The Brisbane Roar have clinched the A-League premiership thanks to a booming injury-time strike by injured midfielder Luke Brattan.
A hobbling Luke Brattan produced an extra-time wonder goal for Brisbane Roar to secure the 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 plate with three rounds to play.
It was one minute 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 before with clutch saves after they’d thrown everything at the visitors in the pulsating encounter in front of 17,965 fans.
The result seals a place in the Asian Champions League in 2015 and the trophy means the Roar also equal the Victory as the A-League’s most successful club with two premierships and two championships.
“It’s a remarkable achievement,” Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey said. “It’s a brilliant achievement to win top-of-the-league with three rounds to go.”
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.
Thomas Broich and Matt McKay were a constant headache for the Victory’s right-side defence but the visitors also had their chances through the nippy Kosta Barbarouses, while coach Kevin Muscat lamented two contentious off-side calls.
Brattan, who also scored a long-range match-winner against Wellington at Suncorp this season, convinced Mulvey he could play the second half despite team medics being worried about his injury.
“To be honest once Thomas passed to me I was always going to shoot,” he said.
“I just kept my head down and tried not to hit it too hard.
Mulvey, who turned the Roar around since replacing the axed Rado Vidosic midway through last season, said his men would celebrate the premiership but not ease off over the last three rounds.
“I thought that was a fantastic game of football tonight.
“That was two well-organised teams having a real go at each other.
“That was a great sign for Australian football.”
Gutted Victory coach Kevin Muscat tipped his hat to both the Roar, as deserving premiers, and his own leg-weary troops.
Muscat was particularly pleased with his patched-up defence which professionally withstood the Roar’s challenge in their fifth game, including two ACL encounters, in 16 days.
“Mixed among the severe disappointment, I’m thoroughly proud of the boys,” he said.
“Our structure was spot-on and really frustrated them but going the other way I thought we showed a real cutting edge and real threat going forward.
“It hurts more when you really believe you’ve done enough.”