Eric Bautheac and Alex Lopez have both scored goal of the season contenders to inspire Brisbane Roar to an incredible 5-3 win over a nine-man Central Coast Mariners in a hugely entertaining clash in Gosford on Friday night.
Bautheac scored with a spectacular overhead kick while Lopez hot an unstoppable volley – one of two goals for the Spaniard – as the visitors registered the win that should consign the Mariners to the wooden spoon.
The pair of unbelievable strikes gave Roar a 2-0 lead before Tobias Mikkelsen scored in between goals from Connor Pain and Aiden O’Neill as Brisbane went to the break leading 3-2.
But the drama wasn’t done there as Lopez scored his second nine minutes after the restart before O’Neill compounded a tough night for the home side by getting himself sent off soon after.
Dylan Wenzel-Halls then made it 5-2 with 15 minutes left but there was still time for the Mariners to get a late consolation through substitute Jordan Murray before Simon saw red at the death.
The result means Roar have opened up an eight-point buffer to the Mariners at the foot of the Hyundai A-League ladder with seven games to go.
It also increases their sensational record against the Gosford club, with Roar now unbeaten in their last 15 games between the clubs going back to 2014.
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The incredible entertainment started on 32 minutes as Bautheac controlled Wenzel-Halls cross on his chest before hitting an acrobatic bicycle kick into the top corner.
Fans were still catching their breath when Lopez added his own stunner, blasting a wicked volley into the roof of the net before keeper Ben Kennedy could react.
A glancing header by Pain two minutes later halved the deficit before Mikkelsen restored the visitor’s two-goal buffer with a superb header of his own from Bautheac’s cross in the final minute of the half.
There was still time for O’Neill to hit back again in first-half stoppage time but the Mariners undid that good work by allowing Lopez to score his second early in the second half.
O’Neill’s send off for a second yellow card offence just after the hour mark ended any hope of a Mariners comeback on what was a crazy night at Central Coast Stadium.
See all the goals and relive all the major talking points in our LIVE BLOG below.