Perth Glory were left feeling robbed today after their A-League grand final dream was shattered in the most controversial circumstances at Suncorp Stadium.
Just seconds from extra-time, and moments after being reduced to 10 men, Glory were left crestfallen when referee Jarred Gillett gave Brisbane Roar a penalty after striker Besart Berisha - under pressure from Liam Miller - missed his kick and fell theatrically to the floor.
Berisha picked himself up to send Glory keeper Danny Vukovic the wrong way and send the majority of the 50,334 crowd into raptures as Roar completed a 2-1 win and became the first side to defend their A-League title.
"I feel we've been robbed with that decision," said an emotional Glory skipper Jacob Burns. "(It) killed us. You could see plain as day it wasn't a penalty."
Burns later said Berisha had admitted to him that it wasn't a penalty, although Berisha told TV that there was "a touch" and that he believed it was a "correct call from Jarred".
And in another insult for the Glory, the man-of-the-match award - the Joe Marston Medal - was handed to Thomas Broich after the match despite Burns being the winner.
Incredibly, an FFA administrator heard the name 'Burns' as 'Broich' and the German took the acclaim of the packed house, much to the surprise of the nine print and broadcast journalists who voted on the winner.
Once the mistake was realised, embarrassed officials had to tell Broich the medal wasn't his and that Burns was in fact the rightful recipient.The Glory midfielder was finally presented his award at a press conference afterwards - hardly the same as receiving his medal in front of 50,000 fans.It capped a cruel ending for Glory, who had taken the lead on 51 minutes when Ivan Franjic turned Travis Dodd's centre into his own net.But Roar, who famously came from two down to win last year's grand final against Central Coast, never know when they're beaten and just six minutes from time
Broich sent in a brilliant cross which Berisha planted past the impressive Vukovic.
Dean Heffernan then got himself sent off for a second yellow card as extra-time beckoned but just as Glory organised themselves to play with a man down, they were left empty-handed by Gillett's blunder.
Glory striker Shane Smeltz battled on for most of the game despite suffering a nasty facial injury in a clash with Matt Smith which required stitches at half time.Ferguson said Smeltz had struggled with his breathing and he considered taking him off at half-time after he copped an elbow off Smith."He's got a very, very bad cut inside the mouth and in the nose as well, it's really split open. He has to go to hospital straight away."Ferguson declined to have a go at Gillett, simply saying he was "very disappointed" with the decision to award the penalty. "I don't want to dwell on it."We've got to build on this season ... we weren't far away from winning the grand final."Ferguson said Heffernan's sending-off was "a bit silly". "He's obviously upset getting sent off in the final. He's seen a bit of red mist."Roar coach Ange Postecoglou said the controversial ending would not detract from his side's achievement."If anyone thinks we're undeserving of it then I've got an issue with it - the rest is good theatre," said Postecoglou, who is still weighing up a move to Melbourne Victory."Some people will feel Perth were hard done by. It was one-all at the time, so it's not like we stole the championship from them."We deserved our equaliser and there was 30 minutes of extra time with 10 men to play against, so if you weigh it all up, regardless of what the headlines are, where I sit we deserve to be the champions."