Match Preview: Wellington Phoenix vs. Brisbane RoarPosted: February 11, 2012
Sunday, 12 February 2012
Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar
Venue: Westpac Stadium
Local kick-off: 5:00pm (2:00pm AEDT)
Referees: Jared Gillett / Hakan Anaz / Mark Rule / Adam Kersey
Live and Exclusive on Fox Sports 1
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1. Mark Paston (GK), 3. Tony Lochhead, 4. Brent Griffiths, 6. Tim Brown, 7. Leo Bertos, 8. Paul Ifill, 9. Chris Greenacre, 11. Daniel, 14. Mirjan Pavlovic, 17. Vince Lia, 18. Ben Sigmund, 19. Jimmy Downey, 20, Tony Warner (GK), 21. Dani Sanchez, 22. Andrew Durante (C), 24. Alex Smith *one to be omitted*
In: Brent Griffiths (promoted), Mirjan Pavlovic (promoted)
Out: Manny Muscat (suspended – 1 match)
Unavailable: Manny Muscat (suspended), Cameron Lindsay (international duty), Lucas Pantelis (knee injury – indefinite). Nicky Ward (hamstring – one to two weeks)
Brisbane Roar Squad: 1. Michael Theoklitos (GK), 2. Matt Smith (C), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paaratlu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 9. Kofi Danning, 10. Henrique, 12. Matt Mundy, 16. Mohamed Adnan, 17. Mitch Nichols, 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 21. James Meyer, 22. Thomas Broich, 24. Nick Fitzgerald, 25. George Lambadaridis
In: 9. Kofi Danning (Promoted), 17. Mitch Nichols (Return from National Team duty)
Unavailable: 19. Jack Hingert (ankle injury – 1 week), 14. Rocky Visconte (Qantas Australian U23 duty), 4. Matt Jurman (Qantas Australian U23 duty).
Season record vs. Wellington:
Round 6: Brisbane Roar 1-1 Wellington Phoenix
Round 10 (regional): Wellington Phoenix 2-0 Brisbane Roar
Brisbane: Besart Berisha (12)
Wellington: l PauIfill, Tim Brown, Dani Sanchez (5)
Brisbane: Thomas Broich (5)
Wellington: Daniel Cortes, Leo Bertos (5)
All-time record against Wellington Phoenix:
Played 11: Won 8, Drawn 4, Lost 2. Goals for 25. Goals against 14. Goal dif +11.
At Westpac Stadium:
Played 5: Won 3, Drawn 1, Lost 1. Goals for 8. Goals against 6. Goal dif +2
Brisbane it’s no secret intend on maintaining the same starting line-up as last weekend, even with Mitch Nichols available for selection once again following his yellow card in Tashkent for the Olyroos resulting in a 1 game ban. It has been reported however that Nichols will replace George Lambadaridis on the substitute’s bench. I assume in this case that Lambad will head to Canberra with Danning and/or Issey providing the cover in case of a game day injury.
Wellington’s only change will likely come from having to fill the void of Manny Muscat who has a 1 match ban for yellow cards. They have 2 choices in this regard. The 1st of which is to just slot natural defender Brent Griffiths in at the back, meaning Pavlovic would be the man to miss the squad. The 2nd choice for Herbert is to put the more attacking Jimmy Downey in at right back, and then choose between the more defensive Griffiths or striker Pavlovic for the final bench slot. My guess is that Downey will play at right back, with Durante and Sigmund in the middle and Lochhead on the left. Im also tipping Herbert to be attacking and go with Pavlovic over Griffiths on the bench.
Keys to the game:
The buzz word for both teams in this match is: continuation. For Wellington they are on a 4 match winning streak and making it 5 will go a long way towards sewing up a double chance in the finals and potentially an ACL spot –providing the AFC let them compete, and for Brisbane it’s all about building on the momentum gained from last weeks impressive showing in Gosford and getting back into the top two. It cannot go without mention that if either side wins this contest on Sunday then they’ll have a real chance of overhauling the Mariners following last night’s result.
The 1st contest between the two sides resulted in a 1-1 draw and many accusing Phoenix of ‘parking the bus’. Brisbane dominated the possession and territory on the day but just couldn’t create the chases to win it, and when they did Issey blazed over from 5 yards. The second was right in the middle of Brisbane’s mid season slump and the Phoenix capitalised on a conservative and predictable Brisbane by running out winners in Dunedin. It should be pointed out that Broich, Smith and Meyer missed the trip on that occasion so having those players back will be a boost.
In actual football terms it’s going to come down to two player’s imo, and how the opposition deals with them. It should come as no surprise that the two player’s im referring to are Thomas Broich and Paul Ifill. That’s not to say that either side doesn’t have other weapons, just that for mine these two will be the keys.
Broich is just beginning to find his form following his extended layoff and his combination play last weekend was exemplary. Despite the fact he neither scored himself, or got an assist he had the pivotal pass in the 1st goal and also an important touch in the 2nd. He also had that pile river of a shot that hit the bar. Other key players for Brisbane are Adnan who’s been a rock at the back, Murdocca who’s been sensational in the middle of late and Berisha- the league’s top scorer.
For Wellington, their chances tend to rest on the shoulders of talisman Paul Ifill, who has completely turned around their football since joining the Phoenix nearly 3 seasons ago now. He’s a constant menace down the right hand side and imo Stefanutto will have to be more conservative in attack this weekend because if he goes forward and affords Ifill considerable space than he could do serious damage, as he did in the past clash with the two goals. Part of me hopes that he moves to the left a lot more than normal because imo Franjic would be the better fullback when it comes to containing him, as shown by his superb effort on Ibini last weekend. The other key players for the ‘nix are free scoring midfielder Tim Brown, Andrew Durante who’s been a rock at the back and goal poaching centre forward Chris Greenacre.