SYDNEY (AP) Luke Brattan’s 25-meter strike in the second minute of stoppage time gave A-League leading Brisbane a 1-0 win over the Melbourne Victory to seal the regular season premiership with three rounds to play.
The win left Brisbane 10 points above the second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers on the A-League standings at the end of the 24th of 27 rounds, allowing it to lift the Premiers Plate and join the Victory as the most successful A-League clubs with two premierships and two championships.
Brattan limped from the field at halftime with a hip injury and was not expected to return for the second half. But he managed to convince coach Mike Mulvey to allow him to return and quickly produced a brilliant individual goal.
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Brisbane was repeatedly denied by Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas, who made eight outstanding saves before being beaten by Brattan’s long-range winner.
”To be honest … I was always going to shoot,” Brattan said. ”I just kept my head down and tried not to hit it too hard.
”It was great to get it in and a bit of relief but now we’re going to concentrate on finals.”
Mulvey said Brisbane could not afford to relax in the remaining rounds of the regular season.
”It’s a remarkable achievement,” he said. ”It’s a brilliant achievement to win top-of-the-league with three rounds to go.”
Adelaide United beat Sydney FC 3-1 in an ugly match, marred by a first-half melee which was sparked by a clumsy challenge by Sydney’s Alec Urosevski on Marcelo Carrusca. Five Sydney players received yellow cards to Adelaide’s one, committing 19 fouls including 13 in the first half.
”The yellow cards came from the melee,” Sydney coach Frank Farina said. ”I was disappointed with both teams – our team and Adelaide for their reaction to that incident.”
Western Sydney beat last-placed Perth 3-0 on Sunday to move into second place while defending champions the Victory fell back into third place with Central Coast, who beat the Melbourne Heart 2-1.
Newcastle beat Wellington 5-0 to hold sixth place to all but end the New Zealand team’s chances of reaching the top-six playoffs.