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Brisbane leads A-League after win over Wanderers

November 24, 2013

SYDNEY (AP) — Brisbane returned to the top of the A-League with its fifth win in seven rounds - a 3-1 victory over Western Sydney which ended the Wanderers’ unbeaten start to the season and tipped them out of first place.

Albanian striker Besart Berisha returned from injury to score the opening goal as Brisbane posted its first win in five matches against Western Sydney, who were league runners-up in their debut last year.

Ivan Franjic scored to give Brisbane a 2-0 lead while Brendon Santalab scored his first goal for the Wanderers since his offseason transfer from China to halve the deficit after only 28 minutes.

Brisbane was able to suppress Western Sydney’s fightback and to seal the match with a brilliant injury-time goal to 19-year-old Kwame Yeboah. Its winning streak at home stretched to eight games, encompassing wins this season over Sydney FC, 4-0, and the Melbourne Heart, 3-0.

“It was important for us to win. This is our home ground. We want to make it a fortress,” coach Mike Mulvey said.

“It’s worth noting we’ve played three good teams now and we’ve scored four, three and three. That’s good news.”

In other matches, Serbia striker Ranko Despotovic made a perfect A-League debut, scoring a 94th-minute winner as Sydney FC beat Wellington 2-1 for a third straight win which moved it up to third place.

Richard Garcia gave Sydney a 35th-minute lead but Wellington equalized through Costa Rica international Kenny Cunningham in the first minute of injury time after Sydney was reduced to 10 men.

Despotovic provided the winner three minutes later and only five days after arriving in Australia from a European winter, giving Sydney its first three-match winning streak since 2009.

Defending champions Central Coast also scored in injury time to beat Perth 2-1, giving Phil Moss a winning start to his role as head coach and successor to Graham Arnold, who is coaching in Japan. Former France international William Gallas started for Perth but lasted only 32 minutes before limping from the field with a calf injury.

Perth played the last 30 minutes with 10 men, battling hard before conceding an injury time winner to Mitchell Duke.

The Melbourne Victory beat Adelaide United 3-0 despite playing all of the second half with 10 men after the sending off of defender Adrian Leijer.

Kosta Barbarouses gave Melbourne the lead with a goal after 14 minutes while Archie Thompson and Mitch Nichols added second-half goals.

An Adam Taggart hat trick gave Newcastle a 3-1 win over the Melbourne Heart, lifting Taggart’s tally for the season to six goals and leaving the Heart winless after seven games.