A-League wrap: Roar, Victory share spoils as Sydney sink Mariners
Brisbane and Melbourne Victory played out an entertaining 1-1 draw on Saturday night, in a match high in technical quality despite a poor pitch.
Victory's Leigh Broxham headed the only goal in a tight first half, while Ivan Franjic scored for the Roar in a second period where the home side created plenty of chances.
The Roar will be disappointed they could not secure three points after a dominant second half, but will take heart from one of their best performances of the A-League season.
Brisbane did well to keep possession in the opening minutes, but it was the Victory who opened the scoring in one of their first raids forward.
Archie Thompson sent in a curling cross from just inside the corner of the box, and Broxham leapt spectacularly over Franjic to head powerfully past Michael Theo in the Brisbane goal.
The Roar bounced back from the early goal well, setting up camp in their opponents' half and putting plenty of pressure on the Victory defence.
Melbourne continued to look dangerous on the break, and a Mark Milligan grass cutter after 27 minutes from outside the area flew just wide of Theo's post.
Daniel Mullen, arriving at the back post from a cross on the left, side-footed a shot at goal from point-blank range, but Theo pulled of a reflex save to deny him.
A minute before the break, Marco Rojas, who had had a quiet evening, played through a pinpoint pass for Thompson, but the prolific striker's shot was saved well by Theo.
In the first real chance of the second half, Broich blazed a shot over the Melbourne crossbar in the 57th minute.
Two minutes later, Brisbane drew level when Franjic burst down the right to latch on to a sublime Luke Brattan through-ball, galloped towards goal and finished through Coe's legs.
The momentum was well and truly with the home side, and substitute Mitch Nichols came close with an optimistic long-range effort which flew just wide.
Coe charged out of his area to snuff out a flying Berisha, as the Roar went on the attack in the closing stages.
The Victory goalkeeper was called on again in injury time to brilliantly block a swerving Ben Halloran effort.
Meanwhile, Sydney FC moved back into the A-League's top six - and seriously dented Central Coast's Premiers' Plate hopes - after a well-deserved 2-0 win at Allianz Stadium.
A goal in either half to defender Sebastian Ryall and substitute Joel Chianese was enough for the Sky Blues to snap their two-game losing streak and breathe life into their finals hopes.
The priceless victory - Sydney's sixth straight in front of their home fans - has seen Frank Farina's troops jump from ninth up to fifth on the A-League ladder with three games to play.
For the Central Coast, it was the first time this season they have lost back-to-back matches and the Western Sydney Wanderers could put one hand on the minor premiership if they beat Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.