A-League Review: Santalab sends Wanderers top as Roar thrash Mariners
Substitute Brendon Santalab fired an 89th-minute equaliser to salvage a 1-1 draw for Western Sydney against Melbourne Victory in a feisty affair at Etihad Stadium – sending the Wanderers back to the top of the A-League on goal difference.
Amid a haze a smoke from flares let off by the sizable contingent of away supporters, Besart Berisha headed the opener – his 15th goal in 18 A-League appearances this season.
But the hosts could not hold on as Santalab crashed home from the edge of the area and, in a frantic finish, Wanderers ended with 10 men as defender Alberto Aguilar was sent off for his part in a penalty box fracas.
Earlier, Brisbane Roar briefly reclaimed top spot in emphatic style with a 4-0 win over basement boys Central Coast Mariners.
John Aloisi's team slumped badly last month, shipping four goals in each of their back-to-back defeats against Victory and Adelaide United.
Jamie Maclaren helped himself to a brace in the restorative 3-1 triumph at Sydney FC last week and the striker made it 2-0 on Saturday after centre-back Jade North capitalised on slack set-piece defending to open the scoring after 20 minutes.
Corona, who put through his own goal last weekend, registered a first A-League goal at the correct end with a fine 20-yard drive before the hour.
Henrique completed the rout with a penalty after Mariners substitute Harry Ascroft – on the field for a mere 15 minutes – was sent off for bringing down Maclaren, although replays suggested he might have played the ball.
Western Sydney and Brisbane have 34 points apiece, six clear of Melbourne City and Victory. City travel to Newcastle Jets on Sunday.