BRISBANE Roar has survived a Harry Kewell led Melbourne Victory fightback to claim a 3-2 victory at Suncorp Stadium.
BRISBANE ROAR 3 (Berisha '1, '32, Henrique '38)
MELBOURNE VICTORY 2 (Kewell '9, '50)
The Roar was in the lead almost from the opening whistle - Besart Berisha scoring in the 43rd second - but despite another to Berisha and an Henrique penalty, the home side could not shake a Victory side pulled along by a brace to Kewell.
"We didn't really control the game," Roar coach Ange Postecoglou said.
"Credit to (the Victory), they obviously came here today to have a go at us and they did and we didn't cope with it too well.
"The second half there were patches, they looked dangerous going forward and we had our moments going forward."
The game was only a mere 43 seconds old when Besart Berisha out-foxed a host of Victory defenders to lash home the opening goal and in the process, grab a club record for most goals scored in a season.
The Albanian collected the ball on the edge of Melbourne's box only to find four Victory defenders converging on his location.
But despite a prison of fluro-yellow jerseys, Berisha's never-say-die attitude and a slice of good fortune picked open the Victory's lock - Berisha celebrating his freedom with a powerful shot from dead in front.
The early goal did little to deflate the visitors attacking intent, and after only a handful of testing attempts, pulled level through the mercurial left foot of Harry Kewell.
The former Liverpool striker took the glory for the powerful finish, but it was New Zealand's rising star Marcus Rojas who created the opportunity with a blazing run and sublime pass to the unmarked Kewell.
The early goals sparked a thrilling encounter where both attacking units gave no quarter in a, at times spiteful (five yellow cards were handed out to Victory players), game which shot from end to end.
But it was the Victory which blinked first as Roar hitman Berisha gave the home-side the lead for the second time in the 32nd minute.
Thomas Broich found space and time to thread the ball through the Victory defence and release the flying Henrique.
The Brazilian squared the ball across the face of goal and Berisha had the easiest task of hitting an unguarded net.
And the Roar was further in front six minutes later when Luzarno felled the towering Erik Paartalu in the area and Henrique coolly sent the ball the opposite way of the diving Ante Covic.
The half-time break did little to stem the excitement and drama of the match as Kewell ignited the second 45 minutes with his second goal of the night.
Broich - perhaps suffering the effects of a shoulder injury - found only Kewell with a misplaced pass deep in the Roar's half.
With a burst of speed, Kewell out-paced a lagging Mohamed Adnan and slipped the ball under Theoklitos.
Postecogldou made the bold decision to withdraw Broich to kick-start his squad's offence, but it was the other end which was the root of the Roar's troubles.
The Victory attackers were swarming over the brittle Roar defence and almost drew the visitor's level had the crossbar not stopped Carlos Hernandez's stunning volley.
Despite his contribution, Kewell was replaced for Danny Allsopp as Jim Magilton's men searched for the equaliser.
But the Roar had the majority of the late running and Berisha could have capped the victory with a hat-trick, but Covic forced the home supporters to settle for the 3-2 victory.
The win - the club's third in a row - cements the Roar in second position on the A-League table but leaves the Victory fighting for an elusive finals spot.
"The players showed a lot of character to come back into the game," Victory coach Jim Magilton said.
"(But) if you're going to concede goals against any team in that manner, than you're going to give yourself a mountain to climb."
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