Roar beats Sydney in gritty affair
It may be the business end of the A-League season but Queensland's 3-1 win over Sydney FC on Saturday night was clearly personal after Roar coach Frank Farina was called a "liar" by rival mentor John Kosmina in a stunning post-match dressing down.
After Dutch striker Sergio van Dijk's hat-trick knocked Sydney FC out of the finals hunt, the coaches had an animated sideline exchange, Kosmina at one stage holding Farina by the back of the head.
In the end Roar official Gary Wilkins had to separate the pair.
Fireworks were feared after Farina claimed in a Brisbane newspaper earlier this week that a friendly phone call with Kosmina had turned nasty and that he had taunted the Roar coach over their failure to defeat Sydney FC this season.
While Farina tried to play down the post-match exchange, Kosmina gave his side of the story in no uncertain terms.
"I actually had a shot at Frank afterwards. The conversation (in the newspaper) didn't happen - Frank lied, end of story," Kosmina said.
"We had a chat but not about any of the things he mentioned.
"It was a fairly immature, very unintelligent, typical Farina-esque attempt at trying to beat up the game for whatever reasons I don't know.
"Why Frank wants to get into that sort of crap I dont know.
"He apologised so I said we'll put it in the papers where you put the other crap.
"But it's finished as far as I'm concerned. He's said his piece, I've said mine.
"I just don't like liars, end of story. Don't mind a beat-up, a bit of fun but not like that."
Farina appeared before Kosmina in the post-match press conference and gave a very different version.
"We just had a chat. There was nothing there. We had a difference of opinion on a couple of things," he said.
"I still like John, he is still my mate."
Kosmina also complained over youngster Zach Cairncross being red carded in the 87th minute for a challenge on Andrew Packer, saying efforts by the Roar's Craig Moore and Danny Tiatto were similar.
"I thought he was very unfortunate with the send-off," he said.
"If you look at Craig Moore studs-up, if you look at Danny Tiatto with the two-footer on the sideline against Rhyan (Grant) - I don't know what the rules are."
The loss ensured inaugural champions Sydney FC cannot make the finals for the first time since the A-League began, this being the fourth season.
The inspirational van Dijk kept Queensland's top two hopes alive barely 24 hours after scans cleared the Dutch striker of a facial fracture.
He looked in all sorts of trouble on Wednesday night when he lost consciousness briefly after a head clash with Adelaide's Robert Cornthwaite in their 0-0 draw.
But he proved his fitness in no uncertain terms with a first half double completed the hat-trick - the first ever by a Roar player - in stoppage time.
He opened the scoring in the 15th minute when he pounced on a ricocheted Mitch Nichols shot.
The 19,111-strong Roar faithful were silenced in the 25th when Sydney FC wonder boy Kofi Danning, 17, grabbed his second goal in as many games.
His header from a clever cross from fellow teenager Grant evaded Roar keeper Griffin McMaster and suddenly scores were locked up.
However, Cairncross's inexperience was exposed when he was found out by a Moore long pass that found a wide open van Dijk and the flying Dutchman did the rest to score in the 28th minute.
Fittingly the last word went to van Dijk when he lashed home a Charlie Miller cross in the 93rd minute.
It was the fourth home win in a row for the Roar whose Suncorp Stadium hoodoo now seems a distant memory.