Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey believes his side were hard done by in their 2-1 A-League season opening loss to Adelaide United at Suncorp Stadium.

They may be a “no excuses” team but Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey found it hard to stick to the team mantra after a horror start to their A-League title defence.

Matt McKay was sensationally sent off in the 72nd minute before Henrique was controversially denied a stoppage time penalty as Brisbane were upset 2-1 by Adelaide United at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

Mulvey kept his emotions in check post-match.

But he did claim they were “hard done by”, especially when Tarek Elrich was not penalised for his effort that denied Henrique what would have been a stoppage time equaliser just metres from goal.

“I was surprised we didn’t get a penalty for that,” he said.

“If that was a tackle anywhere else on the field it’s a foul.

“We are not about excuses but there are laws that we play within and I thought we were hard done by.”

Mulvey was also left scratching his head over McKay’s send-off by referee Ben Williams for dissent.

Socceroos midfielder McKay earned the ire of Williams after arguing over a perceived foul, receiving a yellow then a straight red card.

“All I will say is that I have known Matt for 15 years, I have never ever seen him upset,” Mulvey said.

“So something has upset him. I will leave that up to you.”

Life appeared tough enough for the Roar as they vied for a fourth title in five seasons without gun striker Besart Berisha (Melbourne Victory), Socceroos defender Ivan Franjic (Russia) and ‘keeper Michael Theo (broken wrist).

But the Roar will now have to regroup again without their Socceroos midfielder before heading to Perth for Sunday’s clash with the Glory.

Former England Youth international Jamie Young initially impressed replacing Theo – out for another five weeks.

But he had no answer to Bruce Djite’s 33rd minute wonderstrike from 25m.

And Young could only throw his hands up in despair after teammate James Donachie scored an own goal from Sergio Cirio’s 56th minute cross.

Regular centre back Donachie is attempting to fill the big shoes left behind by right back Franjic.

Cynics wondering how Brisbane would score without Berisha were answered in the 20th minute by German maestro Thomas Broich who somehow threaded a free kick through a crowded goalmouth and into the far corner.

Henrique offered plenty off the bench in the final 20 minutes while Berisha’s replacement Mensur Kurtishi had some nice touches.

“I thought we were the better team today,” Mulvey said.

“We were worthy of at least a point.”

Adelaide United coach Josep Gombau was beaming after his side notched their second win in three weeks over the defending champions following their FFA Cup 2-0 triumph.

“I am satisfied,” he said.