THE video assistant referee came to Brisbane’s Roar aid as the three-time A-League champions beat China’s under-22 team 2-1 at Cbus Super Stadium on Monday night.
The Chinese side, who were reduced to 10 men with 18 minutes remaining following the dismissal of goalscorer Wei Shihao, seemed destined to hold on for a draw as the contest entered its dying stages.
However, VAR Jarred Gillett was called into action with three minutes remaining after marquee striker Massimo Maccarone was pulled down in the penalty area.
Referee Adam Kersey initially waved away Brisbane’s plea for a spot kick, before Gillett intervened to award the penalty.
Maccarone picked himself up to convert from the spot and seal the pre-season victory for Roar.
The win signalled a much-needed turnaround for Brisbane after successive spankings at the hands of Melbourne Victory (5-1) and Western Sydney Wanderers (4-0).
Injury-replacement signing Peter Skapetis continued his impressive pre-season by giving the Roar the lead in the 10th minute.
Running on to a well-weighted and defence splitting pass from Brett Holman, striker Skapetis showed composure striking his shot past goalkeeper Zhou Yuchen.
But Brisbane’s lead lasted just eight minutes as the defensive frailties that have haunted them in recent weeks again shed their ugly head.
Wei was left totally unmarked in the centre of the Roar’s penalty area as headed home a cross from Ba Dun.
Tempers flared in the second half, leading to Wei’s sending off. But calm was eventually restored as veteran marksman Maccarone, who played the full 90 minutes, ensured Brisbane’s win with his well-taken spot kick.
Roar coach John Aloisi was satisfied with his side’s defensive performance after conceding nine goals in their previous two matches.
“Defensively we were a lot better. They did catch us a couple of times on the counter (attack) but you expect that from a team that sits off,” Aloisi said.
“I thought second half we were better defensively than we were in the first half.
“Second half we dominated and we had a few good chances as well.”
Aloisi said the VAR system was “working well”.
“It will only get better the more we use it,” he said.
The Roar’s squad was again missing key defender Avraam Papadopoulos and off-season signing Fahid Ben Khalfallah. Neither have seen any pre-season action.
Midfield enforcer Thomas Kristensen was also absent as he continues to recover from a hamstring problem.
Jamie Young started in goals for the Roar. In front of him was a back four of Jack Hingert, Jade North, Luke DeVere and Corey Brown.
Skipper Matt McKay was partnered at the base of Brisbane’s midfield by Mitch Oxborrow, with Shannon Brady, Holman, Skapetis and Maccarone making up the rest of the Roar’s starting team.
Originally published as Roar sneak past China U/22 team
Source: sports dailytelegraph