Brisbane Roar overcome the dismissal of defender Matthew Jurman early in the second half to grab a 1-1 draw with Ulsan Hyundai in their Asian Champions League clash in South Korea.
Jurman was dismissed for a professional foul on midfielder Kim Seung-Yong after slipping on the greasy surface. Roar goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos saved the resultant penalty but Roar couldn’t hold on to their half-time lead.
Young gun Nick Fitzergerald opened the scoring on 36 minutes after a great lay-off from Besart Berisha but the sending off changed the complexion of the contest and the home side eventually equalised though Jae-Sung Lee.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Brisbane remained positive and continued to play out from the back and attack bravely in the open encounter.
Roar, who must back up on Sunday in the second leg of their A-League major semi-final against Central Coast at Gosford, actually had the better of the second half chances and finished moral victors.
German talisman Thomas Broich again showed his class and was responsible for turning defence into a golden chance for Mitch Nichols who stumbled as he only had keeper Kim Seung-Gyu to beat in the 68th minute.
Watched on by former teammates Matt McKay and Luke DeVere, both now based in South Korea, Roar produced a bright start in the chilly conditions.
Midfield workhorse Massimo Murdocca was found unmarked in the box twice in the opening eight minutes but was unable to make the most of the chances.
While the visitors continued to threaten, the Tigers did produce a couple of scares with a header from captain Kwak Tae-Hwi hitting the crossbar and Shane Stefanutto stopping a blazing Julian Estiven Velez shot with a last-ditch header off the line.
Left-back Stefanutto was one of the Brisbane’s best and almost set up a match-winner to Besart Berisha through an instinctive intercept only for the Albanian’s shot to be blocked.
Roar now have two points from three matches in the ACL but remain in the hunt to progress to the knockout stages in the halfway mark of group play.
Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou was delighted with his side’s display but lamented a lack of polish in front of goal.
“I thought we played really well for the whole game,” he said.
“We deserved to be one-up but going down the man for the majority of the second half it was always going to be difficult but again we created two or three fantastic opportunities for ourselves.
“Tonight with 10 men we still tried to play our football, we still wanted to get the second goal and we weren’t satisfied with just getting a point and full credit to the players for that.
“The frustrating thing was we just couldn’t get the reward that I thought we deserved.”
Also pleasing for the Roar, due to arrive back in Australia on Friday morning, was the fact all players came through the match unscathed.
By Buford Balony