Roar beat Perth in A-League grand final

by AAP on Apr 22, 2012

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Perth Glory skipper Jacob Burns declared his team was robbed and claimed Brisbane Roar match-winner Besart Berisha admitted as much as the dramas continued after a highly-controversial end to Sunday night's A-League grand final.

Lightning struck for the second time at Suncorp Stadium as the Roar scored two late goals in the second successive Brisbane decider to become the first club in the competition's six-year history to defend their crown.

But the result, and a pulsating finish in front of a sell-out crowd of 50,334, was overshadowed by a dubious penalty awarded by referee Jarred Gillett in the seventh minute of stoppage time.

Berisha, who 10 minutes earlier equalised for Brisbane with a brilliant header, was awarded a spot kick after he fell making an air-swing in front of goal amid a scramble with three Glory defenders.

Burns and his teammates immediately remonstrated with Gillett in the madhouse moments before and after the Albanian international slotted home the winner.

A gutted Burns struggled to control his anger immediately after the match, saying "I feel like I've been robbed there with the decision. It cost us the grand final".

The veteran midfielder also reiterated during his post-match press conference that Berisha admitted to him on the field that it wasn't a penalty.

But the A-League's Golden Boot adamantly denied uttering any sort of admission and insisted contact was made on him by Liam Miller in the box and Gillett made the right call.

"There was contact," Berisha said. "It was a penalty. I don't care what Jacob Burns said."

Socceroos skipper Lucas Neill was among the Twitterati sympathising with Perth for the dubious penalty.

Roar coach Ange Postecoglou, who wouldn't be drawn on whether the grand final was his last game in charge of Brisbane, admitted his side enjoyed the rub of the green at the death but stressed it shouldn't detract from the result or their achievement.

Reportedly on the brink of signing with Melbourne Victory, Postecoglou said the defending champions were once again rewarded for attacking until the death.

"Regardless of what the headlines are, as I sit here, I think we deserve to be champions," he said.

"It's not a fluke, it's not luck, it's us trying to initiate the play."

The victory made Postecoglou the most successful coach in Australian domestic soccer history with four national titles from four grand finals, including two with South Melbourne in the old NSL.

But Perth looked set to pull off the A-League's biggest grand final upset when they went ahead 1-0 in the 51st minute through an own goal by Roar defender Ivan Franjic.

Billy Mehmet produced a fine run through the middle of the ground before finding Travis Dodd out on the right and the veteran fired in two crosses, the second of which deflected off a shattered Franjic.

With Burns and goalkeeper Danny Vukovic standing tallest of all, the Glory repelled the Roar until the 84th minute when Berisha headed home a superb cross by Thomas Broich.

Perth were under more heat as the decider went into stoppage time when defender Dean Heffernan was sent off after receiving his second yellow card for a clear foul on Franjic.

"I kept looking at the clock thinking we'd done enough," said Burns, whose day was made worse when a breakdown in communication saw Broich wrongly presented with the Joe Marston Medal as man of the match.

Burns was finally given the medal by apologetic A-League chief Lyall Gorman 90 minutes after fulltime in front of the media.