Broich’s band Roar a tune worthy of champions
For 83 minutes, Brisbane’s composer, conductor and the man they call Mozart, Thomas Broich, glided around Suncorp Stadium trying to harmonise his band.
His lethargic teammates failed to follow. Burnt out from a busy ACL schedule and stifled by the frenzied and applied Perth Glory, he played a lone hand in representing the Roar’s usual grace, penetration and poise.
The Glory were superb. While their football was not pure it was industrious. Skipper Jacob Burns and Liam Miller sat in front of the defence and stopped attack after attack. When breached by either Broich, Partaluu or Murdocca, the makeshift central defensive pairing of Steve Pantelidis and Bas Van Den Brink were suitably tight.
Moreover Brisbane’s usual attacking prongs were terrible. Henrique was completely ineffective and Mitch Nichols lacked the composure and inventiveness of play we have become so accustomed to.
This led Bersart Berisha to be an isolated figure, forcing Ivan Franjic and Shane Steffanuto to be more involved in the play when in attack. It was Franjic who had Brisbane’s best chance for the first half, saved well by Danny Vukovic.
The lack of fluidity in the Roar’s play directly stemmed from the bland performances of midfield fulcrums Partaluu and Murdocca. Usually the generators of Brisbane’s tempo, they were slow to the ball, one-dimensional in passing and eventually substituted together, midway through the second half for James Meyer and Nick Fitzgerald.
The introduction of these two brought sharpness to the Roar and was a turning point in the game.
Up to that stage the Glory had counter attacked and managed to score in the 51st minute through an Ivan Franjic own goal. Billy Mehmet’s run past four Brisbane players created the cross from Travis Dodd that was deflected in by the Roar left back.
Before this goal and up until Broich’s intervention the Glory were smothering Brisbane.
However when it was needed, Mozart delivered. Receiving the ball on the right he took a perfect touch and wound in a dipping and curling cross which was met by the perfectly timed run of Bersart Berisha.
Superlatives cannot measure the quality of the German’s cross. It was stunning.
The Albanian flicked the ball past Vukovic in the 83rd minute, changing the course of the match.
Brisbane pressed and pressed in the final minutes. The experienced and tireless was Dean Heffernan sent off for a second yellow at the start of injury time, leaving Perth with 10 men.
Eventually the Glory were robbed. It was a terrible and blatantly wrong decision to award the penalty to Brisbane in injury time. Berisha did wonderfully to elude the challenges flung at him in the box from a desperate Glory defence but nonetheless was not fouled in any way.
The referee was simply fooled. Not by a Berisha dive but by the fact that Liam Miller missed a challenge on Berisha that the referee seemed to think clipped him. Really Berisha was brought down by the force of his own fresh-air attempt to shoot.
It was terribly harsh for the Glory to lose in this way. Berisha sent Vukovic the wrong way from the spot and with a second remaining Brisbane had a second title.
The Roar’s play at no point reached anything resembling their normal selves. If it weren’t for Broich’s masterful cross for the first goal and lead-up play to Berisha for the penalty, Brisbane would not have won.
Perth scurried and hampered as hard and long as they could, but their abrasiveness could not match or quell the wizardry of Broich.
Broich was wrongly awarded the Joe Marston Medal for best afield due to what Lyall Gorman termed an “an administrative error”, before Jacob Burns was rightly awarded the Medal after the match.
But the German midfielder was still the standout for the home side, providing a positional master class to the crowd of 50,000 at Suncorp with his tackling, interceptions and distribution.
Perth will feel robbed, cheated. And they should, it was a disastrous penalty decision. However with 10 men, 30 minutes of extra time to play and a slowly awakening Brisbane, they surely could not have scored a winner or held on for penalties.
Brisbane secure their second championship deservedly. They are the best footballing team this nation has seen in a long time. Certainly the best I have seen.
Let it be a notice to every football fan and participant that this is the way to play. Ange Postecoglu has given Australia something great to build on. A modern football blueprint.
For this they are deserved champions.
EDITOR’S NOTE: At the time of writing and editing the article, Thomas Broich had incorrectly been awarded the Joe Marston Medal, before Jacob Burns was then awarded the Medal post-match. This article has now been corrected to reflect Burns as the Joe Marston Medallist.
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