Markovski secures draw with dramatic 91st-minute equaliser in high-scoring match

Watch Brisbane Roar’s Jonas Markovski’s 91st-Minute Equaliser in 2-2 Draw with Western United

Jonas Markovski’s stoppage-time strike rescued Brisbane Roar a point in a seesawing 2-2 draw with Western United at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Western led early via Nikita Rukavytsya’s first league goal for the club but teenage Roar striker Thomas Waddingham levelled the scores just before the hour mark.

The Roar had the ascendancy after drawing level but couldn’t find the breakthrough, leading Noah Botic to make them pay down the other end with a 78th-minute header that put the visitors in front.

But much like Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Melbourne Victory which featured two late goals against John Aloisi’s side, Western couldn’t hold onto their advantage as Markovski came off the bench to tuck home a stoppage-time equaliser and earn a point for the hosts.

“The stoppage-time curse strikes again for Western United!” Said commentator Simon Hill as Markovski earned Brisbane a late point.

“You said it, Simon,” replied co-commentator Daniel McBreen. “Injury-time is a killer for Western United this week.”

Markovski’s 91st-minute equaliser was the sixth stoppage-time goal conceded by Brisbane this season – the equal-most in the competition alongside Perth Glory.

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Rukavytsya opened the scoring with just six minutes on the clock and his very first goal in Western colours was a tap-in; Josh Risdon crossed from the left wing to the back post and Lachie Wales headed the ball down into the fringe Socceroo striker’s path for a simple finish.

Rukavytsya last scored in the Isuzu UTE A-League in March, 2015 while playing for Western Sydney Wanderers – a goal that also came against Brisbane.

With Western’s No.1 goalkeeper Thomas Heward-Belle sidelined with a finger injury, Matthew Sutton came into the team as his replacement and made a big save to deny Roar striker Thomas Waddingham an equaliser.

Waddingham had another chance in the 25th minute but failed to connect with Henry Hore’s inviting cross toward the six-yard box as a big chance went begging for the Roar.

Brisbane then had a claim for a penalty waved away when Tom Aldred’s header in the box ricocheted off the arm of Western forward Michael Ruhs.

On the cusp of half-time Brisbane threatened once more and again it was Waddingham going close, winning the ball in the box with determined pressing but angling his shot just wide of the bottom-right corner.

The hosts upped the ante in the second half and Sutton was put to work twice in quick succession, tipping headers from Keegan Jelacic and Tom Aldred over the crossbar.

But it was third time lucky for the Roar. Another corner presented for Brisbane and this time Waddingham made it count, rising unchallenged to head home the leveller.

The Roar had the ascendancy and could have taken the lead if not for Ayom Majok’s over-hit cross that evaded a touch from Marco Rojas sliding in at the back post.

Down the other end, Matthew Grimaldi put Roar keeper Macklin Freke to the test with a rare sight on goal for the visitors but normal service quickly resumed as the Roar regained control.

Freke produced another stunning save to keep Grimaldi off the scoresheet but much like Waddingham down the other end, Western substitute Noah Botic rose from the subsequent corner to put the visitors back into the lead with a thumping header.

But just as it looked as though Western would come away from Suncorp Stadium with all three points, Roar substitute Markovski found a 91st-minute equaliser, getting ahead of his marker at the front post and poking Corey Brown’s delivery past Sutton and into the back of the net.

Post-game, Daniel McBreen questioned whether Western may have taken all three points instead of one had they not sat back to try and preserve their 2-1 lead once on the front foot.

“Brisbane were really dominant in that second half, the early period, 15 or 20 minutes,” McBreen said.

“And then when the goal went in, all of a sudden it was like Western United’s mindset changed (to): ‘We need to go and chase this’.

“But then when they scored it went back to: ‘Let’s just drop back into a block, let’s not concede, let’s not throw anything away’ when they had actually wrestled control back from the game, and looked like they were starting to get some ascendancy again.

“I think it’s a mindset. It’s: ‘We’re in the lead, we can’t give it away, let’s just sit back and try and be a block’ but it’s not working. They were better when they went: ‘Right, let’s play again’.

Young Western midfielder Matthew Grimaldi spoke to Paramount+ post-game and shared McBreen’s frustrations, suggesting that if his side hopes to take more points from winning positions and stop conceding own goals, remaining on the front foot and on the attack could be the answer.

“It just seems like the same thing is happening week in, week out,” Grimaldi said.

“We say we need to fix it, and we’re trying to, but it looks like the same thing keeps happening. When we do go one goal up, we just need to go for another one. We need to keep going. Because it seems like when we go back and try to close the game out, it’s just not seemed to work.

“I feel like we just need to go for another (goal) and finish the game off late.”

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