Aloisi says Roar in good shape to win title from third
FOOTBALL: Brisbane Roar coach John Aloisi says his side can create history by becoming the first team outside the top two to win the A-League championship.
The Roar head into the finals series with a ton of momentum after fighting back from two goals down to beat Wellington Phoenix 4-3 in a thriller at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday night.
The win, coupled with Perth's 5-4 defeat of Melbourne City, ensured the Roar finished the regular season in third spot, aiding its chances of playing in next year's AFC Champions League.
But the Roar can ensure another campaign of continental football by winning the grand final.
Previously the decider has been won only by teams finishing the regular season in first or second spot on the ladder.
However, Aloisi believes his side - which will host sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night in the first week of the finals - can change that this season.
"We definitely think we can, but we have to win that first game (against the Wanderers) first. That's the most important," Aloisi said.
"We're confident that we can beat anyone anywhere. I don't mind who we play."
The Roar also finished third on the ladder last season, but Aloisi said his team was entering the finals on a better note this time.
"Last season I felt that we just sort of got over the line not playing at our best. This season we're playing well," he said.
Down 3-1 at half-time against the Phoenix, the Roar stormed home, scoring three unanswered second-half goals, much the delight of the crowd of 12,098.
Brisbane's remarkable comeback could have been more emphatic had star striker Jamie Maclaren converted from the penalty spot in the 76th minute.
But his failed effort left him on 19 goals for the A-League season, meaning he will share the Golden Boot with Melbourne Victory's former Roar star Besart Berisha.
Maclaren did manage a goal in the game, but former Socceroo Brett Holman stole the show with two crackers. Brandon Borrello scored the Roar's other goal.
The Phoenix scored first in the sixth minute through Fijian striker Roy Krishna.
The Roar was back on level terms in the 21st minute thanks to a superb long-distance strike from Holman that was too good for Phoenix keeper Lewis Italiano.
Wellington regained the lead in the 38th minute when some shoddy Roar defence allowed Krishna and Michael McGlinchey to set up the unmarked Gui Finkler.
Worse was to follow for the hosts when the Phoenix increased its lead in the 41st minute.
Playing just his third A-League match, young Roar defender Cameron Crestani fluffed his attempt to clear a Finkler cross, with McGlinchey pouncing to ensure the Kiwi club led 3-1 at half-time.
But the Roar were on a mission in the second half, with Borrello scoring the Roar's second in the 51st minute before Maclaren made it 3-3 two minutes later with his 50th A-League goal.
The Roar took the lead for the first time in the match in the 67th minute when Holman produced his second stunner of the night.
It should have been 5-3 nine minutes later, but Italiano saved Maclaren's penalty shot.
Phoenix coach Des Buckingham said the match "typified" his team's season.
"We haven't got enough points on the board and part and parcel of that is the way when we've been in strong positions or we need to get ourselves back into games we've not been quite able to do that," Buckingham said.