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Brisbane Roar's extra-time victory breaks Western Sydney Wanderers' hearts

Jubilation: Brisbane Roar celebrate Henrique's match-winner against the Wanderers.

Jubilation: Brisbane Roar celebrate Henrique's match-winner against the Wanderers. Photo: Getty Images

Brisbane Roar have become the most successful club in A-League history by winning a third title in four years, shattering the hearts of the Western Sydney Wanderers after clinching an extra-time winner in another grand final that will be remembered as a classic.

There was a sense of history repeating as Brisbane went about making their own as they won yet another home decider in the most dramatic manner. They were just five minutes away from facing defeat to a brave Western Sydney side before departing hero Besart Berisha drew them level and another grand final hero of the past, Henrique, clinched another title by scoring an 108th-minute winner.

The coveted A-League ring was all but packed up in the Wanderers' luggage before Berisha's header squared the ledger minutes from time, in turn sapping the Wanderers morale and energy as the game headed into extra time. Over the course of two hours of football, Western Sydney were courageous, fierce and well organised but ultimately undone by a club the most exquisite brand of football in the country.

Wanderers fans arrive prior to the 2014 A-League Grand Final match between the Brisbane Roar and the Western Sydney Wanderers at Suncorp Stadium. Click for more photos

A-League Grand Final: Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers

Coverage from the Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers finals match. Photo: Getty Images

They were yet again left wondering what might have been after losing a second successive A-League grand final, and the fortitude shown by the Wanderers compounded the agony of 10,000 travelling fans over another lost opportunity.

"I feel worse this year personally because I felt last year were just weren't good enough. We could accept that we weren't good enough on the day but I thought this year we were. I thought first half we totally dominated the game and right up until the goal," Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said. "To put on such a great effort and performance and come up short, it certainly hurts more than last year."

Too often does cautious football prevail over attacking play in such momentous occasions but that wasn’t the case for Western Sydney. For the first quarter of the match, Brisbane couldn’t get out of their own half due to the stifling pressure of the visitors. Although their intense pressing alone was not going to be enough to undo a team with as much class as Brisbane, and only a long-range shot from Shinji Ono was the fruit of their labour.

They had to wait just 11 minutes after the restart to claim their deserved reward. Ono delivered a corner to the near post, and the towering Matthew Spiranovic guided the ball into the corner of the net with a glancing header. Delirium swept through the away end of Suncorp Stadium as the Wanderers had one hand on the A-League trophy.

Just as red-and-black ribbons looked to have been tied around the golden toilet seat, captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley sacrificed himself for the sake of his team. Lungeing in to deny Berisha a chance on goal, the defender twisted his knee in the tackle and immediately called for help.

Berisha almost added insult to injury immediately after the reshuffle but his one-on-one attempt was spurned by a desparate dive from Spiranovic that deflected the shot narrowly wide.

Just as the A-League trophy looked destined to be placed around Tony Popovic’s neck, Berisha finally delivered for one last time in front of his home fans. Latching on to a Broich free kick, the striker drew the Roar level with a deft header just five minutes from full-time.

So shattered were the Wanderers that Brisbane attacked them at will in extra time, and the inevitable happened. Henrique, who slotted the winning penalty in the 2010-11 grand final, broke free in the box and thumped the winner into the roof of the net. It was resilience embodied, a trait their coach says is deeply engrained within the club.

"If you believe, you can achieve. Never stop believing," Mike Mulvey said. "This club, long before I arrived has in its DNA that we never give up."

59 comments so far

  • Don't really follow the A-League, but I'm glad Brisbane won. Would have been a shame to see those euro-thug copycats from the West get any joy.

    Commenter
    Dan
    Date and time
    May 04, 2014, 7:25PM
    • Euro-thug? Is that a bulldogs fan from Liechtenstein?

      Commenter
      Confused
      Date and time
      May 04, 2014, 8:38PM
    • Who do you support Dan in the nrl/afl/epl do I can make derogatory comments when your team loses. C'mon man up, who do you support?

      Commenter
      Muzza
      Date and time
      May 04, 2014, 8:47PM
    • Hahaha well I go for the Roosters in the NRL so I'm used to copping flak mate. But it doesn't bother me much since our complete domination of the comp last year. And whilst I don't really follow the A-League, I've been to a couple Sydney FC games with mates, so you could call them my team. As for the EPL - I don't follow it at all because I have no idea on what planet I could identify with any regional town in England given that I've never been there and have zero connection to the place.

      There you go though, give me your best shot ;-) .

      Commenter
      Dan
      Date and time
      May 04, 2014, 9:43PM
    • They may not be euro thugs but they certainly were cynical. How many yellow cards did they get and how many free kicks did they give away. Very euro I would have thought. Soccer player and follower for over 50 years but don't like to see that in our game. Great to watch otherwise and the better team won on the day. Great for soccer here (ok football if you want)

      Commenter
      themonk
      Date and time
      May 05, 2014, 12:25AM
    • Eurothug vs White bread Bogan = Same same.

      Commenter
      Wogan
      Date and time
      May 05, 2014, 9:07AM
    • Just keep your dopey comments to yourself next time.

      I've been to more live sport than 3 men put together in my lifetime and the Wanderers games are simply the best in terms of atmosphere and buzz. Wanderers have no peer. They're a good football team too.

      Here's hoping the Roosters don't win a comp for 50 years, wouldn't want you to "get any joy".

      Commenter
      Muzza
      Date and time
      May 05, 2014, 9:53PM
    • @Muzza,

      Not likely we'll be seeing that mate ;-).

      As for the Wanderers - each to their own, but the abuse I copped for being part of the Sydney FC fraternity from the clowns in black and red was enough to show me those WSW "fans" are just boof-heads looking for any excuse to hurl abuse at people. I reckon it makes for pretty ordinary atmosphere having black and red thugs yelling obscenities at anyone in blue, but if it floats your boat, then good for you.

      Commenter
      Dan
      Date and time
      May 06, 2014, 10:58AM
  • yeah and brisbane is just jam packed full of aussies...right hahahahha.

    Commenter
    Steeden
    Location
    Ballina
    Date and time
    May 04, 2014, 7:54PM
    • I don't quite get it. Are you suggesting that the 51,000 people at the match last night were mostly foreigners? Or is that you think football is a foreign game that has no place here? Please learn some grammatical rules before commenting again.

      Commenter
      Stir the pot
      Date and time
      May 05, 2014, 12:29PM

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