Skipper leads the way as Roar keep rising
Update: Skipper Tom Aldred and young striker Mirza Muratovic both scored maiden A-League goals, but it was veteran Scott McDonald who stole the show on Saturday night as Brisbane Roar moved into the top six with a 2-1 win over Adelaide United.
Trailing 1-0 following a scintillating strike from ex-Brisbane attacker Ben Halloran, the Roar netted twice in the space of six second-half minutes to prevail in slippery conditions at Suncorp Stadium.
The win moved the Roar into sixth spot on the ladder ahead of Western United, who have a bye this weekend.
Ex-Socceroos forward McDonald, who joined the Roar last month from Western United, had a hand in both of Brisbane's goals and earnt special praise from coach Robbie Fowler.
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"I think Scotty's been brilliant since he came in," Fowler said.
"All season we've probably lacked someone to hold the ball in the final third and bring others into the game. We've gone out and got Scotty, and he's been incredible … he's been a fantastic signing."
Unfortunately for the Roar, McDonald will not be able to play against his former club in Ballarat next Sunday due to a clause in his contract.
Brisbane's victory cut the margin between them and Adelaide to just two points, with the Reds' first loss in four matches dropping them to fifth spot on the table on goal difference behind Wellington Phoenix.
Adelaide's side included former Roar midfielder Stefan Mauk, who left Brisbane in last month's transfer window after falling out of selection favour with Fowler.
The Reds also gave a maiden A-League appearance to 15-year-old Mohamed Toure, who became the competition's third youngest debutant.
And while Toure caused Brisbane trouble with his size and power after coming on, the Roar held on in front of 8945 fans to win for the sixth time this season.
"I thought he was very good," Fowler said of Toure.
"He looked dangerous, he looked a handful, he got the ball and you felt as though something was going to happen, so good luck to him too. He's not our player though."
Toure's teammate Halloran, who has been linked with a return to the Roar, broke the game open in the 58th minute with a sweet strike from outside the box.
Fowler introduced Muratovic into the contest three minutes later, and it soon paid dividends.
The 20-year-old striker scored his first A-League goal in the 68th minute after a sustained move by the Roar that included a goal-bound McDonald strike that seemed to hit the arm of Reds substitute Ryan Kitto.
Six minutes later the Roar went ahead through Aldred, who headed home an inch-perfect McDonald cross also score for the first time in the A-League.
Substitute Aaron Amadi-Holloway almost made it 3-1 a few minutes later but in the end two goals were enough as the Roar bounced back hard from their last-start 1-0 loss to Sydney FC.
Reds coach Gertjan Verbeek said Brisbane deserved to win despite believing the Roar should not have been awarded a corner in the lead up to their winning goal.
BRISBANE ROAR 2 (Mirza Muratovic 68m, Tom Aldred 74m) ADELAIDE UNITED 1 (Ben Halloran 58m) at Suncorp Stadium. Crowd: 8,945. Referee: Adam Fielding.