A late Billy Mehmet header has seen Perth Glory avenge last year’s A-League grand final defeat to the Brisbane Roar with a 1-0 win.
Mehmet had only been on the field for a matter of minutes when he got on the end of a Scott Jamieson cross to head home the 89th-minute winner in front of 14,085 fans at Patersons Stadium.
Both teams had several chances earlier in the match to break the deadlock, but failed to capitalise.
Brisbane looked the more likely of the two teams to score late and had just seen a number of Thomas Broich free-kicks in dangerous positions go wide of the Perth goal.
The Mehmet goal was the result of a well-worked counter-attack down the left-hand side from Perth after Brisbane had been camped in Glory’s defensive half.
In a fiery encounter, tempers threatened to boil over several times in the first half.
Jacob Burns felled Besart Berisha before Liam Miller received a yellow card for his late knees into the back of the Albania international.
Brisbane’s Mitch Nichols joined Miller in referee Ben Williams’ book for his role in the aftermath.
The scars of last year’s grand final again bubbled to the surface when Dean Heffernan and Berisha were involved in a scuffle that saw the Roar striker booked.
Perth held the early initiative and a clear-cut chance fell to Shane Smeltz after an errant back pass, but the New Zealand international failed to control the ball and Matthew Jurman was able to get back and clear with the open goal beckoning.
Brisbane worked their way back into the contest and dominated the first half possession with 59 percent, but failed to turn it into notable chances.
Nick Fitzgerald forced a diving two-handed save out of Danny Vukovic after he made a run down the left that caught the Glory defence outnumbered.
Erik Paartalu rose above the Perth defence from a set-play only for his header to go inches wide of the goal.
Mehmet, introduced in the 85th minute, got the decisive goal as he headed Jamieson’s cross into the bottom corner to give Glory the three points.
Adelaide United spoilt the debut of Newcastle’s star signing Emile Heskey with a strong 2-0 win over the Jets in their opener at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
Dario Vidosic stunned the Newcastle crowd of nearly 15,000 when he snatched a goal in just the second minute of the match before the Jets worked their way back into the contest to create several chances in the first half.
However, Newcastle’s chances of a comeback were curtailed early in the second half when they were reduced to 10 men after goalkeeper Mark Birighitti was shown a red card for a handball outside the area.
Adelaide sealed the points 15 minutes from full-time when Iain Ramsay slotted home at the back post after a great piece of work from Vidosic.