Roar wins drama-filled decider
Besart Berisha celebrates his winning goal. Photo: Getty Images
Brisbane Roar will go down as one of the A-League's most dominant sides but it seems nothing is taken for granted by the team in season deciders.
Last season the Roar famously came back from 2-0 down in extra-time to down Central Coast in a dramatic penalty shootout.
It was a hard act to follow - but the Roar did its darndest in front of yet another sold-out Suncorp Stadium last night.
Shattered ... Perth Glory skipper Jacob Burns. Photo: Getty Images
Yet as well as it played, the Roar became the first team to win back-to back A-League titles thanks to a controversial call from referee Jarred Gillett in stoppage time.
Momentum appeared to be going the Roar's way when Besart Berisha created something from nothing, scoring with a well-timed header off an innocuous cross from German talisman Thomas Broich in the 84th minute to cancel out an Ivan Franjic own goal in the 51st minute.
But nothing could prepare anyone for what was to come.
Just when the Roar looked to have locked in another extra-time grand final nailbiter, Berisha threatened in front of goal only to airswing before falling to the ground.
Somehow Gillett saw a foul on Berisha, who proceeded to convert the matchwinner from the penalty spot as the majority of the packed Suncorp Stadium went nuts for a second straight season.
Burns and his teammates immediately remonstrated with Gillett in the madhouse moments before and after the Albanian international slotted home the winner.
A gutted Burns struggled to control his anger immediately after the match, saying: ''I feel like I've been robbed there with the decision. It cost us the grand final.''
At his post-match press conference Burns said Berisha admitted to him on the field that it wasn't a penalty.
But the A-League's Golden Boot denied uttering any sort of admission and insisted contact was made on him by Liam Miller in the box and Gillett made the right call.
''There was contact,'' Berisha said. ''It was a penalty. I don't care what Jacob Burns said.''
Roar coach Ange Postecoglou admitted his side enjoyed the rub of the green at the death but stressed it shouldn't detract from its achievement.
Reportedly on the brink of signing with Melbourne Victory, Postecoglou said the defending champion was once again rewarded for attacking until the death.
The victory made Postecoglou the most successful coach in Australian domestic soccer history with four national titles from four grand finals.
But Perth looked set to pull off the A-League's biggest grand final upset when it went ahead 1-0 through an own goal by Roar defender Ivan Franjic.
Billy Mehmet produced a fine run through the middle of the ground before finding Travis Dodd out on the right and the veteran fired in two crosses, the second of which deflected off a shattered Franjic.
With Burns and goalkeeper Danny Vukovic standing tallest of all, the Glory repelled the Roar until the 84th minute when Berisha headed home a superb cross by Thomas Broich.
The pain of the loss was amplified for Perth star Shane Smeltz as he was forced to have plastic surgery in a Brisbane hospital last night.
Smeltz copped an accidental elbow from Roar skipper Matt Smith in the 15th minute which saw his skin split from his nose to his lip and also inside his mouth.
Play was stopped for four minutes as Glory medics attempted to stem the bleeding as he was treated on the field. AAP