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Jan 14, 2012

Roar coach eyes Origin rivalry in A-League

The Brisbane Roar hope their ugly post-match minute of madness with Sydney FC will spark a State of Origin-style rivalry between the two A-League clubs.

Bad blood between Roar and Sky Blues players spilled over the sidelines at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night after Brisbane produced two injury-time goals for an astonishing 2-1 win.

Match-winner Besart Berisha sparked an emotion-charged melee when he took his shirt off and invited Sydney defender Pascal Bosschaart into the players' tunnel to settle their differences before running to the sheds.

It's understood the pair clashed during Sydney's 2-0 win at Kogarah six weeks ago and continued a heated running battle in the return match.

Berisha was among three Roar players who refused to shake the Dutchman's hand before the game and another, Erik Paartalu, confirmed they were unhappy with spiteful comments made at Kogarah.

But a Sydney official on Sunday said Bosschaart vehemently denied reports he'd degraded Kosovo-born Albanian striker Berisha's family.

Brisbane coach Ange Postecoglou said he was unaware of what was said on the field and hoped A-League officials wouldn't take action against the competition's leading goal scorer, who ended an eight-match drought with his 95th-minute header.

"I don't think anything particularly nasty went on," Postecoglou said on Sunday.

"It was unnecessary, yes, and should Bess have run over there? Probably not. If it was me would I have run over there? Probably yes.

"It's an emotional game and the guys are passionate about it. It was a minute of absolute madness.

"Obviously the stuff afterwards will get highlighted but I think most people who have watched it will have had a little bit of a chuckle and realised not a hell of a lot went on despite all the activity.

"There's a line that shouldn't be crossed. We got close to it, but I dont think anyone really went over that line last night."

Asked whether he was concerned about lingering bad blood between the two leading clubs, Postecoglou hoped it might grow an interstate rivalry like rugby league's State of Origin.

"NSW-Queensland rivalry why not? he said. "It's what our game needs, in the right sense. No one got hurt last night and no punches were thrown.

"I thought it was great theatre and we need rivalry. I'm sure the Sydney players and supporters can't wait to play us again and I'm sure ours are the same and we need to build that up and if that adds an extra 5000 to the gate next time, then fantastic."

The referees detailed the post-match shenanigans in an incident report and the FFA will review the drama on Monday.

Berisha had to be restrained by suit-wearing team-mate James Meyer but was not booked by the officials for his actions, which came after the final whistle.

Two minutes earlier, the Sky Blues were leading 1-0 and set for a crucial upset to end a six-match victory drought.

But in scenes reminiscent of the Roar's grand final escape against Central Coast, Mohamed Adnan slotted home a 25m free kick over the Sydney wall before Berisha's flicked-on header.

"It's becoming part of folklore of our club, these unbelievable finishes," Postecoglou said.

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