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2017/18 Australian A-League, 2017 Australian A-League
  • Besart Berisha (79')
  • Brett Holman (84')

Brisbane Roar prolong Melbourne Victory misery with draw

A late equaliser from Brisbane Roar substitute Brett Holman has doomed Melbourne Victory to a 1-1 draw to extend their winless start to the A-League season.

Kevin Muscat's men looked to have done enough on Saturday night when Besart Berisha scored in his return from suspension in the 79th minute at Etihad Stadium.

But the Roar drew level minutes later when Holman managed to get on the end of a Jack Hingert cross and nailed a straightforward finish.

The result leaves last year's grand finalists stranded in eighth place -- one ahead of Brisbane -- with four draws and two losses.

Victory have never had such a poor start to a season.

A deeply disappointed Muscat was left frustrated by his side's inability to hold onto their hard-fought lead.

"The game was crying out for one team to take ascendancy but it just seemed to be one big battle from start to finish," he said. "From my perspective, it wasn't from a lack of trying but it was nowhere near as fluent as we would have liked."

Victory looked the more dangerous side throughout but especially when the game opened up late after a dour opening 60 minutes.

Winger Leroy George was the architect of virtually all of Melbourne's attacking forays and was fittingly the man who set up Berisha's goal.

The dynamic Dutchman connected with substitute Christian Theoharous' cross and his classy through-ball was cracked into the top left-hand corner by Berisha.

Berisha, the A-League's record goal scorer, was otherwise quiet in his first game back from a two-week ban for pushing an official.

With James Troisi, Mark Milligan and Kosta Barbarouses all on international duty, it was largely left to George to provide run and drive for a lifeless Victory side.

The hosts would have gone ahead in the 19th minute if not for a magnificent reflex save from Roar goalkeeper Jamie Young to fend off a Leigh Broxham header from a George corner.

It was the first of several brilliant stops from Young, who was filling in for injured first-choice glovesman Michael Theo (finger).

With George running riot on the right wing, Brisbane resorted to ugly tactics to slow their opponents down with four of their players -- and two Victory rivals -- earning yellow cards.

But the Roar also had their chances and could have made Victory's night much worse if not for two brilliant stops from defender Rhys Williams.

Brisbane's injury woes continued to pile up with Fahid Ben Khalfallah scratched from their side after tweaking his groin during the warm-up.

"We ended up having about 12 contracted players out but the players didn't look for an excuse ... they went out there and performed really well," Roar coach John Aloisi said.

"We didn't get our first win but that was like a win because of the way the boys fought and never stopped."

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