Penalty controversy as Roar held by City
FOOTBALL: Referee Allan Milliner earnt the ire of both coaches after a travel-weary Brisbane Roar gave up a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with a depleted Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
Seemingly set to defy their taxing schedule and continue their fine form following their shock 2-0 AFC Champions League playoff win over Shanghai Shenhua in China on Wednesday night, the Roar had to settle for point after being two up at half-time.
Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren scored both of Brisbane's goals to take his season tally to 10, but it was Milliner who stole the headlines by awarding two dubious penalties - one to each team.
Roar coach John Aloisi and his City counterpart Michael Valkanis were adamant that neither spot kick should have been awarded.
The first came in the 34th minute when Milliner ruled that City fullback Josh Rose brought down Roar speedster Brandon Borrello.
Maclaren made no mistake from the spot before extending Brisbane's lead on the stroke of half-time, taking advantage of a perfectly timed short pass from teammate Manuel Arana.
But just when it seemed Brisbane would cruise to their first victory in Melbourne since January 2014, the hosts produced a stirring fightback.
Winger Bruce Kamau sliced the Roar's lead in half in the 58th minute with a shot that appeared to take a slight deflection before beating Brisbane goalkeeper Michael Theo on his near post.
Three minutes later City was back on level terms when Milliner pointed to the spot, ruling that teenage Roar fullback Dane Ingham, who was making his A-League debut, brought down ex-Brisbane attacker Nick Fitzgerald.
"I don't think the first one was a penalty ... and the second one wasn't a penalty either," Roar coach John Aloisi said.
"I think he (Milliner) just went to level it up.
"(But) I don't want to criticise because it's not easy to be a referee. People are going to make mistakes. He made some mistakes tonight."
Valkanis said referees had to be held accountable.
"Two penalties didn't exist, either ours or theirs," the City coach said.
"I think it's time we start taking responsibility and accountability to improve."
Apart from the refereeing, Aloisi was frustrated his third-placed side didn't kill the game off, with City goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen making a host of saves on his first-team return.
"When you're 2-0 up it never looks like a good (draw). How many saves did Thomas Sorensen make? He was outstanding," Aloisi said.
Aloisi made six changes to the side that started in Shanghai.
Coming into the 11 were goalkeeper Theo, defenders Ingham and Daniel Bowles, midfielders Jacob Pepper and Brett Holman, and Arana.
Out went the suspended Jade North, the injured Hingert, benched trio Thomas Kristensen, Tommy Oar and Jamie Young, and veteran marquee man Thomas Broich, who wasn't in the squad at all.
City fielded a weakened side due to the suspension of seven players - Bruno Fornaroli, Tim Cahill, Luke Brattan, Fernando Brandan, Manny Muscat, Osama Malik and Dean Bouzanis - and injuries to key defenders Michael Jakobsen and Ivan Franjic.