Rivals’ bury simmering feud after Roar victory
NO Scott McDonald, no worries for Brisbane Roar.
Without their in-form ex-Socceroo, who was prevented from playing against his former Western United due to a contract clause, the Roar prevailed 1-0 in Ballarat on Sunday.
Substitute Mirza Muratovic's second goal in two matches proved the difference as the sixth-placed Roar moved four points clear of United.
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Having entered the contest as a replacement for Dylan Wenzel-Halls, 20-year-old Muratovic made another claim for a starting spot, having also found the back of the net off the bench the previous weekend in the Roar's 2-1 home win over Adelaide United.
Fed by Brad Inman, the 20-year-old marksman finished with conviction in the 61st minute to deliver the Roar back-to-back wins and their seventh victory of a season that has gained significant momentum since late December.
Brisbane's win also kept them within two points of respective fourth and fifth-placed teams Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United.
There were none of the post-match dramas that marred the previous meeting between the teams, with Roar coach Robbie Fowler and his United counterpart Mark Rudan shaking hands after the game.
The Roar made two changes to the team that started in their win over Adelaide United.
Back from suspension, Scott Neville replaced defender Daniel Bowles.
The other change was forced, with McDonald's unavailability, leading to a recall for midfielder Aiden O'Neill, which allowed Jay O'Shea to push forward into a more attacking role.
The Roar had a chance to take the lead in just the fourth minute.
The opportunity was created by classy Irishman O'Shea, who fed over-lapping fullback Jack Hingert.
Hingert stormed into the box before unleashing with a shot the forced a smart save out of United goalkeeper Filip Kurto.
United hit back with two chances of their own in the 11th and 14th minutes.
But both Max Burgess and Andrew Durante failed to rest Roar keeper Jamie Young with shots that flew over the crossbar.
Inman started the second half strongly, providing a low cross in the 48th minute that found O'Shea. But the former Birmingham City midfielder failed to hit the target.
However, Inman's creativity and energy was rewarded in 13 minutes later
Having dispossessed Western United debutant Tomoki Imai before feeding unmarked substitute Muratovic, who scored his second A-League to give the Roar the lead and ultimately the win.