Sydney FC have jumped to the top of the A-League table by upsetting defending champions Brisbane Roar 2-0 at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane have started their A-League title defence with their worst losing streak in three seasons after being sunk by two Sydney FC wonder goals at Suncorp Stadium.
The Sky Blues punished a sloppy Brisbane with a deserved 2-0 upset on Friday night, highlighted by a Marc Janko super-strike for one of the best goals in the competition’s 10-season history.
Austrian captain Janko left the 14,141-strong crowd dumbstruck in the 28th minute by pouncing on a poor clearance by Roar goalkeeper Jamie Young, chesting the ball high before thumping the 35m volley into the left-side netting to embarrass Young.
Not to be outdone, Serbian midfielder Milos Dimitrijevic produced a long-range screamer of his own in the second half to ensure Sydney took all three points home and jump to the top of the table.
Backing up from their extra-time FFA Cup quarter-final on Tuesday, it was the Sky Blues who looked to have more energy and punch than the home side.
The Roar appeared rattled by a pre-game mishap to Johnny Warren Medallist Thomas Broich who sustained a painful blow behind his left thigh in the warm-up.
Broich copped a stray knee from Albanian striker Mensur Kurtisi in a close-quarters drill and spent several minutes receiving treatment before gaining the green light to play.
The gutsy German, who played every minute of every match in the Roar’s title charge last season, was well off his best and limped through the second half as his side failed to penetrate Sydney’s defence.
In what was an uncharacteristic performance, Brisbane often resorted to long balls rather than keeping faith in their slick passing game.
Turnovers and poor clearances were more the order of the day and the champions could easily have conceded more goals from their mistakes.
Not since their second title win in 2011-12 – when Brisbane suffered a five-loss mid-season slump – have they lost three games in a row.
While Sydney’s win was thoroughly deserved, the Roar were fuming after referee Peter Green didn’t award a penalty in the 52nd minute when Alex Brosque appeared to handball inside the box.
Two minutes later, an unsuspecting Green blocked a Roar clearance and allowed play to go on for a Brosque-Dimitrijevic 1-2 which ended with the Serb curling his beautiful 25m shot over an out-of-position Young.
The last-placed Roar join the defunct North Queensland Fury (2009-10) as the only team to start a season with three straight losses.
Proud Sydney coach Graham Arnold revealed the last goal came as a result of instructions to lob Young as he detected the former England stopper often stood well off his line.
“He’s a fair way off his line, we noticed it against Perth Glory because we analysed that,” Arnold said.
“I told (Dimitrijevic and Terry Antonis) if they had a chance from 30 yards to try and clip the cross-bar because he’s always seven or eight yards off his line, and if he’s not going to expect it that’s going to happen.
“I thought we were excellent tonight and I’m very proud of the character we showed. It was our third game in six days and the effort levels were enormous.”
Arnold admitted he couldn’t recall any better A-League goals than Janko’s “off the top of my head”.
“And we haven’t seen anything near the best of him yet,” he said. “If you see him at training, he’s just frightening at times.”
Roar coach Mike Mulvey said the pain of defeat – their first in 10 games against Sydney at home dating back to 2007 – hurt his side more due to the “State of Origin” emotions surrounding the clash.
A disappointed Mulvey downplayed the injury to Broich, who played out the match.
He admitted his side was off their game but wouldn’t be panicking as they aim to use a two-week break to get their title defence back on track.