A dramatic injury-time winner by Japanese import Riku Danzaki has lifted Brisbane to a 2-1 victory over Western United and into the A-League’s top six.
Danzaki smashed home his seventh goal of the season in the 94th minute to claim a priceless three points for the Roar in the race for the finals.
The come-from-behind win, Brisbane’s first at home since putting five past Melbourne Victory in February, lifts them above Western and into fifth on the ladder.
The 20-year-old’s winner came after a dramatic second-half where the Roar fell behind, equalised and then thought they’d scored a second only for VAR to pick up a handball by Dylan Wenzel-Halls.
Just when a draw seemed the most likely outcome however impressive youngster Danzaki popped up to coolly slot home in the dying seconds to secure the precious win.
“It’s a big win. It’s a really big step for us … not so much about the table or the ladder but more about us, that’s a progression for our squad,” Roar coach Warren Moon said.
“One-nil down, I think it might be the first time this year we’ve trailed and then come back to win. Another tick in the box for where we want to go as a group.”
Earlier, a pair of second-half substitutes sparked the game into life at a damp Moreton Daily Stadium
Olyroo Lachlan Wales scored with his first touch in the 60th minute to put Western into the lead before Brisbane’s Alex Parsons came off the bench to play a key role in Joshua Brindell-South’s equaliser.
Wales had only been on the pitch for a matter of seconds when he was played in by Italian Alessandro Diamanti, running clear of the Roar defence and slotting home to put the visitors ahead.
Parsons then came off the bench and fired a shot from the edge of the area which was palmed into the path of Brindell-South to score his second goal of the season.
Western had nearly forced a winner moments before Wenzel-Halls’ strike when Andrew Durante’s attempt on target after a goalmouth scramble was headed clear on the goalline by Roar fullback Corey Brown.
Before Wales’ impact of the bench, it was Western goalkeeper Ryan Scott who played the role of hero for his team, making several crucial saves to maintain the stalemate including two reaction stops from close-range Wenzel-Halls headers.
Roar defender Macaulay Gillesphey was booked in the 33rd minute after sliding through the back of Besart Berisha, a challenge Western coach Mark Rudan felt deserved more than just a yellow card.
“It was right in front of us … for me there was intent there to come from behind as well. We’ve seen a lot of decisions this year where that’s been given a red card,” said Rudan, who was philosophical about conceding such a late winner.
Western play their third straight match on the road on Saturday when they travel to Bankwest Stadium to play Western Sydney, while Brisbane take on table-topping Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Sunday.