BRISBANE Roar scored their first goal in the Asian Champions League when Mitch Nichols earned a share of the points with a 1-1 draw against Beijing Guoan in China tonight.
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Beijing opened the scoring in the seventh minute with a marauding run up the wing which failed to spring Roar's offside trap and left the Brisbane defence flatfooted and unable to regroup in time.
A tricky shot managed to find its way past Roar keeper Michael Theoklitos at the near post for the for the reigning Australian champions to concede as soft goal after a shaky start to the match.
But despite the setback, Brisbane soon found their confidence and settled into the match with a return to the style that saw them dominate the A-League last season.
They soon earned their reward after a series of constant proging tests of a weak Beijing defence when Nichols got on the end of a ball into the box to nod it home for the vital equaliser.
Coach Ange Postecoglou made three changes to his starting XI for the clash, with midfielder Massimo Murdocca and defenders Shane Stefanutto and Mohamed Adnan returning.
It was end-to-end early in the contest, with both sides looking to overcome disappointing losses on the opening day of the league.
But it was the hosts at Workers' Stadium that struck first, as Piao - onside from a long ball - beat off slack defending from Bahraini Adnan to fire through a narrow gap at Theoklitos' near post.
Not bothered by their deficit, Brisbane began to look for an equaliser almost immediately, with Henrique combining with Nichols in a neat one-two exchange in the 13th minute, which saw the Brazilian sky a clear chance from close range.
Just two minutes later, it was deja vu, but this time around, Henrique was unmarked at the back post, only to send his effort skywards.
But the visiting fans were soon rewarded after those disappointing efforts, as Nichols completed fine build-up play between Erik Paartalu and Ivan Franjic to header home past Beijing goalkeeper Hou Sen.
Paartalu sent a through ball deep to defender Franjic, who's chipped cross right from the sideline held up enough for Nichols to rise up and head back across the face of goal to Hou's far post.
The two sides amazingly exchanged clear-cut chances to take the lead just prior to half-time, with neither able to convert.
Firstly, Beijing striker Mao Jianqing was one-on-one with Theoklitos, only for him to rush his shot rather than attempting to round the 'keeper, and his effort went well above the Roar custodian's bar.
Brisbane immediately looked to make the hosts pay for their profligacy, but striker Besart Berisha could not guide a simple tap in home following a brilliant Henrique cross in behind the Guoan defence.
There were few chances on goal in the second stanza, however Beijing enjoyed a lot of the possession in their forward half, but they could not break down a stern Brisbane defence.
Their best chance to do so came on 62 minutes, when a long ball forced Theoklitos well off his line, but Stefanutto was back to clear despite a Beijing player lurking with an open goal beckoning.
The Roar had few forays forward as they defended their point well, although the irrepressible Thomas Broich got a shot on target on 78 minutes from an acute angle, but his left-footed effort was well handled by goalkeeper Hou.
Beijing Guoan 1 (Piao 8)
Brisbane Roar 1 (Nichols 20)
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