Brisbane Roar overcame Besart Berisha’s first-half red card to secure a 0-0 draw against Perth Glory in Friday night’s A-League clash at nib Stadium.
Berisha was shown his second yellow card in the 31st minute when he raised his boot dangerously before clattering into Glory defender Michael Thwaite.
Circumstances were similar, and Thwaite again the victim, when Berisha copped his first yellow in the first minute of the match.
Despite going down to 10 men, Brisbane created the better opportunities in the match and were unlucky not to secure all three points.
The result put Brisbane five points clear on top of the table, although that gap will be narrowed to just two if Western Sydney can beat Adelaide on Sunday.
Perth, who entered the match on a two-game winning streak, stay fifth.
The 11,026 crowd roared in pleasure when the red card was shown to Berisha.
The feisty Albanian is enemy No.1 among Glory fans after he won a controversial penalty in Brisbane’s 2-1 grand final win over Perth in 2012.
He was in the thick of the action throughout his brief spell on Friday night but his dismissal left the Roar a man short for the second week running.
In last week’s 2-1 loss to Adelaide, defender Diogo Ferreira was sent off in the 41st minute.
Chances were few in the first half, but the Roar almost stole the lead on the stroke of half-time when Jack Hingert’s 29-metre free kick grazed the base of the upright and bounced away.
Henrique had a golden chance in the 46th minute when a beautiful through ball gave him a clear run on goal.
But with only goalkeeper Danny Vukovic to beat, Henrique sprayed his shot high.
Brisbane encountered a few nervy moments in the final 10 minutes of the match, but they managed to hold on to secure what could end up being a valuable point in the race for the minor premiership.
Star Roar midfielder Thomas Broich made it through the entire 90 minutes despite carrying a corked thigh while Glory’s international marquee William Gallas played out the first half in his first game back from a calf injury.
“I think they were better with 10. I would have preferred to play against 11,” Glory coach Kenny Lowe said.
“Fair play to them. That’s two weeks in a row where they’ve played with 10.
“I think Mike will have a bit of fun next week and play with nine.
“They’re a super team, with some super players. If I wasn’t screaming at my lads so much, I would have probably enjoyed that.”
Roar coach Mike Mulvey praised the spirit shown by his men.
“We don’t want to make a habit of playing with 10 players, but I just said to the players in there that we were wonderful in the second half,” Mulvey said.
“We went for the three points in the second half. We couldn’t quite get the finish that we wanted, but we certainly got the performance.”