Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United got their respective A-League camapigns under way with pulsating victories on Sunday.
A late Ivan Franjic goal sealed a 2-1 win for Brisbane over an under-strength Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium.
The match seemed destined for a draw after a first-half goal from Phoenix striker Stein Huysegems was cancelled out by Besart Berisha early in the second half, until Franjic struck on the stroke of full-time.
With four regulars on international duty with New Zealand and Louis Fenton injured, new Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick was up against it from the off.
But they took the lead as Huysegems opened his account for the season with a well-taken goal in the 22nd minute after Michael Boxall had given him a close-range opportunity.
Berisha was twice thwarted by Jacob Spoonley in the Wellington goal, before being denied by the linesman’s flag on the stroke of half-time.
But the Roar striker only had to wait 52 seconds after the restart to finally get on the scoresheet after a well-placed cross from Franjic.
Australia international Franjic saw a 75th-minute header cannon back off the crossbar, but he snatched the points with stoppage time looming, turning home after Thomas Broich’s shot hit the post.
A Jeronimo Neumann brace propelled Adelaide to a thrilling 3-1 triumph over Perth Glory at Coopers Stadium.
Josep Gombau’s reign in Adelaide got under way with a win, but their discipline left much to be desired as Isaias and Nigel Boogaard were dismissed and four other players were yellow-carded.
In a frenetic opening, Jeronimo opened the scoring in the ninth minute with a curling effort, but Perth equalised less than two minutes later as Ryo Nagai headed Sidnei Sciola Moraes’ cross home.
Jeronimo put his side back in front on 24 minutes, scoring from close-range after Danny Vukovic saved Fabio Ferreira’s header.
United further extended their lead 20 minutes into the second half, Ferreira prodding past Vukovic after being set up by Michael Zullo.
However, just a minute later, Isaias was given his marching orders, earning his second yellow card for time wasting, before Boogaard was also dismissed for two bookable offences with 10 minutes still to play.
However, Gombau’s side held on firmly and have ended the first A-League matchday top of the standings.
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