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Jan, 24, 2009

Tough guy Tiatto the trump card - Farina

Controversy is usually never far behind Queensland Roar hardman Danny Tiatto.

But in Queensland's 4-2 win over Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, Tiatto looked to have clocked a personal best - it took just three minutes to seemingly go from hero to villain.

However, Roar coach Frank Farina took even less time to decide who was his trump card in their bold push for a maiden A-League title - that man Tiatto.

Two goals in five minutes against Perth sealed a fifth straight home victory for the Roar, keeping their hopes of a top two finish alive.

But Tiatto's dubious 66th minute yellow card from referee Peter O'Leary looked to have swung the match.

The caution for a challenge on Victor Sikora left Tiatto and the Roar fans fuming, particularly when Anthony Skorich scored from the resulting penalty kick to lock up the scores at 2-2.

Just three minutes earlier it was all going so well for Tiatto.

The former Manchester City enforcer made his first A-League goal worth the wait, unleashing a stunning 25m left foot strike to give Queensland a 2-1 lead.

After booing Skorich's controversial goal, the Roar faithful had something to cheer about in the 77th minute when Sergio van Dijk's sublime touch from a Matt McKay cross again gave the hosts the lead - and the Dutchman his 11th goal of the season.

Five minutes later the Queensland fans went berserk when defender Josh McCloughan's header from a corner found the back of the net and sealed the 4-2 win.

But there were no prizes for guessing who dominated Farina's post-match press conference.

"He was outstanding, shouldn't have been booked. It was a great tackle," he said of Tiatto's yellow card.

"We copped a second goal from it, but it was a wonderful tackle. There was nothing wrong with that whatsoever."

Asked if Tiatto's hard man reputation contributed to the penalty, Farina said: "Look, I am not going to get into it too much.

"(Perth's Nikolai) Topor-Stanley in the first half made a bad tackle in the first half, didn't get anything.

"But anyway, the positive was he played really well.

"And I don't think he is going to score a more important goal than that for the club."

All yellow cards are wiped clean for players when the A-League finals begin.

No one doubts Tiatto's reputation as an A-League toughman - he is playing with a broken thumb, two fractured toes and a damaged shoulder, after all.

But Farina said Tiatto had taken on another position in the Roar squad as they looked toward the finals - role model.

"That's where a lot of them will learn, by playing with senior professionals that have been there and done that," he said of Tiatto who also helped set up Mitch Nichols' first half goal.

And Tiatto - 36 in May - it seems is showing no signs of slowing down.

"When Danny came to the club, there were a lot of question marks (from critics), people were talking about his age and whatever," Farina said.

"(But) Danny Tiatto... could go another two (years) because he is versatile - he's a quality player."

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