9 Oct 2011

Roar keep winning, deadlock at Etihad, Jets beat Heart

8:32 am on 9 October 2011

The Australian A-League football champions Brisbane Roar extended their record unbeaten run with a 1-0 win over Central Coast in the grand final re-match at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

There were a host of new faces compared to the Brisbane side who staged the come-from-behind championship victory over the Mariners in front of a packed Suncorp Stadium way back in March.

But it was business as usual for Roar who have now gone 29 games without tasting defeat thanks to Mitch Nichols' 72nd minute strike.

Melbourne Victory veteran recruit Ante Covic outshone star A-League debutants Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton to help his side fight out a drama-packed scoreless draw against Sydney FC at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Goalkeeper Covic, signed by Victory just four days before the match after their No.1 stopper Tando Velaphi was sidelined by a leg stress fracture, saved an Emerton first-half penalty shot in the game's pivotal moment, and produced several other brilliant saves.

Sydney counterpart Liam Reddy, a former Phoenix custodian, was just as good, denying Melbourne's star recruit Kewell's headed shot with a reflex save nearing halftime and producing several other fine moments.

Newcastle's off-field dramas failed to impact on their A-league season opener on Saturday, the Jets enjoying a 3-2 home win over Melbourne Heart.

The unprecedented sackings of father and son Branko and Jason Culina just four days earlier should have had an unsettling effect on the squad.

But after the Heart came from 2-1 down at the break to even the match it was left to Korean Sung-Hwan Byun to seal the 3-2 win and put a smile on the face of caretaker coach Craig Deans.