First versus second did not necessarily disappoint though in the end, neither side could walk away with three points. Western Sydney Wanderers scored with five minutes left to come back for a 1-1 draw against top of the ladder Brisbane Roar on Friday night at Pirtek Stadium. Besart Berisha's early goal had been the difference but Labinot Haliti's 85th minute equalizer provided a fair result and kept Brisbane's lead atop the A-League at seven points with a game in hand.
Content to cede ground to the home side after Berisha's opener, the Roar were on the shorter end of every statistical category except the final score. The Wanderers were the clear aggressors, needing to make up ground in points and after the thirteenth minute, on the score sheet. Youssouf Hersi was perhaps Western Sydney's greatest threat, though it was Brendon Santalab who came closest for the Wanderers just moments after halftime.
Aaron Mooy was the provider for the substitute Haliti with just five minutes left, earning a point that keeps the Wanderers at least theoretically within striking distance of the league's top spot. Western Sydney deserved to come out of the game with at least a draw but now with only eight games left, Tony Popovic's side are running into the trouble with drawing so many games. The Wanderers, who have only lost four times all year, the same number as Brisbane, have come out even more than anyone else in the A-League.
Western Sydney won't play again until Saturday February 22 in Western Australia against Perth Glory, as their Valentine's Day game was played a month early to accommodate Melbourne Victory's Champions League playoff. Speaking of which, the Wanderers will host Ulsan Hyundai on Wednesday February 26 in its Group H opener. Brisbane do not have to play again until Sunday February 16 when they host Newcastle Jets at Suncorp Stadium with a chance to go as much as ten points clear at the top.
BRI Berisha (Donachie) 13'
WSW Haliti (Mooy) 85'
Western Sydney Wanderers: Covic; D'Apuzzo, Topor-Stanley, Spiranovic, Polenz (Cole 78'); Poljak, Mooy; Bridge (Haliti 74'), Ono, Hersi; Santalab (Juric 74')
Unused substitutes: Tyson, La Rocca
Brisbane Roar: Theo; Stefanutto, Smith, North, Donachie; Miller (Henrique 68'), Brattan, Franjic; Broich, Berisha, Petratos (Lustica 90')
Unused substitutes: Acton, Ferreira, Solorzano