Two goals in either half from Brisbane Roar ended Canberra United’s finals chances on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.
Strikes from Hayley Raso and Celeste Boureille were complemented by goals from Yuki Nagasato and Allira Toby in the second half as the Roar shot to the top of the table despite Nicki Flannery’s headed effort in the second half.
The contest began evenly and Abbey Lloyd had the first attempt from the edge of the area but sprayed it wide, and Olivia Price was looking to probe for United but the final ball was lacking for the visitors.
The Roar took the lead just before the 20-minute mark as they pounced on a failed clearance. Toby looked to feed the ball back into the 18-yard area and it deflected off Refiloe Jane into the path of Raso who finished from a tight angle to put her side in front.
United looked to respond but again passes were coming unstuck in the final third and 13 minutes after the first goal the hosts doubled their advantage.
Carson Pickett’s corner beat the United back line and Boureille was alone at the back post to volley the ball home despite an effort on the line from Jane.
The lead remained at two at the break before Heather Garriock made one change to begin the second half began as Laura Hughes replaced Maria Jose Rojas.
The visitors looked inspired to begin the half coming out of the blocks as a different side, drawing level just 13 minutes in with Ashleigh Sykes playing a key role just two minutes after entering the fray.
Sykes was set free down the right and crossed into the middle and although the ball was just out of reach of Mulaudzi, it reached Flannery whose shot was inadvertently blocked for a corner.
Price delivered the set piece and Flannery thumped it home with a header to give United a fighting chance as momentum swung.
But that was as close as United got, with the Roar pushing the lead back to three goals eight minutes later as Nagasato curled a sublime effort into the far corner and four minutes later Toby swept the ball home as Ubogagu played her in.
That was all for the hosts despite further chances, with United restricted to few opportunities throughout the closing stages.
The result leaves United in eighth following Newcastle’s win over Adelaide, while Brisbane sit on top of the table until Sunday at least.