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Western Sydney Wanderers strike late to hold Brisbane Roar

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Wanderers draw with Roar

In a thrilling top of the table clash, Western Sydney scores a late equaliser to draw 1-1 with Brisbane at Pirtek Stadium on Friday night.

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Western Sydney Wanderers have kept their premiership defence alive - but only just after salvaging a draw against Brisbane Roar on Friday night to stay within seven points of the runaway league leaders.

For almost the entire game, the Wanderers faced the prospect of all but surrendering the premiers' plate on home soil after trailing the Roar for 72 minutes in a match they dominated. But substitute Labinot Haliti salvaged a draw with an 85th-minute strike to prevent the Roar from assuming a blow-out 10-point lead at the summit.

Besart Berisha pulls the trigger for the opener.

Besart Berisha pulls the trigger for the opener. Photo: Brendan Esposito

''I think what this result means is that we won't be coming back here to play a final and I think that's a massive boost for us,'' Roar coach Mike Mulvey said. ''We lost in a final here last year and it was a serious examination and anyone who wants to come here and a play a final, it's difficult.''

The sign of a champion is often their ability to win even when they're not playing well and the Roar showed their credentials by doing just that, absorbing 13 minutes of pressure to produce three seconds of brilliance. It came through none other than Besart Berisha - the man that has grown from a visa player to an A-League marquee in little more than two years. Berisha received a seemingly nothing pass from Dimitri Petratos inside the box, swarmed by Wanderers defenders.

Two touches on the outside of the right foot pulled Aaron Mooy out of position and a quickfire left-foot shot stunned the crowded box as Berisha stabbed the opening goal against the run of play.

Jerome Polenz during the Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar at Pirtek Stadium. Click for more photos

A-League: Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar

The A-League's top-of-the-table clash at Parramatta Stadium between leaders Brisbane Roar and second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers finished all square on Friday night, Labinot Haliti's late equaliser cancelling out a first-half opener from Besart Berisha. Photography by Brendan Esposito. Like these photos? Selected images available from www.fairfaxsyndication.com Follow us at twitter.com/photosSMH Photo: Brendan Esposito

It proved a rare display of the fluidity and speed in movement the Roar have become synonymous with this season as the Wanderers suffocating pressing restricted the visitors transitions in play. Though, as the fouls stacked up against the hosts, 14 by half-time, it showed they were only just containing the league leaders.

For all their pressure off the ball, the Wanderers offered little with it in the first half-hour. Youssouf Hersi was their most dangerous outlet and it was no surprise to see their first real chance on goal fall to the Dutchman.

He snapped on a loose ball in the box and unleashed a right-foot drive from an acute angle that was destined for the far corner. Only a late intervention from the outstretched Roar goalkeeper Mike Theo maintained their lead at half-time. The rising tide of the Wanderers didn't subside following the break and Brendon Santalab should have twice drawn level with two quick-fire attempts, one skilful, the other bizarre. Santalab jinked away from his marker inside the box with a clever lob and fired an immediate point-black shot that rattled the post. A minute later, he charged down a clearance from Theo that ricocheted off his head and to the relief of the Roar keeper, only into the side netting.

As the threat of trailing the Roar by 10 points loomed ever closer, signs of desperation simmered to the surface of the Wanderers' play, and it wasn't necessarily to their detriment. A more direct approach forced the Roar deep and encouraged the hosts to stray forward and wide, playing more expansive collectively for the first time. It was a rare gamble from the Wanderers, but abandoning their more patient play eventually bore fruit.

In the dying moments of the game, Haliti weaved between two markers to latch on to a deep cross and stabbed the back of the net. He embodied the relief of the Wanderers by ripping his shirt off with his arms out stretched, without a care for the yellow card that was to follow.

''We never gave up hope, you could see the players didn't, certainly no one did on the sideline and I'm sure the fans didn't as well, they could see the way we were playing that the leased we deserved was an equaliser,'' Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said.

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jerome polenz during the Western Sydney Wanderers vs Brisbane Roar at pirtek stadium photography Brendan Esposito smh,7th february,2014 A-League: Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar

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Round 1
Fri, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 4 vs WSW 1 Stats
Sat, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs NEW Stats
SYD 1 vs MCY 1 Stats
Sun, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs PER 2 Stats
BRI 1 vs ADE 2 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 17 OctTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1 vs VIC 1 Stats
Sat, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs WEL 2 Stats
SYD 3 vs WSW 2 Stats
Sun, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1 vs NEW 1 Stats
PER 3 vs BRI 2 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 24 OctTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs SYD 2 Stats
Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 5 vs MCY 2 Stats
Sun, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 4 vs NEW 1 Stats
ADE 2 vs PER Stats
Wed, 19 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs CCM Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1 vs ADE 2 Stats
Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
PER 2 vs NEW 1 Stats
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
SYD 2 vs CCM Stats
Mon, 03 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2 vs WEL Stats
Wed, 03 DecTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs BRI 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 07 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs WSW Stats
ADE vs SYD Stats
Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2 vs VIC 2 Stats
BRI 1 vs MCY 3 Stats
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs PER 1 Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs BRI 4 Stats
Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2 vs WEL 1 Stats
SYD vs VIC Stats
PER 2 vs WSW 1 Stats
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
MCY 2 vs CCM 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 1 vs BRI Stats
PER 2 vs WEL 1 Stats
Sat, 22 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1 vs NEW 1 Stats
MCY 1 vs SYD 2 Stats
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs ADE 2 Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 3 vs ADE 2 Stats
Sat, 29 NovTimes shown AEDT
BRI 1 vs PER 1 Stats
WSW 1 vs SYD 1 Stats
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL 5 vs MCY 1 Stats
NEW 1 vs CCM 1 Stats
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Round 9
Thu, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD 1 vs PER 2 Stats
Fri, 05 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs VIC 3 Stats
Sat, 06 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1 vs WEL 3 Stats
ADE 2 vs WSW Stats
Sun, 07 DecTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1 vs BRI Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs BRI 1 Stats
PER 2 vs NEW Stats
Sat, 13 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs CCM 1 Stats
VIC 3 vs SYD 3 Stats
Wed, 11 MarTimes shown AEDT
WSW 3 vs MCY 2 Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 19 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2 vs ADE 1 Stats
Sat, 20 DecTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1 vs VIC Stats
PER 4 vs CCM 1 Stats
Sun, 21 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs WEL 2 Stats
Wed, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 1 vs WSW 4 Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 26 DecTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1 vs PER 1 Stats
SYD vs ADE 3 Stats
Sat, 27 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM 3 vs BRI 3 Stats
VIC 1 vs NEW Stats
Sun, 28 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs WSW Stats
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Round 13
Tue, 30 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2 vs MCY 5 Stats
BRI vs SYD Stats
Wed, 31 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1 vs WEL 3 Stats
Thu, 01 JanTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs CCM Stats
Fri, 02 JanTimes shown AEDT
VIC 1 vs PER 2 Stats
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Round 14
Sat, 03 JanTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs NEW Stats
Sun, 04 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL 3 vs BRI Stats
CCM 2 vs MCY Stats
Mon, 05 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER 1 vs ADE 2 Stats
Tue, 06 JanTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1 vs VIC 2 Stats
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Round 15
Sat, 24 JanTimes shown AEDT
ADE 7 vs NEW Stats
CCM 1 vs SYD 5 Stats
Sun, 25 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER 3 vs VIC 3 Stats
Sun, 01 FebTimes shown AEDT
MCY 2 vs WSW 1 Stats
Mon, 02 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI 3 vs WEL 2 Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 06 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1 vs BRI 2 Stats
Sat, 07 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM 2 vs ADE 1 Stats
VIC 3 vs MCY Stats
PER 1 vs SYD 3 Stats
Sun, 08 FebTimes shown AEDT
WSW 2 vs WEL Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs BRI 2 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs MCY Stats
NEW 1 vs WSW 1 Stats
SYD 3 vs VIC 3 Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1 vs PER 1 Stats
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Round 18
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
SYD 4 vs CCM 2 Stats
ADE 2 vs WSW 1 Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL 2 vs NEW 2 Stats
MCY vs PER Stats
Wed, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 1 vs VIC 2 Stats
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Round 19
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
MCY 3 vs ADE 1 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs CCM Stats
WSW 3 vs SYD 4 Stats
PER 2 vs BRI 2 Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2 vs WEL 3 Stats
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Round 20
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs SYD 1 Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL 2 vs ADE Stats
VIC 1 vs PER 1 Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs MCY Stats
BRI 1 vs WSW Stats
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Round 21
Thu, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2 vs CCM 1 Stats
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs VIC 3 Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
MCY 4 vs NEW Stats
PER 1 vs WEL 2 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 5 vs BRI 4 Stats
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Round 22
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs MCY 1 Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1 vs NEW 2 Stats
ADE 2 vs VIC 2 Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs PER 1 Stats
BRI 1 vs WEL 2 Stats
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Round 23
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2 vs CCM 1 Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1 vs BRI Stats
PER 3 vs WSW 2 Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs SYD 3 Stats
NEW vs ADE 1 Stats
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Round 24
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6 vs CCM 1 Stats
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1 vs MCY 1 Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs ADE 1 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs VIC 3 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
NEW vs PER 2 Stats
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Round 25
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
VIC vs NEW 1 Stats
PER vs SYD 3 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
ADE 2 vs BRI 3 Stats
CCM 1 vs WSW Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
MCY vs WEL Stats
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Round 26
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL 3 vs CCM 2 Stats
NEW 3 vs SYD 4 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
WSW 2 vs ADE 1 Stats
BRI vs VIC 1 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
PER 3 vs MCY 1 Stats
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Round 27
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI vs NEW 19:40Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
WSW vs PER 17:00Pirtek Stadium
ADE vs MCY 19:30Coopers Stadium
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs SYD 15:00Westpac Stadium
VIC vs CCM 17:00AAMI Park
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Round 28
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 15:00TBC
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 15:00TBC
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Round 29
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 15:00TBC
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 16:00TBC
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Round 30
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 16:00TBC
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