefeated Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

A classy right-foot finish from Kosta Barbarouses has given the Brisbane Roar a 1-0 victory over the previously undefeated Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

The Roar had plenty of chances throughout the contest, but again struggled to find a finish, essentially keeping the counter-attacking and always-dangerous Phoenix in the contest.

Eventually though, Barbarouses, who couldn’t break into Wellington’s starting side in his time at the club, provided the defining moment, sending the Brisbane crowd into raptures with his game-winning strike.

Earlier in the week the 20-year-old Kiwi striker had talked down the significance of his first outing against the Phoenix, but in the post-match press conference coach Ange Postecoglou suggested his match-winning goal would hold some added personal value.

“He took his goal really well and I was super happy with him,” said Postecoglou.

“He’s worked very hard and a goal against his old team really caps it off.”

While Postecoglou was pleased with his side’s resilience and unconcerned with the lack of goals, Wellington coach Ricki Herbert was taking some positives out of the game as well.

“We got things going well in the second half, and for their keeper to get man-of-the-match means we must have done some things right,” said Herbert.

At home for the second time in less than a week, the Roar were looking for a repeat of their dominant showing against Sydney FC last Saturday, and were immediately on the offensive.

Henrique had a shot on goal in the third minute which was deflected wide by Phoenix keeper Mark Paston. From the following corner Erik Paartalu had a strong header sail over the bar.

Within 20 minutes the Roar had earned themselves four corners and the lion’s share of possession, but time and again the Phoenix defence did enough to disrupt the last pass and frustrate the Brisbane forwards.

With Brisbane being kept out despite a wealth of opportunities, it was very nearly Wellington who were first on the board.

From a rare first-half corner, Macallister rose above the pack to head towards goal, where Chris Greenacre’s late deflection was only kept out by a reflex save from the ever-reliable Michael Theoklitos.

Mitch Nichols’ 2011 white-line fever was in full evidence in the 41st minute. The recipient of a clever back heel from Barbarouses, Nichols broke free to go one-on-one with Mark Paston, but his tame effort thudded straight into the Phoenix keeper’s chest.

Incredibly, Nichols’ point-blank miss was matched just moments later by Thomas Broich when he too hit the keeper after being played in for an unmarked shot by Henrique.

Wellington returned from the break with renewed purpose, and after enjoying the first half momentum Brisbane looked a different side when forced to defend.

Phoenix striker Paul Ifill began to show his class in the second half and with a skilful turn in the 60th gave him his first real chance to threaten the Brisbane goal.

The Roar’s short offensive-lull was brought to an abrupt end in the 73rd minute when a fine build-up and clever touch from Matt McKay gave Barbarouses the space to fire past Paston.

An enthused goal celebration from the Roar was followed by some nervous moments in defence, as the Phoenix, having a much stronger half, fought for an equaliser right to the death.

In an encouraging sign for Brisbane, Brazilian striker Reinaldo looked fit and dangerous in his return from a hamstring injury, after replacing Barbarouses towards the end of the second half.

Brisbane Roar 1 (Barbarouses 73)
Wellington Phoenix 0