Smith praises Roar defence
Skipper Matt Smith says Brisbane Roar earned their point in a 1-1 draw against Western Sydney with some defensive steel.
Smith and his fellow defenders have been relatively unsung this season as the Roar have stayed at the top of the A-League thanks to their supply of goals – they have scored 10 more than any of their top-four rivals.
But second-placed Wanderers gave them a tough workout at Pirtek Stadium on Friday before Brisbane picked up the point that keeps them seven points clear.
Western Sydney pinned the visitors back for much of the second half, after the Roar had taken a 13th-minute lead through Besart Berisha.
Substitute Labinot Haliti drew Wanderers level five minutes from time, bundling home at the far post from a Shannon Cole cross.
Smith said: "Straight after the final whistle I was disappointed that we didn't win. But after I had time to think about it I realised we were very disciplined and desperate and when we had to defend we certainly did it well as a unit."
He added: "Tonight we were called upon a lot more than usual and I was pleased with the way we defended although we conceded an awfully big number of free kicks and allowed them to make too many crosses.
"But it is Western Sydney and they made it very difficult for us to perform like we usually do. I'll take the point and I think a draw was a fair result. It was important not to lose tonight."
The Roar had gone ahead when Albania international Berisha took a Dimi Petratos pass and evaded a challenge before shooting low past Ante Covic.
Wanderers went close in the first half through a Youssouf Hersi cross-shot that Michael Theo tipped aside, before raising their game after the break.
Brendon Santalab hit the post, then the same player nudged the ball past Theo only to see his low cross cleared near the line by Smith.
Meanwhile, Newcastle Jets are 11/10 to defeat the Wellington Phoenix on Sunday, with the draw 12/5 and a win by the New Zealanders 12/5.
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