Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Australia: Mariners pay the penalty as Brisbane seal maiden title

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on March 13, 2011

Hyundai A-League logoAs a Knight of the Realm once famously uttered, “football. Bloody hell!” One could be forgiven for thinking the same thing after watching the climax to the 2010-11 Hyundai A-League campaign. Central Coast Mariners, who had already lost in two previous Grand Finals, were just four minutes away from making it third time lucky after enjoying a 2-0 lead in extra-time only to see Brisbane Roar come back from the dead to take the game into a penalty shoot-out in which they claimed their maiden championship.

A capacity crowd of 50,000 were at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane to see a clash between the top two teams in this season’s Hyundai A-League fight it out for the title. Brisbane Roar had lost just one game all season and were determined not to let their home supporters down when it mattered most. Central Coast, after being defeated once already by Brisbane in the Play-Offs, were hoping that lightening wouldn’t strike twice and it was perhaps no surprise that the ninety minutes of normal time ended in a stalemate despite each team enjoying at least one period of sustained attacking pressure on their opponents. However the game would really come alive once it re-started for the extra-time period and when Central Coast went ahead through Adam Kwasnik on 96 minutes the visitors were in total control. Oliver Bozanic doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time and it looked like the home side had blown their big chance to cap a truly wonderful season.

But the Regular Season table-toppers were made of tougher stuff and showed the spirit of true champions with two goals in the last four minutes of extra-time. Brazilian crowd favourite Henrique pulled a goal back in the 117th minute when his shot from the edge of the box was too hot for Mariners keeper Matthew Ryan to handle. Then, with the very last opportunity of the game, a corner was whipped across the face of goal and was headed home by Erik Paartalu. The tide had turned dramatically and so the match went to the lottery of a penalty shoot-out. Both sides were 100% successful with their first two spot kicks but it would be Central Coast who would miss first after Daniel McBreen’s kick was saved by Roar keeper Michael Theoklitos. After Daniel McKay gave the Roar a 3-2 lead it was Theoklitos’ turn to be the hero once more when stopping Pedja Bojić’s penalty. This allowed Henrique to steer home the winning penalty and seal a 4-2 shoot-out victory for Brisbane who can now add the Grand Final trophy to the Premiership which was won last month to become the third different club, along with Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC, to do the domestic double.

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