LNTUP

A-League: Wellington Phoenix 3-3 Brisbane Roar FC

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Brisbane Roar battled back from a three-goal deficit to steal a 3-3 A-League draw with Wellington Phoenix.

Three goals inside the opening 20 minutes, including a brace to Serbian striker Andrija Kaludjerovic, looked to have wrapped up an early win for the Phoenix on Saturday at Westpac Stadium.

But the Roar, winless from the opening three rounds of the season, stormed back in the second half to secure their first points of the season.

Italian striker Massimo Maccarone added a late penalty to his 45th-minute strike as the Roar fought their way back from a 3-1 half-time deficit.

Kaludjerovic had opened Wellington’s account in the first minute, finishing Dario Vidosic’s cross with a powerful header for his second goal of the season.

The Phoenix continued to build well as the half progressed, shifting the ball at pace and proving clinical in their finishing.

Roy Krishna lashed home his first goal of the season in the 18th minute, latching onto a long ball from stand-in skipper Michael McGlinchey and unleashing a long-range screamer which left Roar keeper Michael Theo with no chance.

The Fijian striker featured again just two minutes later with a well-timed run down the right and a cross to the far post for Kaludjerovic to slot home his second.

Stand-in skipper McGlinchey looked to have landed Wellington’s fourth in the 36th minute, but was ruled offside and Brisbane were set to go into the break trailing by three.

But the Nix, missing experienced defenders Marco Rossi and Andrew Durante to injury, were caught out late at the back.

Jack Hingert stormed down the right, Brett Holman’s header from the cross forcing a reflex save from young keeper Keegan Smith only for Maccarone to punch home on the follow-up.

The second half delivered more fireworks, although Brisbane couldn’t add their second until the 66th minute.

Ben Khalfallah’s free kick forced a weak parry from Smith on his near post, with Avram Papadopoulos slotting home to give the Roar a glimmer of hope.

Maccarone levelled the scores with an 82nd-minute penalty after Nix midfielder Matthew Ridenton brought down Papadopoulos in the box.

Both teams pushed forward in the closing minutes amid often fiery exchanges, but neither could provide the crucial finish to steal the win.