FOOTBALL: Finals football came early at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night with battling Brisbane Roar responding by snapping a three-game losing streak to beat fellow strugglers Perth Glory 3-2.
Avraam Papadopoulos, Ivan Franjic and the returning Brett Holman scored for the hosts, who won for just the fourth time this season and continued the Glory's horror run.
Perth have now lost five on the trot, with pressure continuing to mount on their coach Kenny Lowe.
The Roar displaced the Glory from seventh spot with the win, but remain three points outside the top six, with sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers having played two less matches.
"It was a final for both teams," Roar coach John Aloisi a said of match played in front of only 6258 fans.
"Perth are going through a rough patch, so were we, and to stay in the race we needed to win, that was the most important thing.
"Brisbane Roar find ways to win finals game. At times it wasn't our best performance but we scored three goals ... it was important to start scoring again."
The Roar ended an A-League goal drought of 319 minutes when they took an early lead through defender Papadopoulos, who showed deft touch at the far post to flick home a Fahid Ben Khalfallah free-kick.
It was Brisbane's first goal since Massimo Maccarone netted in the 45th minute of their 2-1 win over Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on December 30.
Brisbane's joy was short-lived, with the Glory back on level terms seven minutes later through Chris Harold, who got the better of Brisbane left back Connor O'Toole before beating goalkeeper Jamie Young on his near post.
The Roar, who were without ill Frenchman Eric Bautheac, regained the lead in the 60th minute via Franjic, who headed home a Ben Khalfallah free-kick.
However the Glory wouldn't die, with Harold scoring his second of the night in the 68th minute after some weak Brisbane defence allowed him to find the back of the net from an Andy Keogh pass.
The see-sawing affair took another twist five minutes later when substitute Holman scored in his first appearance since injuring his calf against Sydney FC on November 25.
Set up by Maccarone, Holman's first-time effort was too strong Glory goalkeeper Liam Reddy, who could not keep it out despite getting a hand to it.
Glory coach Lowe was left to lament Perth's failure to shut down Maccarone in the build-up.
"He's slower than a week in jail sometimes," Lowe said of the veteran Italian marksman.
"But … he's cute as a box of monkeys and he'll pull off your shoulders and pull between you.
"What did he do for the third goal? Everything we spoke about in our video analysis."
Earlier on Thursday, Peter Skapetis left the Roar to join Central Coast Mariners after failing to fire in Brisbane.
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