Twist of fate brings Petratos back to Roar
FOOTBALL: Days after confirming his move to K-League side Ulsan, Dimitri Petratos is set for a return to Brisbane to face the Roar in the Asian Champions League.
The Australian midfielder's former team booked a spot in the tournament's group stage with an upset 2-0 qualifying win on Wednesday night against a star-studded Shanghai Shenhua, whose megabucks recruit Carlos Tevez was making his competitive debut.
It means that the Roar will play in group E, alongside Petratos's Ulsan, Thailand's Muangthong United and Japan's Kashima Antlers.
John Aloisi's side's ACL campaign kicks off at home against the Thai team on February 21 before they take on Ulsan in South Korea on February 28.
Then Petratos could take the field at Suncorp when the A-League side hosts in the final match of the group stages on May 10.
The former Roar midfielder had signed with the Newcastle Jets but backflipped to seal a three-year deal with the K-League side.
Roar will reportedly have to split the transfer fee with the Jets as they had already signed Petratos for the next three seasons.
"I'm glad to join a team that represents Asia," Petratos said in a statement.
"It's new experience for me. I want to play as soon as possible."
Flying in the face of predictions the Chinese Super League's star power would be too much to handle, Brisbane's Brandon Borrello and Tommy Oar combined to score first-half goals and stun the hosts before their disciplined midfield and defence shut out Shenhua as they pushed for a way back into the match.
The goalscorers, in combination with Jamie Maclaren, formed a pacy and exciting front three; while Thomas Kristensen and Thomas Broich were great in midfielder - though the veteran began to tire towards the end of the match.
The victory was made all the more impressive by the fact the Roar battled out a goalless draw against the undefeated Sydney FC on Friday night and had to endure almost freezing conditions in Shanghai.
Roar coach John Aloisi hailed the boilover in China as the greatest victory in his tenure at the club.
"Since I've been up been here, that's probably been the biggest win - especially because a lot of people really didn't give us a chance of beating them," Aloisi said.
"But we showed we're not only a good footballing team but we can also fight when we have to and defend.
"I wouldn't say that money's overrated - I'd say that people shouldn't underestimate the culture we've got at Brisbane Roar.
"We've shown that time and time again.
"It was a brilliant result - a tough game, but bloody hell, it was an unbelievable atmosphere, and a really good performance."