A hobbling Luke Brattan scored an extra-time wonder goal for Brisbane Roar to secure the 2013-14 A-League premiership with an epic 1-0 win over Melbourne victory at Suncorp Stadium.
With the Victory holding on desperately, and goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas standing tall, Brattan unleashed a booming 25m strike to ensure his team could lift the premier’s plate on Saturday night for the second time in their history.
It was one minute and 40 seconds into extra time and the goal came after many were surprised the midfield linchpin returned for the second half after being badly troubled by a hip problem.
But it was the only shot that could get past Thomas, who had denied Brisbane eight times with quality saves after they’d thrown everything at the visitors in the pulsating encounter in front of 17,965 captivated fans.
The result puts Brisbane 12 points clear of second-placed Melbourne with three rounds to play, and seals a place in the Asian Champions League in 2015.
The trophy means the Roar also equal the Victory as the most successful club in the history of the A-League with two premierships and two championships.
The Roar enjoyed almost two-thirds of the possession and looked dangerous playing their up-tempo passing game but the Victory were equal to the challenge, and also had their chances.
Lawrence pulled off two successive diving saves from quick-fire shots by Henrique and Dimitri Petratos in the 11th minute.
He denied Liam Miller an even better chance after some slick one-touch football just two minutes later.
Thomas Broich and Matt McKay were a constant headache for the Victory’s right-side defence but it was the visitors who could have taken a surprise lead after two gilt-edged chances in the 35th minute.
Kosta Barbarouses was expertly shut down by Diogo Ferreira firstly before Roar keeper Michael Theo blocked a close-range shot by James Troisi.
Replacing the suspended Besart Berisha, Henrique was closely checked by Leigh Broxham who tested referee Peter Green’s patience and was given a yellow card (eighth for season) that forces him out of next weekend’s clash with Sydney FC.