An injury-time winner from Marco Rojas gave Melbourne Victory a last-gasp 2-1 A-League victory over Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.
The Reds struck the upright twice in the dying minutes on Saturday night when the scores were locked a 1-1 before Rojas popped up in the 93rd minute to pinch victory for the visitors with virtually the last kick of the match.
Melbourne opened the scoring with a swiftly executed counter against the run of play.
Rojas tore down the right wing after being released by Carl Valeri and supplied a perfect ball to Besart Berisha, who took a touch, beat defender Dylan McGowan and slotted his shot past Eugene Galekovic on 20 minutes.
United equalised in the 68th minute thanks to brilliant curling from Tarek Elrich, who raced to a quickly taken free kick and turned inside before picking out the top corner with his left foot.
Victory had the final say when Rojas knocked the ball home from six yards deep into stoppage time.
Adelaide United coach Guillermo Amor lamented the Reds’ missed opportunities and said his team should have come away from the match with more.
“When you don’t win you can think a lot of things,” he said. “But it’s true that today I think the team deserved more, deserved a better result.”
Victory coach Kevin Muscat was pleased to take all three points and praised the quality of the football from both teams.
“The players, credit to them showed some real character and some real confidence,” he said.
“It was a tough night. The intensity from both teams on a good surface was sky high.”
Earlier in the evening Brisbane coach John Aloisi got the response he wanted after last week’s flogging against Newcastle.
A first half strike from Thomas Kristensen ensured his team registered its first of the season, a 1-0 win over Central Coast.
“The important thing is to have that intensity from the start and we had that,” Aloisi said.
“We matched them with that today because they came out hard and they made it difficult for us. Last week we didn’t feel we had that.”
However Aloisi did rue a 19-6 shots count that could’ve saved him and the club’s fans a nervy finish against a stubborn Mariners side that never threw in the towel.
“The only thing we’re disappointed in is we didn’t kill off the game earlier because we had those of the opportunities. But all in all it was a good reaction from the players,” Aloisi said.
The loss keeps Central Coast without a win this season and extends its winless run to 13.
Brisbane had to survive a handball shout on Luke De Vere, the third time in as many weeks the Mariners were unfortunate not to receive a penalty.
“The fourth official told me, he was told that it wasn’t a penalty last week. I’m going to have to study the rule book. I honestly don’t know,” Mariners coach Paul Okon said.
“I’ve asked people who are referees if your hands are in an unnatural position, and the ball hits it, it’s a penalty. This may not be an unnatural position anymore.”
– with AAP