THOMAS Broich's hopes of a fairytale finish to his Brisbane Roar career are over, and it was his good mate Besart Berisha who crushed his dreams.
Former Roar striker Berisha scored the crucial goal as Melbourne Victory earned the right to meet Sydney FC in next Sunday's grand final with a 1-0 win over Brisbane at AAMI Park last night.
With the contest in the balance, Berisha rose high among Roar trio Luke DeVere, Corey Brown and goalkeeper Jamie Young to head home a brilliant cross from Fahid Ben Khalfallah in the 70th minute.
Broich had only entered the contest two minutes earlier, with Roar coach John Aloisi having opted to start Tommy Oar ahead of him.
The 36-year-old German marquee man desperately wanted a fourth A-League championship to cap off his remarkable Roar career.
But the Victory deserved their win, with only a string of saves from Young, who bravely played with 26 stitches in his arm after his mishap with a broken net hook in Thailand last week, ensuring the margin of the win wasn't greater.
Broich will now finish in Roar career on Wednesday week when Brisbane host Korean club Ulsan Hyundai in a Group E AFC Champions League match.
"I thought we had a real chance to go through to the grand final but it didn't happen for us today," Broich said.
"They were really aggressive for 90 minutes and the better team won."
Broich wanted to start the game but understood Aloisi's decision to name him among the substitutes.
"I have to accept it. Maybe it was not such a bad idea to come here away from home and play with a player (Oar) that is quicker than myself.
"The theory was good but sometimes theory and practice is just not the same."
Berisha - who will have the chance to win a fourth A-League grand final and a second with the Victory when the Melbourne club takes on the Sky Blues at Allianz Stadium - was full of praise for Broich.
"(I'm) very sad to hear that he's not staying in Brisbane," Berisha said of his former Roar teammate, who intends to play elsewhere next season after failing to be guaranteed a new Roar deal.
"If he stays in the A-League it will be great - I don't like to see him go," Berisha said.
"He plays like a 22-year-old man. I don't know why he should go. He should stay."
Aloisi was frustrated with his team's performance in such a crucial game.
"You can win and lose football games but we didn't even play the football that we know that we can play and that we've been playing," the Roar coach said.
"You have to give credit to Victory as well. I'm just deflated because I wanted to make the grand final, and all the boys are as well."
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