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Victory draw hands Adelaide premiership

NZN 9/04/2016 By Ben McKay

Adelaide United are the A-League premiers with Melbourne Victory and goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas denying Brisbane's ambitions in a steely stalemate at AAMI Park.

Against a weakened Victory outfit, Brisbane needed a win to sit on top of the ladder at the close of the season but came up short against an inspired home side.

Thomas made an incredible reaction save to deny James Donachie in injury time, following up fine efforts to keep out Jamie Maclaren and super-sub Henrique's efforts.

The result confirms Adelaide's astonishing transformation from zeroes to heroes, after sitting on the bottom of the competition, winless after eight rounds.

After a 2-0 away win over Melbourne City on Friday night, United watched and waited from Adelaide, needing the Roar to slip up against the Victory.

Their arch-rivals duly delivered as Brisbane bottled their chance to win the premiership in John Aloisi's first season in charge, handing the Reds a first trophy in a decade.

The Victory courted controversy by resting a spate of senior players, making seven changes from their last A-League outing, as they managed personnel from their Asian Champions League campaign.

Pre-match predictions of one-way traffic looked set to be fulfilled when Tommy Oar curled a perfect cross to an unmarked Matt McKay after three minutes.

But the Roar skipper fluffed the tap-in and so began a wretched night for Aloisi's men.

Brisbane did the lion's share of attacking but, time and again, the inexperienced Victory side stymied the premiership chasers.

It took Brisbane 54 minutes to have their first shot on target.

Shortly after, Maclaren had the chance of the match on the hour mark, racing onto Corona's header only to be denied by keeper Thomas at full stretch.

Thomas kept out super-sub Henrique's effort with a quarter-hour to go as the nerves set in.

There was to be no golden finish for the men in orange, and they could yet suffer further.

Should Western Sydney triumph on Sunday, Brisbane will slip to third place and miss a crucial week off in the finals campaign.

If the Wanderers win, the two teams will meet again next week in Queensland in an elimination final.

The match was also Gui Finkler's last home appearance for the Victory, having agreed a move next season to Wellington.

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