LNTUP

Brisbane Roar gets their first win of the season

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 08: David Williams of Melbourne City and Matthew Smith of the Roar compete for the ball during the round five A-League match between the Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City at Suncorp Stadium on November 8, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
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Brisbane Roar won their first win of the A-League season, defeating Melbourne City 3-1 courtesy of an Avraam Papadopoulos brace.

The defender scored the opener and clincher for the Roar as they climbed off the bottom of the ladder in front of just 9,285 supporters on a perfect Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.

Coach John Aloisi said it was a vital win for the team’s confidence after a sluggish start to their campaign, hampered by a spate of injuries to key players.

“We’re going to get stronger and stronger as the season goes on,” he said. “It was a win that was important for us because of the situation [we’re in].”

Papadopoulos thwarted City goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic on both occasions punishing him for handling mistakes.

The first came just five minutes in, with Papadopoulos beating Galekovic in an aerial contest to nod home after Iacopo La Rocca’s attempted clearing header went straight up high.

Eric Bautheac had created the initial danger with a cross from the left and scored the Roar’s second goal just two minutes from the break.

Again, La Rocca was at fault — he made a horrendous attempt at a backpass that was pounced on by Massimo Maccarone who held up the ball until Bautheac completed his run and slammed home from inside the box.

City made it 2-1 in the 54th minute as Stefan Mauk latched onto a pass from substitute Luke Brattan, his shot beating goalkeeper Jamie Young at his near post.

But Papadopoulos snuffed out the visitors’ comeback when the Melbourne-born former Greek international pounced after Galekovic dropped the ball while trying to collect a free kick with 20 minutes to go.

The 32-year-old shielded the ball with his body then swivelled around to trickle his attempt into the back of the net.

“It’s three horrendous individual mistakes,” City coach Warren Joyce said.

“You can’t fault the effort, desire, drive throughout the game … but you can’t expect to win any game and give three goals away like that.”

Papadopoulos could have had a hat trick from another goal-bound header before half-time but Mauk managed to clear it off the line.

The victory ends a six-match game winless start to the season for the injury-hit Roar, while City are now without a win in their past three.

City were without star striker Ross McCormack and midfielder Marcelo Carrusca, neither of whom made the trip to Brisbane.

Tim Cahill also wasn’t considered after playing just over an hour for the Socceroos in their World Cup qualifying playoff on Wednesday, amid prematch reports the veteran’s relationship with coach Warren Joyce is strained.