April 2, 2015 – 10:27PM
Brisbane Roar 6 Central Coast Mariners 1
Golden touch: Steven Lustica. Photo: Getty Images
Brisbane Roar bounced back to their awe-inspiring best on Thursday night with a 6-1 demolition of the Central Coast Mariners at Suncorp Stadium.
As the unfolding Perth Glory salary cap scandal opened up a possible back-door entry to the A-League finals, the Roar showed how ready they are for it by snapping a four-game losing streak in blistering fashion.
Steve Lustica was the star of the show, scoring a hat-trick marked by two long-distance rockets in the first half before Brisbane cracked the game open not long after the break.
Marksman: Andrija Kaluderovic is congratulated after he nailed the opener. Photo: Getty Images
The hapless Mariners were no match, only troubling the scorers courtesy of an innocuous own goal from the otherwise impressive Daniel Bowles – and it came when the hosts were already five up.
What appeared to be a dead rubber on paper took on a whole new complexion following allegations of multiple cap breaches by the Glory, whose A-League finals spot could be in jeopardy if they are found guilty and stripped of competition points.
The Roar played like a new carrot had been dangled in front of them, storming out of the gate to establish a 3-0 halftime lead in front of 6148 fans.
The returning Thomas Broich was in the thick of it, providing Brisbane with exactly what they had been missing in his four-match absence due to an ankle injury.
Just after the 20 minute mark, Broich played a ball over the top of the Central Coast defence and into the path of Andrija Kaluderovic, who made a run for it.
The Serbian marksman held his nerve despite close attention from Zac Anderson, finishing neatly past Liam Reddy for just his second A-League goal from open play.
Seven minutes later Broich teed up Lustica for his first stunner, a daring attempt from the edge of the box that took a slight deflection on the way.
Then with halftime looming, the 23-year-old outdid himself with another pearler from even further out.
Lustica made a bee-line for a loose ball that fell from a corner kick, and then put his laces through it with a first-time shot that tucked neatly into the bottom corner.
Broich was withdrawn at the interval to preserve him for the Roar’s heavy schedule to come, but his teammates continued his work without him.
It was 4-0 just three minutes into the second half, with Broich’s replacement Devante Clut the scorer after a thrilling run from Jean Carlos Solorzano crafted the opening.
In-form youngster Brandon Borrello clearly felt left out, joining the fun minutes later with a thunderous attempt into the roof of the net, while Lustica nabbed his third with 11 minutes to go.
The Canberra Times