Roar through to another Grand Final | (Credit: Getty Images)
The Brisbane Roar have qualified for their third consecutive W-League Grand Final with a 4-2 penalty shootout win over Canberra United after the sides finished level at 2-2 after extra time.
Roar goalkeeper Casey Dumont was the hero for the home-side, making a brilliant shoot-out save to deny dual-international Ellyse Perry before setting the Ballymore crowd alight by stepping up to slot the match-winning penalty.
In a thrilling, see-sawing encounter, Canberra twice came from behind to level the scores, as Brisbane went ahead in the 23rd minute through Tameka Butt and then again six minutes into extra through substitute Kennya Cordner.
Matildas stalwart Caitlin Munoz had the first levelling goal for the valiant visiting side in the 57th minute, and Michelle Heyman had the extra-time equaliser, which came less than a minute after the Roar scored what looked to be the clincher.
True to story of the match, the shootout was full of drama, with Brisbane on the back foot after Lauren Colthorpe missed the first penalty, before Ellie Brush hit the cross-bar with Canberra's second, setting the stage for Dumont's heroics.
The Roar will meet the winner of Sydney and Melbourne's Sunday semi-final in the Grand Final next Saturday.
The home-side started the game on the offensive, probing on the edge of the Canberra area, but the visitors were able to break away and register the first shot on target, with Michelle Heyman first to a long through-ball and pulling the trigger from range.
Canberra continued to try their luck from range, and the tactic very nearly paid dividends when Emily van Egmond rattled the underside of the cross bar with a spectacular half-volleyed effort from 35-yards out.
Canberra continued to push the pace in the opening exchanges and with Heyman breaking through and in on goal they looked certain to net the opener in the 15th minute, before Brooke Spence came to the rescue with a beautifully timed slide tackle.
After withstanding the brunt of the United attack through the opening 20, the hosts finally began to find their rhythm and mount some pressure of their own.
In the 23rd minute, the Roar had the opener as Butt showed her hunger, outpacing two United defenders and toeing the loose ball home after Lana Harch first lobbed the keeper with a headed effort that struck the crossbar and bobbled back into the area.
Buoyed by their early lead, Brisbane were able to find an extra gear, and with Amy Chapman and Aivi Luik providing quality service from the midfield, the Roar attackers looked certain to double the advantage.
But as the first half wound down, the hectic pace slowed and Canberra were able to settle back into the contest, finding greater organisation in the midfield and limiting the Roar's opportunities.
Canberra returned from the intermission looking to have benefited from the time in the shade, and they immediately had the Roar defence scrambling as Heyman continued to cause problems with her pace and touch.
Brisbane returned fire with a pair testing shots, but United's positive start to the second stanza turned to gold just moments later, as Munoz ran on to a well-weighted chip from Sally Shipard and blazed home the leveller with a left-foot strike from a tight angle.
At the 71 minute mark the Roar looked destined to move into the lead, but having made a brilliant run down the left flank, substitute Lisa De Vanna saw her perfect cross go begging, as Joanne Burgess pushed her unmarked shot wide of the goal.
The arm-wrestle raged on and with a quarter of an hour of regular time remaining, both sides had brilliant opportunities to hit the lead, as first Heyman and then Butt failed to convert from prime positions.
Jeff Hopkins and Ray Junna made their final substitution in the 87th minute, with speedsters Cordner and Georgie Yeoman-Dale introduced for Brisbane and Canberra, respectively.
But despite a few anxious moments for both teams, the whistle came, sending the game into extra time, with both teams obviously paining in the sweltering summer heat.
With the two sides out on their feet, an extra time goal seemed unlikely to come, but in the space of a minute there were two.
First it was two Roar substitutes linking up, with Laura Alleway sending in a beautiful cross for Cordner, who did brilliantly to meet the pass and nutmeg the onrushing United keeper.
And then from the very next play Heyman finally had reward for a strong performance up front, muscling through the 18-yard-box to hammer home a loose ball, after Cian Maciejewski first had her shot blocked a scrambling Roar defender.
With scores levelled once more, the two sides fell back into their war of attrition for a time, before Brisbane had a pair of brilliant chances to claim the win with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Amy Chapman was on the end of a clever build-up, but had her shot smothered by an on-rushing Lydia Williams, and then Butt misdirected a headed shot from the edge of the 6-yard-box.
Brisbane continued to have the best of the field position, but lacked the impetus to seal the deal before the final whistle blew and penalties were called.
Colthorpe's first-up miss was the only hiccup from the Roar women, as Kim Carroll, Butt, Elise Kellond-Knight, and Dumont slotted the next four with brilliant composure.
Sally Shipard and Caitlin Cooper were successful for United with the first and third penalties, while Brush rattled the underside of the cross bar and Perry couldn't be faulted for her attempt, which Dumont saved with a full-length dive to her right.
Brisbane Roar: 2 (Butt 23, Cordner 96)
Canberra United: 2 (Munoz 57, Heyman 97)
Brisbane: 4 (Carroll, Butt, Kellond-Knight, Dumont)
Canberra: 2 (Shipard, Cooper)