Saturday 31 March 2012
Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Local kick-off: 4.30pm AEST / 5.30pm AEDT
Referees: Strebre Delovski / Scott Edeling / Ryan Gallagher / Alan Milliner
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 26): Brisbane Roar wins 13, Central Coast Mariners wins 4 (9 draws)
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael Theoklitos (GK), 2. Matt Smith (C), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman, 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, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 21. James Meyer, 22. Thomas Broich, 24. Nick Fitzgerald. *Three to be omitted*
Coach: Ange Postecoglou
In: 16. Mohamed Adnan (returns from injury), 2. Matt Smith, 5. Ivan Franjic, 17. Mitch Nichols (all promoted), 22. Thomas Broich
Out: 25. George Lambadaridis, 29. James Donachie (both omitted)
Unavailable: Rocky Visconte (Ankle- 1 week)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Mathew Ryan, 2.Daniel McBreen, 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7. John Hutchinson, 9. Bernie Ibini, 11. Oliver Bozanic, 12. Troy Hearfield, 14. Michael McGlinchey, 16. Trent Sainsbury, 17. Tomas Rogic, 18. Alex Wilkinson (C), 19. John Sutton, 20. Justin Pasfield (Gk), 22. Mustafa Amini, 23. Adam Kwasnik
Coach: Graham Arnold
In: 2. Daniel McBreen, 16. Trent Sainsbury (both promoted)
Central Coast: LDLWWDWWWWWWDWWDWWLLWDLDLWW
Season record vs. Central Coast Mariners:
Round 1: Brisbane Roar (Nichols 78’) 1-0 Central Coast Mariners
Round 11: Brisbane Roar (Danning 83’) 1-2 Central Coast Mariners (Amini 6’, Bojic 45’)
Round 18: Central Coast Mariners 0-2 Brisbane Roar (Paartalu 5’, Berisha 38’)
Brisbane: Besart Berisha (19)
Central Coast: Patrick Zwaanswijk (6)
*Matt Simon was/ I guess still is their top scorer with 7 goals before he departed.
Brisbane: Thomas Broich (6)
Central Coast: Michael McGlinchey (8)
All-time record against Central Coast Mariners:
Played 26: Won 13, Drawn 9, Lost 4. Goals for 48. Goals against 34. Goal dif +14.
At Suncorp Stadium:
Played 14: Won 5, Drawn 5, Lost 4. Goals for 19. Goals against 20.
Projected Starting Line-ups:
Brisbane: Redmayne, Jurman, Brattan, Danning, Fitzgerald
Omitted: Hingert, Meyer, Mundy
Central Coast: Pasfield, Sainsbury, Rogic, Kwasnik, Hearfield
Brisbane got a big boost this morning with the news that Bahraini defender Sayed Mohamed Adnan has overcome his knee injury sustained in China last week. That presumably puts Jurman back onto the bench. The benches ofcourse expand to 5 for the finals series so that gives Postecoglou the chance to put an extra player on the bench. Danning appears to have won favour ahead of Meyer for now and it seems like Issey won’t be seen again in a Roar shirt.
Central Coast are coming into this on the back of a good win over in Wellington and I think despite their own busy schedule this week I think they’ll more than likely stick with that XI. Arnold however isn’t afraid to make changes to suit the opposition –especially in the front third- so don’t be surprised if Sutton makes way for 1 of Rogic, Hearfield or Kwasnik. Sainsbury will probably claim the 5th bench spot as defensive cover ahead of McBreen.
Recapping the season vs. Central Coast:
The first meeting between these two this season was way back in round 1 where Brisbane won with a goal midway through the 2nd half via Mitch Nichols. The game itself was dominated by the Roar in the middle third with the Mariners being forced into a change of formation in midfield from their customary diamond to a more flat 4-4-42. This is because Brisbane totally blitzed them down the left hand side.
The Mariners got their revenge in this one with some uncharacteristic mistakes from the Brisbane players. Theoklitos inparticular made a horrendous howler gifting Amini their 1st goal. It is worth noting that this is the only time to date that they’ve beaten Brisbane in the Postecoglou era and we were missing Broich, Smith, Meyer and Henrique. This was the game when the Mariners went top of the league and they never looked back.
Going into this one the Mariners had amassed a very healthy 11 point gap at the top of the table and seemed to be running away with the Premiership but this was also the day Brisbane got their form back and began their own run of good form. It also started a stretch of inconsistent form for the Mariners that saw the Premiers Plate race go to the last day. Similarly to the 2nd fixture there were some key players missing, this time due to the Olyroos campaign. Central Coast were missing Amini, Bozanic and Ryan while Brisbane were missing Nichols, Jurman and Visconte.
Brisbane: Brisbane’s German attacker Thomas Broich will be the man upon who a lot will be expected for Brisbane and he said in a press conference today that he’s 100% fit and ready for the challenge. Berisha will no doubt be hoping the German is on song given how many of his chances come from Broich..
Central Coast: Perhaps a surprise to some but Michael McGlinchey has been one of the key reasons for the Mariners form this season, playing just about every minute of the season thus far. The Kiwi international leads the league with 8 assists this season and will be the man most likely to feed the Mariners attackers’ tomorrow afternoon.
Keys to the game:
Given there’s a 2nd leg to this tie next weekend in Gosford and Brisbane has a trip to Korea between now and then its important that Brisbane come out of this leg with a positive result. They will probably push slightly more tomorrow with that in mind, but it’s equally important to keep a clean sheet and prevent the Mariners getting the vital away goal. There’s no real point in going through the keys, because these sides play so often that everyone pretty much knows how both sides play, and how the games typically pan out and im expecting the same tomorrow.
The premiers’ plate may be gone but there was plenty to celebrate on the Gold Coast last night with Brisbane finally winning an away derby at the venue at the 4th attempt. The fact that in all likelihood the match was their final in the competition makes it all the sweeter and the travelling fans behind the goal let the Beach know their thoughts on the matter. The players might not have been the same but the style of play was and all attention now turns to the 1st leg of the major semi-final next Saturday afternoon in Brisbane.
Gold Coast United 1: (Bowles 29’)
Brisbane Roar 2: (Fitzgerald 58’, Lambadaridis 90’)
Venue: Skilled Park
Referee: Peter Green
Substitutions: Fitzgerald for Danning (46’), Lambadaridis for Paartalu (61’), Mundy for Brattan (83’)
Un-used substitutes: Theoklitos
Yellow Cards: Fitzgerald (64’)
Red Cards: Nil
Substitutions: Minnieccon for Brown (32’), Cooper for Barker-Daish (71’), Macallister for Bowles (73’)
Un-used substitutes: O’Connor
Yellow Cards: Thwaite (76’)
Red Cards: Ni
Unfortunately plan B was required and it involved resting as many as possible while giving game time to those who needed it and resting some key players for a busy week ahead. Ivan Franjic, Matt Smith, Thomas Broich, Michael Theoklitos, Sayed Mohamed Adnan and Mitch Nichols were all rested for a host of different reasons. I would have liked to have seen Paartalu get the day off but it all worked out. I was surprised Issey wasn’t there- but maybe his bust up last weekend with Berisha and his midweek twitter exchanges meant Ange thought he was no longer committed.
In their place was very much generation next in many respects. Youngsters Andrew Redmayne and James Donachie made their starting debuts in a very young back four –Stefanutto aside- with Jack Hingert coming in aswell. Luke Brattan and Kofi Danning also made rare starts. The bench was also quiet young with George Lambadaridis and Nick Fitzgerald as options to come on. Without doing the math on the subject id guess that this was the youngest side Brisbane had put out in a competitive A-League match. The kids thou would get their chance to impress.
Despite Brisbane’s early dominance of possession and territory it was Gold Coast who took the lead through ex Brisbane defender Daniel Bowles. It was a clever little dink over the Roar defenders to expose the high defensive line Brisbane use, and Bowles was in for a 1 v 1 with Redmayne. Perhaps he could have done better in attempting to save it but it was point blank and he hasn’t had a game in a month now.
Brisbane continued to control the match after the goal and brought Fitzgerald on for Danning and the youngster had an almost immediate impact by netting the equaliser with about half an hour remaining. Young Donachie stepped up into midfield to intercept a pass and the youngster did an outstanding job to pick out Fitzgerald on the edge of the box. Fitzgerald for his part cut inside the defender and launched a great strike into the net off the post to level the scores. A well made and well taken goal.
Brisbane continued to make the play following the goal with Henrique and Berisha having good chances to grab a winner. Berisha in particular was probably frustrated and shocked to have missed from inside the 6 yard box. Brisbane however find a way through in the 90th minute with a good move down the right side with a Hingert cross finding its way to Lambadaridis on the edge of the box and the youngster put it top corner to send the Brisbane fans home happy
Speaking of the fans, regular readers will know that typically I sit on the sideline for matches and take little to no interest in support but on Sunday I made an exception and got tickets in the travelling Den and was impressed. They were loud and there appeared to be a good mix of Den and RCC songs going on so congrats on who organised it for the day. Perhaps it could be a pre-cursor to the two groups moving closer.
The biggest thing I took out of what was a pretty tame derby was the performance of the younger players, and especially James Donachie, Nick Fitzgerald and George Lambadaridis. Fitzgerald we’ve obviously seen sporadically throughout the season but this was his best game for some time and it was nice to see him get off the mark with a goal. The other two have a combined total of 10 minutes in the A-League –all belonging to Lambadaridis who debuted in Gosford- but I thought the two of them were impressive in their time on the park. Donachie was cool, calm and composed at the back and didn’t look out of place at all providing cover where necessary to Jurman and also when contributing to the attack. Big George was also pretty calm on the ball and he had some nice touches on the ball in the middle there. I haven’t seen him hit 1 all season in the NYL from outside the box despite being in position to do so, so it was nice to see him unleash and score.
Should also quickly mention Jurman did an admirable job marshalling the back 4, Hingert was solid down the right and it was nice to see Brattan back after what looked a serious injury. Was also fantastic to see Redmayne or ‘Bourbon’ as the fans were calling him make 1 start before he departs for Melbourne Heart. Would have liked to have seen more out of Kofi though, seemed a bit flat down the right flank. Perhaps he was fatigued from a busy week of travelling.
Brisbane: Redmayne 7, Hingert 7, Donachie 8, Jurman 7, Stefanutto 7, Paartalu 7, Brattan 7, Murdocca 7, Danning 6, Berisha 6, Henrique 8, Mundy 6, Lambadaridis 8, Fitzgerald 8.
Tyson 7, McGowan 6, Thwaite 7, Anderson 7, Traore 6, Brillante 7, Jungschlager 6, Brown 6, Barker-Daish 7, Rigters 7, Bowles 8, Cooper 6, Macallister 6, Minnieccon 6.
Gold Coast United v Brisbane Roar, Skilled Park, Sunday 5.30pm (EDT), Fox Sports 1HD
Gold Coast United: 20. Jerrad Tyson (gk), 2. Josh Brillante, 3. Michael Thwaite (c), 4. Zac Anderson, 10. Tahj Minnieccon, 11. Jake Barker-Daish, 12. Dylan Macallister, 15. Adama Traore, 16. Maceo Rigters, 17. Chris Harold, 18. James Brown, 22. Peter Jungschlager, 23. Dylan McGowan, 28. Daniel Bowles, 33. Mitch Cooper, 40. Chris O’Connor (gk) *one to be omitted*
In: 16. Maceo Rigters (pending fitness test)
Out: 31. Daniel Bragg, 21. Daniel Severino
Unavailable: 1. Glen Moss (groin injury – 1 week), 9. Joel Porter (calf – 2 weeks) (hamstring – 1 week), 19. Chris Broadfoot (ankle injury – indefinite), 13. Ante Rozic (hamstring injury – 1 week), 14. Ben Halloran (injured – 2 weeks), 7. Golgol Mebrahtu
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael Theoklitos (GK), 2. Matt Smith (C), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman, 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paaratlu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 9. Kofi Danning, 10. Henrique, 11. Issey Nakajima-Farran, 12. Matt Mundy, 16. Mohamed Adnan, 17. Mitch Nichols, 19. Jack Hingert, 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 21. James Meyer, 22. Thomas Broich, 24. Nick Fitzgerald. *Three to be omitted*
In: 4. Shane Stefanutto (promoted), 12. Matt Mundy (promoted) 16. Mohamed Adnan (promoted)
Unavailable: Luke Brattan (knee – two weeks), Rocky Visconte (ankle – two weeks)
Gold Coast: DDDWLLLLLDWWDLDLLDLLDDLDW
Season record vs. Gold Coast United:
Round 3: Friday October 21: Brisbane Roar (Paartalu 15′, Berisha 61′, Nichols 79′) 3-0 Gold Coast United
Round 12: Monday, 26 December Gold Coast 1 (Daniel Severino 88’) Brisbane Roar 0
Brisbane: Besart Berisha (19)
Gold Coast: James Brown (6)
Brisbane: Thomas Broich (6)
Gold Coast: Peter Jungschlager (5)
All-time record against Gold Coast United:
Played 8: Won 2, Drawn 2, Lost 4. Goals for 11, Goals against 12
At Skilled Park:
Total: Played 6: Won 3, Drawn 1, Lost 2. Goals for 7, Goals against 5
Vs. Gold Coast United:
Played 3: Drawn 1, Lost 2. Goals for 1, Goals against 6.
Projected Starting Line-ups:
*Assuming Ange’s ‘plan A’ is put in place’
Brisbane: Redmayne, Hingert, Danning, Meyer
Omitted: Adnan, Mundy, Nakajima-Farran, Fitzgerald
Gold Coast: O’Connor, Barker-Daish, Minnieccon, Macallister
The above 11 for Brisbane could all be in the stands if Postecoglou is forced into using his ‘plan b’ due to the Mariners winning the premiership, but more on that and how it could look later. 1stly to focus in on what is called ‘plan a’ around Roar HQ and the rest of this preview will be premised on that plan being followed out.
Tonight we learned that Sayed Mohamed Adnan would miss the derby due to an injury he sustained in Beijing so Matt Jurman will partner Smith in central defence. Other than that the squad is at full strength and even thou Murdocca and Nichols have slight knocks (shoulder and groin respectively), Postecoglou has said if the game is still meaningful, they’ll play. Visconte and Brattan are out still.
Gold Coast wouldn’t be likely to make many changes following their 3-0 victory over a hapless Perth side so Mulvey will go into his 1st M1 Derby with a largely similar starting side. The in’s n out’s says that Rigters will undergo a fitness test but im tipping that he’ll not only play, but also start in what will be seen as a big game down the yellow end of the M1. If he can’t go I somehow suspect that it will be ex Roar speedster Tahj Minnieccon getting the start.
Keys to the game:
I think for Brisbane the best way to attack this fixture is to come out on the offensive and really go after them from the 1st whistle. There are two reasons for this: Gold Coast is a young side and a Brisbane team who play a similar way to them could totally shatter their confidence if they get on top, and Brisbane have had a tough week of travel across the continent and will probably suffer some level of fatigue with around 25 to go. It is hear that Postecoglou will earn his corn if he can get his substitutions right.
Gold Coast’s best tactics will probably be to try and be in the game at the hour mark and then really unleash their young guns at a tiring Roar side following a long trip to Beijing. On Boxing Day they had a reasonable amount of success launching counter attacks down Brisbane’s left and although Halloran will be missing I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried something similar on Sunday. Bowles in particular has been in some stellar form this past month and im sure that he’ll be keen to show Postecoglou what he’s missing by allowing him to go down the M1. Harold will also be a danger with his speed and good runs upfront and it will also be important to keep tabs on their top scorer James Brown.
Ok lets assume that the Mariners do the job across the Tasman and the plate is won, Postecoglou since he returned from Beijing has said that there is a plan in place to rest players if the Derby becomes ‘meaningless’ (im not sure how a derby game can become meaningless but that’s besides the point I guess) We 1st heard that both Murdocca and Nichols would not feature if that was the case, and then tonight a news outlet said that Adnan was missing too. Perhaps Postecoglou is foxing but somehow I doubt it, he doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy who would worry about it + the club is clearly concerned with games and travel commitments given they agreed to play the 1st leg at home regardless of Sundays outcome. Anyway here’s my guess at what ‘plan b’ looks like, but given nobody has any real clue as to who/how many would be rested it really is just that-a guess.
Substitutes: Acton, Donachie, Lambadaridis, Danning
I would have rested both Broich and Paartalu too but with Visconte and Brattan injured there’s a shortage of midfield options available. It’s worth pointing out that the youth team finished their season a month ago now so im not sure if any of them –minus the ones in the ACL squad- are still training with the Roar. Those youth players still training due to being part of the ACL squad are: Acton, Brown, Donachie, Lambadaridis and Proia although technically Proia is 1st team.
There’s so much to play for going into the final round, at both the top and the bottom of the table. The only team who’s position which cannot change is Melbourne Victory, who cannot catch Sydney, nor can they be caught by Adelaide. As for the rest, well read on and see who needs what result to achieve their goals.
Firstly here’s a look at the A-League table going into the final round:
The race for the Premiers plate:
Well the race for the plate has been a two horse race for a while now but in truth it should have been won by the Mariners a month ago given the commanding lead they held. Going into the most recent Roar- Mariners clash in early February they held a commanding 11 point lead and had a game in hand to boot. Since that time they’ve collected a meagre 8 points from a possible 21. The Roar in comparison since that game in Gosford have picked up 14 points from a possible 18. Regardless of who wins the plate these two sides will meet for the 2nd consecutive season in the major semi- final. So who needs what result to win the plate? Well:
Central Coast Mariners:
Will win the plate:
– If they win
– If they draw/lose and Brisbane fails to beat Gold Coast.
Will win the plate:
– If Central Coast fails to beat Wellington, and they get the maximum 3 points from their game against Gold Coast
The race for finals positions:
The race for the finals is a little more complicated than at the top of the league with two separate battles going on. Wellington and Perth are fighting it out for 3rd while Melbourne Heart, Newcastle and Sydney are fighting for the final two playoff positions.
The 1st battle in the lower finals is a straight fight between Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix, with both sides equal on both points and goal difference. Right now the two are separated on goals scored with Glory 3 goals ahead on that count. It is possible for both sides to win their matches this weekend, but Wellington will need to win by 4 goals more than Perth to finish 3rd. So if Perth beat Victory 2-0 for example, Wellington would have to put 6 past Central Coast- unlikely but not impossible. I have absolutely no idea how the two sides would be split if they ended up on the same points, goal difference and goals scored.
Will finish 3rd:
– They beat Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix doesn’t beat Central Coast by 4 goals more, or Wellington lose/draw vs. Central Coast.
– They draw with Victory, and Wellington draws with Central Coast
– They lose to Melbourne and Phoenix loses to the Mariners.
Will finish 3rd:
– They beat Central Coast and Perth fails to beat Melbourne V.
– They beat Central Coast by 4 goals more than Perth beats Victory by
– They draw with Central Coast and Perth loses to Victory.
Now onto the battle for 5th and 6th spot and while it’s not mathematically impossible for Heart to miss the finals, it would require a big goal difference swing to see them miss out on their maiden finals berth. In essence they would need to be pumped by Adelaide and Sydney and Newcastle would have to end in a draw. Again, possible, but extremely unlikely. In reality it’s a matter of if Sydney can beat the Jets at home. If yes they are in, if not they are out, a draw is in all likelihood not going to cut it.
Will finish 5th:
– If they beat Adelaide
– If they draw with Adelaide and Sydney-Newcastle ends in a draw.
Will finish 6th:
– If they draw/lose to Adelaide and either Sydney or Newcastle wins
Will miss the finals:
– If they lose to Adelaide by 8 goals and Sydney- Newcastle ends in a draw
Will finish 5th:
– If they beat Sydney and Heart lose/draw vs. Adelaide
Will finish 6th:
– If they draw with Sydney, and Heart draw/ win vs. Adelaide
Will miss the finals:
– If they lose to Sydney
Will finish 5th:
– If they beat Newcastle and Heart lose/draw against Adelaide
Will Finish 6th:
– If they beat Newcastle and Heart beat Adelaide
Will miss the finals:
– If they lose/draw against Newcastle
The race to avoid the Wooden Spoon:
Despite all belief that Gold Coast had the Wooden Spoon wrapped up, they have a chance to avoid the unwanted ‘honour’ on the very last day. This is due to the fact that they have a vastly superior goal difference to Adelaide:
Will finish last:
– If they lose to Heart, and Gold Coast beats Brisbane
Will finish last:
– If Adelaide win/draw with Melbourne Heart
– If Adelaide beats Heart, but they lose/draw to Brisbane
So there you have it there are the results required to make this weekend interesting in a whole host of ways. Of course all Brisbane eyes will be on the M1 derby and hoping that Phoenix does them a favour in the race for the plate, but the battle for the top 6 will also be extremely fascinating.
Beijing Guoan 1 (Cheng 8’)
Brisbane Roar 1 (Nichols 21’)
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Venue: Beijing Workers Stadium
Substitutes: Meyer for Murdocca (72’), Danning for Henrique (88’)
Unused subs: Redmayne, Hingert, Mundy, Jurman, Fitzgerald.
Yellow Cards: Adnan (80’)
Red Cards: Nil
Substitutes: Reinaldo for Andrija (58’), Xizhe for Mao (62’), Jiayi for Xiaolong (81’)
Unused subs: Changqing, Yifan, Xaiolei, Zhang.
Yellow Cards: Matic (66’), Cheng (90)
Red Cards: Nil
Brisbane started the game once again in a nervous fashion and unlike at home where on the scoreboard they weren’t made to pay for it, this time they were, inside the opening 10 minutes. It was Murdocca who lost possession down the right side when the Beijing defender just hit a long and hopeful ball in behind the defence down Brisbane’s right side. The problem was that Franjic had committed to the attack which meant Adnan had to come and cover and he was unable to do so leaving the winger in on goal. The most disappointing aspect of this goal however was that Theoklitos was beaten on his near post which is always a poor mistake for a keeper to make. Maybe he was thinking about cutting off a square cut back or something but he left just enough space on the near post for Cheng to squeeze it home and send the home side 1-0 up.
Brisbane for the first 10-15 minutes looked shy and timid for the second time with Theoklitos, Smith, Adnan, Stefanutto and Paartalu all looking uneasy in possession at different times. Adnan and Theoklitos didn’t exactly look comfortable for the whole match but more on that a big later on.
Brisbane did begin to play their way into the match though and created a number of opportunities, unfortunately Henrique could only blaze over from inside the 6 yard box, on two occasions. Brisbane were however having a great deal of joy down the right hand side of their attack with Henrique giving Zhou Ting real problems down that side. Franjic was constantly overlapping aswell.
So it came as no real surprise that Brisbane’s equaliser came down that side of the Park, when Mitch Nichols made a late run into the box and connected with an Ivan Franjic cross. It was Paartalu who spotted the overlapping run of Franjic and the cross from the by-line was a good assist and a reward for Brisbane’s pressure in the minutes leading upto the goal.
From there on it was a fairly even end to the half with both teams having a golden chance to take the lead. Franjic and Adnan were all at sea over a high ball and missed it which resulted in Mao being clean through for a 1v1 with Theoklitos. Fortunately for Brisbane Theo stood up well and Mao blazed his shot high over the crossbar. Brisbane’s chance was about a minute later when good work down the right hand side once again by Franjic and Henrique resulted in a guilt edge chance for Berisha. Besart was unmarked inside the 6 yard box but the striker couldn’t manage to keep his shot down as he too shot over the bar.
Beijing came out in the 2nd half with renewed vigour and quickly set about trying to reassert their dominance by pressing onto the Roar more. Clearly Beijing saw this as an important 3 points at home and made two changes to liven up the forwards line including ex Roar striker Reinaldo. The changes were somewhat effective with Reinaldo acting more as a target man bringing the midfielders into play which resulted in some blocked shots and corners for Beijing. Beijing however never really created that one clear cut chance that they were looking for, perhaps they could have brought Shao Jiayi on sooner as he looked pretty lively when he did eventually get onto the park.
Brisbane were almost playing on the counter in the second half, but they were able to fashion a couple of opportunities of their own. Henrique was still looking dangerous down the right side and got in behind them on occasions, but when Brisbane did get into the final third they just couldn’t find the final pass to Berisha that was required. In truth the Chinese defenders did a good job on blocking them and Brisbane’s best chance for a 2nd half goal came from set piece opportunities.
One of the biggest problems the Roar suffered last night was that they were once again a bit too cautious from the start, and that a couple of players were well below their best. The two biggest examples of this were Theoklitos and Adnan. Perhaps Theo was still thinking about his earlier howler but his passing out from the back was well bellow what he usually provides and he just didn’t seem comfortable on the park last night. Don’t forget he also went walkabouts in the 2nd half and was lucky Stefanutto was there to save him.
As for Adnan, maybe it was the extreme cold that got to him but he was well below his best last night. His play out was poor, he looked suspect in defence and just in general probably had his worst game yet for the Roar. There was one occasion in the 1st half where he dribbled the ball from 1 side of the centre circle to the other extremely slowly before playing a suicidal pass to Smith. In the 2nd half his distribution improved with some delightful cross field passes to Henrique, but he was troubled by the physicality of Reinaldo and didn’t look comfortable in dealing with him
Finally, the biggest positive for Brisbane was the play of Mitch Nichols, and I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that Brisbane missed the midfielder in the 1st match against Tokyo. His penetrating runs through the middle of the field between the lines were impressive and his ability to get forward and provide support for Berisha kept him more involved in the game aswell. It would be remiss if I didn’t point out the excellent right hand side combination of Franjic and Henrique while giving out praise as they were totally dominant down that side of the park.
Brisbane: Theoklitos 5, Franjic 7, Smith 6, Adnan 5, Stefanutto 7, Paartalu 7, Murdocca 7, Nichols 8, Broich 7, Henrique 8, Berisha 7, Meyer 6, Danning 6.
Beijing: Sen 6, Liang 6, Yang 6, Youlong 7, Zhou 5, Xiaoling 6, Jiao 6, Matic 7, Cheng 7, Mao 7, Andrija 5, Reinaldo 7, Xizhe 6, Jiayi 6.
Following matchday 2:
Brisbane yellow card tracker:
2 Yellows: Sayed Mohamed Adnan
1 Yellow: Ivan Franjic, Shane Stefanutto
* I believe Adnan is now suspended for the next game away to Ulsan but that could be incorrect.