Brisbane Roar have breathed life into their AFC Champions League campaign after a spirited 2-1 win over Japanese outfit Kashima Antlers on Tuesday night.
Having failed to score in their previous three ACL clashes, Roar scored twice within the first 50 minutes at Suncorp Stadium before holding off a late surge from the visitors.
With Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou watching from the stands, striker Jamie Maclaren reminded him of his scoring prowess by giving the home side the lead on 18 minutes.
John Aloisi’s side survived a scare just before the break when Daigo Nishi’s header hit the post and rebounded safely into Michael Theo’s hands.
Brett Holman then doubled the lead early in the second half before substitute Ryota Nagaki set up a grandstand finish with a goal 11 minutes from the end.
But Brisbane held on to secure a priceless win - their first at home in an ACL campaign - which has boosted their hopes of progressing to the knockout stage.
Roar’s next ACL clash is in two weeks’ time, when they travel to Thailand to play Muangthong United on Wednesday, April 26.
1-0 Brisbane Roar: Jamie Maclaren 18’
Brandon Borrello picked up possession centrally about 30 yards from goal and lobbed a ball over the defence into the path of Maclaren. And the striker did the rest, firing a clinical left-foot strike into the far corner.
2-0 Brisbane Roar: Brett Holman 49’
From a Roar free-kick, the ball pin-balled inside the Kashima area before Holman hit a sweet first-time effort that blazed past keeper Kwoun Sun-Tae.
2-1 Kashima Antlers: Ryota Nagaki 79’
Roar failed to clear a spell of concerted pressure from the visitors, with Nagaki eventually stroking home from close range.