Exciting draw between Roar and Victory in scorching Brisbane

Brisbane Roar 1-1 Melbourne Victory

By Ben Carey (11/02/22)

Above: Catherine Zimmerman and Ayesha Norrie compete for the ball. Photo: Brisbane Roar.

Brisbane Roar played out an exciting 1-1 draw against Melbourne Victory on a scorching Saturday afternoon in Brisbane.

Despite numerous calls from players and fans for games to be moved to later in the day because of the extreme heat, the APL has stuck with kick-off times during the hottest periods.

Roar players, Shea Connors and Katrina Gorry, both took to social media before the match to express their concerns about the heat. The Roar Corps even sung a song in protest, along with drums, they chanted “It’s too hot, hot, hot. APL. It’s too hot, hot, hot. APL.”

Despite the heat, Brisbane Roar started off playing with a lot of energy and aggression. They dominated the first 20 minutes of the match, with some great final third play from Katrina Gorry, Shea Connors, and Larissa Crummer, but were unable to capitalise on any of the opportunities.

Just after the 20th minute, Beatie Goad was fouled in the box and a penalty kick was awarded to Melbourne Victory. For the second week in a row, Alex Chidiac stepped up to the spot without hesitation and slotted it past the Hensley Hancuff. Chidiac, it seems, is developing a bit of a reputation for being a penalty taker.

Brisbane struck back almost immediately with a fantastic team goal. Ayesha Norrie picked the pocket of the goal scorer, Chidiac, in the midfield and then passed to Connors who was the most advanced Roar player. Connors passed back to Gorry and ran into the box where the Matilda dinked it back to her. Connors used her speed and some amazing footwork to beat the Victory defence and pivot on her left foot to put an incredible shot past Dumont.

There were eight minutes of stoppage time added on, which made way for some Brisbane Roar heroics. About five minutes into stoppage time, Connors hit a wonderful ball to Gorry in the box, who struck her cleanest header of the season so far, but it just missed the top left corner.

Just before the stroke of halftime, Jessie Rasschaert found herself in the Victory box underneath a high-bouncing ball and attempted a spectacular bicycle kick, which was actually on target and needed a save. If she’d pulled it off it would have been hands down the goal of the season.

Victory came out of the halftime break with a bit more of a spring in their step. Just before the hour mark they put together a number of attempts on the Brisbane goal, two of which were blocked by Roar defenders, and one of which needed a save from Hancuff.

The remaining half an hour was a tense battle between both teams vying for all three points. There were good chances up both ends, and a lot of great defending from both teams as well, with one exception. In the 85th minute, a Brisbane defender made a tired pass that found its way to Victory striker, Melina Ayres, who took a great shot at the Brisbane goal, but Roar’s guardian angel, Hancuff, was there to save the day once again, and keep her team in the match.

All in all, despite the heat and the outrage about kick-off times, it was a very entertaining match. Both teams will feel they deserved more than a draw, but given how competitive the match was, a draw seems fitting. There was an enthralling 90-minute battle in the midfield between Gorry and Chidiac, Matildas teammates, and two of the very best midfielders in the A-League Women.

Goad and Chidiac were midfield maestros for Victory. There were absolutely everywhere, playing with aggression and intent, stealing balls, setting up plays, taking shots. Goad won the penalty early on in the match, and Chidiac in what is likely to be her final game of the season, was the one who took it. Their impact was immense. Dumont also had a great day in goal, making a total of six saves.

Gorry put in a solid shift as always, pulling the strings in the midfield and setting up a handful of opportunities for her Roar teammates. Hancuff had a great day between the sticks, making five saves and absolutely keeping Brisbane in the match. Connors did exceptionally well, scoring her second goal of the season and forcing the draw. She also created a number of other chances for her team.

Rasschaert played superbly yet again. She was in a wing-back position once more, which is where she seems to have the greatest impact. She made a number of great challenges in the defensive third, and then throughout the match used her pace to run up the side and set up plays, much like Ellie Carpenter does for the Matildas. She also took multiple shots on goal. It seems that her match-winning goal against Adelaide has sparked something in her.

Due to the international window coming up, Brisbane Roar will next play Perth Glory away on Saturday 25th, and Melbourne Victory take on Adelaide United at home on Sunday 26th.

Teams: BRISBANE ROAR (4-1-4-1): Hancuff, Kramer, Lind, Rankin, Rasschaert, Norrie, Connors, Gorry, Palmer, Riley, Crummer. Substitutes: Shuttleworth, McQueen, Levin, Kruger, Freier.

Scorers: Connors 22’.

MELBOURNE VICTORY (4-3-3): Dumont, Tathem, Morrison, Bunge, Nash, Jackson, Goad, Chidiac, Kellond-Knight, Zimmerman, Eliadis.  Substitutes: Templeman, Murphy, Zois, Briedis, Ayres.

Scorers: Chidiac 21’ (pen).

Referee: Rachael Mitchenson.

Attendance: 767.

Artwork: Charlotte Stacey, founder of On Her Side.

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