Brisbane go a long to securing their place in the finals with a convincing win over Melbourne Heart thanks to goals from Besart Berisha and Thomas Broich
|By DANIEL COLASIMONE
Brisbane Roar put in one of their most convincing performances of the season to defeat Melbourne Heart 2-0 and ensure qualification for the A-League finals series remains in their own hands.
The total dominance displayed by Brisbane in the first half at Suncorp Stadium resulted in a two-goal lead at the break, thanks to a penalty from Besart Berisha and a Thomas Broich wonder-strike.
The Roar took their foot off the gas in the second period but the result never really looked in doubt, and a surprisingly subdued Melbourne Heart now bow out of finals contention.
Brisbane jump to fifth place on the A-League ladder, meaning a win in Thursday's blockbuster fixture against Sydney FC will guarantee them finals football.
Melbourne Heart were left chasing shadows for most of the opening stanza, as Brisbane's passing game, seen only intermittently in 2012/13, clicked into gear to full effect.
Brisbane's early attacking pressure paid off when Ivan Franjic won a penalty as Sam Mitchinson clattered into him from behind in the Heart area.
Berisha converted coolly from the spot to give his side the lead after 12 minutes.
Moments later, Heart nearly conceded a second when Golgol Mebrahtu looped a defensive header just over his own goal.
Broich tried a rasping, low shot from outside the box and Heart goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne just got a hand to it to turn it wide of the post.
Redmayne was forced to make another diving save from Broich after 23 minutes when the German attempted to guide a curling left-footed shot into the top corner.
Then it was Steven Lustica's turn to trouble the Heart 'keeper, as his shot was tipped over the crossbar after a neat one-two with Mitch Nichols.
Broich capped his magnificent first half display with a cracking goal in the 31st minute, drilling the ball into the back of the net from 25 metres out to make it 2-0 to the Roar.
The game could have been out of Heart's reach by half time had Nichols found the net from close range following superb lead up work by Franjic, but he somehow missed the target.
The home side continued to control the majority of possession in the second period, though were content to sit on their lead and play at a slower tempo.
They still managed to create plenty of chances, though, and after 58 minutes Nichols played a delightful short pass through to Lustica, whose shot blazed over the bar.
Luke Brattan then tried his luck from distance, but his low shot went just wide of the right post.
Roar substitute Stefan Nijland fired a shot well over the target after a dangerous counter attack by the brilliant Franjic down the right.
The Dutchman came even closer on 75 minutes, curling a delightful shot which slammed against Redmayne's right upright.
The Heart pushed forward in the closing stages, but Brisbane goalkeeper Michael Theo only had half-chances to deal with until the final minute when he pushed out a David Williams effort, as the defending champions cruised to a comfortable win.