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Olyroos striker Jamie Maclaren has punished his former side to help Brisbane Roar to the top of the A-League table after a nervy 2-1 home victory over Perth Glory.
In his last appearance before this month’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Qatar, early in the second half Maclaren produced his seventh goal of the season to put the Roar on track for their fourth straight win.
Super-sub Henrique appeared to seal the match soon after and steal top spot from Western Sydney Wanderers at the halfway point of the season, in front of 17,696 fans at Suncorp Stadium.
But Perth made them work hard all the way to the final whistle with substitute Hagi Gligor scoring with his first touch in the 70th minute from a Diego Castro cut back.
The Glory then had their chances in the dying minutes as Brisbane keeper Jamie Young denied Josh Risdon before captain Jade North cleared a shot off the line.
In a highly-entertaining encounter, it was Young who stood tallest for the Roar with more than 10 saves.
Glory keeper Ante Covic put in his own fine shift, ensuring a scoreless deadlock at halftime, especially through his full-stretch dive to deny a booming Thomas Broich strike.
Needing victory to move to the top of the table, the Roar started the encounter brightly to take complete control as the Glory chose to sit back and stay compact, even with the ball.
But while the home side dominated the play with their probing passing game to have more first-half opportunities, it was Perth who enjoyed the better chances.
Only a fine diving save by Young denied a strong angled shot by Harold in the 29th minute before defender Michael Thwaite misjudged a perfect cross from Risdon with only Young to beat.
It was Maclaren, who left Perth in the off-season after a lack of opportunities, who lit up the helter-skelter second half with his superb finish to a classy team move seven minutes into the second half.
Henrique was only on the park for four minutes before he made it 2-0 but Gligor forced his way onto the scorer’s sheet even more immediately to set up the tense finish.
Roar captain Matt MacKay bemoaned his side’s late lapses and said they were lucky the visitors failed to take advantage.
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