A 10-man Brisbane Roar moved a step closer to securing the A-League's Premiers Plate after they registered a 1-1 draw away at Sydney FC on Friday night.
Besart Berisha headed the Roar in front after 23 minutes before Sydney's FC's Sebastian Ryall then headed home the equaliser in his first game back from a lengthy injury in the 35th minute.
Despite the result, the obvious talking point of the game was Berisha’s 40th minute red card.
The star striker was shown his marching orders in the 40th minute after lunging into a tackle with Ryall.
Berisha seemed to come off second best as Ryall retaliated to the tackle, pushing him over. After consulting his assistant, referee Peter O’Leary showed Berisha a straight red card to the complete disbelief of the Albanian talisman.
Even though they were a man down, the Roar seemed to be in control of the match, putting pressure on the sky blues and creating the more threatening chances.
Missing Alessandro Del Piero’s creativity in the final third was evident as Sydney struggled to make any real threatening forays forward.
A long range effort by Ali Abbas in the 73rd minute was Sydney’s best opportunity of the second half, but his shot went slightly wide of the mark.
After just two minutes, Sydney almost had the lead.
Ryall's pressure saw him close down a Thomas Broich clearance just inside the box and the block cannoned back towards goal and if it wasn’t for a smart tip over the bar by Michael Theo, we could’ve had an early Sky Blue lead.
The Roar could’ve had a lead of their own after 20 minutes when a fine cross by Jack Hingert from the right toward the far post found an un-marked Broich.
Broich couldn’t get enough power on his header as Vedran Janjetovic had little trouble in the Sydney goal.
As if the previous warning sign wasn’t enough, the Roar punished the Sky Blues minutes later.
A great ball from Luke Brattan found Broich on the left who sent an even better ball into the box towards Berisha who drifted away from a badly positioned Nikola Petkovic at the far post to calmly loop a brilliant header over Janjetovic for a 1-0 Brisbane lead.
In the 35th minute, Ryall had Sydney’s equaliser to the delight of the home crowd.
Petkovic showed just how good he is off the dead ball once again as his in-swinging corner from the right found Ryall who headed the ball into the back of the net.
Liam Miller then missed a late chance for the visitors with just over 10 minutes of normal time remaining.
He made his way into the box, got the better of Sasa Ognjenovski but skied his effort high over the bar.
Late attempts to Brattan and substitute Henrique could’ve put Brisbane ahead but Janjetovic reacted well to keep the Roar at bay.
A stoppage time free-kick to the Sky Blues was taken by Petkovic but his shot whistled slightly wide of the left hand upright.
Sydney FC 1
Brisbane Roar 1
Crowd: 13,073 @Allianz Stadium