SKIPPER Nigel Boogaard was controversially sent off for a second straight game as the Newcastle Jets gave up a 1-0 lead to go down 2-1 to Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday night.
Five days after having a red card overturned, Boogaard was left bemused for a second week after a tangle with Roar attacker Henrique in the 66th minute. The central defender challenged the super sub in the box and appeared momentarily to hook his arm around the pint-sized striker’s shoulder before winning the ball.
However, referee Strebre Delovski had no hesitation in producing a straight red card.
It was Boogaard’s fourth send-off this season, including the rescinded card for a tackle on Perth striker Andy Keogh last round, and 10th of his career.
Jets coach Scott Miller, after leaping to the defence of Boogaard over the Perth send-off, was more concerned with the lead-up to the challenge.
“Irrespective of the red card, our positioning in the build-up was completely wrong in terms of our starting position and press on the ball,” he said. “That played a massive part in the outcome.”
The Jets had taken the lead in the 48th minute though a penalty to Leonardo after Roar defender Jade North was pinged for hand ball. They could, and probably should, have went 2-0 up in the 55th minute when Ryan Kitto had a header from point blank blocked by Roar keeper Jamie Young.
“For me that was the defining moment of the game,” Miller said. “It’s a huge component of our game that has been lacking all year. In any league in the world, the teams who are the most successful have the maturity to recognise key moments and put them to bed.”
Despite Kitto’s miss the Jets were in control when Boogaard was dismissed.
Henrique converted from the penalty spot to equalise. Six minutes later the Roar were in front after Corey Brown fired in a cross from the left which Henrique stepped over for Thomas Broich to drive home.
“It’s easy to reflect on the mistakes we made and the opportunities we didn’t take, but we didn’t take them,” Miller said. “Brisbane took theirs and were worthy winners.”
Needing a win to stay on the pace for the Premiers Plate, the Roar were dominant early and if not two brilliant saves by Mark Birighitti the game might have been gone.
But the Jets rallied and after finishing the first half strongly were rewarded when North was unable pull his outstretched arm away from a Steve Ugarkovic thunderbolt. Leonardo made no mistake from the penalty spot, hitting a powerful shot into the top right corner.