Brisbane Roar came from behind to claim a 2-1 A-League victory over Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Friday night courtesy of a double to striker Besart Berisha.
The Reds took a shock lead on seven minutes, relentless forward pressure resulting in Osama Malik pouncing on a loose ball from a corner to head home from close range.
The Roar weren’t at their best but managed to equalise in the 21st minute when Berisha converted a penalty.
Brisbane’s hitman then sunk Adelaide hearts when he snatched the winner and his fifth goal of the season for the league leaders with a fortunate finish in the 72nd minute.
With the Roar pinned in their own half under a flurry of attacks, United opened the scoring when Marcelo Carrusca’s in-swinging corner caused a goalmouth scramble at the near post before the ball squeezed out for an unmarked Malik to score.
The visitors struggled to break through Adelaide’s high press until they were gifted a chance to equalise midway through the first half.
Roar skipper Matt McKay’s throw released Corey Brown into the visitors’ box where Reds defender Tarek Elrich brought down the teenager with a clumsy challenge.
Berisha stepped up for the spot-kick and sent Reds captain Eugene Galekovic the wrong way to level proceedings.
Sergio Cirio then wasted back-to-back chances for the Reds with both of the Spanish attacker’s efforts drifting inches wide.
The Roar continued to ride their luck when ‘keeper Matt Acton spared the blushes of his defence just before the half.
He produced a brilliant save to deny Fabio Ferreira from close range after a failed clearance had ricocheted into the path of the Reds winger.
Berisha secured a seventh win for the Roar in the second stanza when he slithered his way past two United defenders before tumbling down and getting the slightest of touches to poke the ball past Galekovic.
Cirio and Jeronimo both fluffed chances late to snatch a point for the home side before referee Peter O’Leary waved away desperate pleas for a United penalty at the death.
Brisbane are six points ahead of Western Sydney and Sydney FC on top of the table, although that margin could be halved should either of those sides win on Saturday.
Adelaide, meanwhile, sit third from the bottom after winning just one of their first nine games of the season.
Elsewhere, Perth Glory winger Sidnei scored a brace to lift his side to a 4-2 win over A-League strugglers Wellington Phoenix at nib Stadium.
Perth were facing their third loss on the trot when goals to Stein Huysegems and Paul Ifill put Wellington 2-1 up after Sidnei’s early thunderbolt.
Glory defender Michael Thwaite put the home side back on even terms in the 60th minute and Perth were back in front when substitute Adrian Zahra scored in the 82nd minute.
The win was completed in stoppage time when Wellington goalkeeper Glenn Moss made a howler of a mistake, fumbling a long-range drive from Sidnei that should have been easily saved.
Referee Matthew Gillett was also left red faced when he gave Phoenix midfielder Albert Riera his marching orders in the 72nd minute after showing him what he thought was a second yellow card.
However, Phoenix players were quick to inform Gillett that he had confused Riera with Louis Fenton, who had received a yellow earlier in the match.
Riera was recalled but substituted a short time later.