Brisbane to take two goal buffer to Gosford


Brisbane Roar 2 (HENRIQUE 8’, PAARTALU 86’)
Central Coast Mariners 0
Saturday, 31 March 2012
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Crowd: 15, 081


Apologies on the delay was busy all day Sunday so was unable to write the report up, here it is anyway. Well its halftime in the major semi-final and just as they did 14 months ago Brisbane Roar ran out convincing and deserved winners over Central Coast. It was Barbarouses and McKay then and it’s Henrique and its Paartalu now, but the net result is the same, Brisbane has a good lead going into the 2nd leg.


Starting Line-ups:


Brisbane: Brattan for Murdocca (62’), Fitzgerald for Henrique (62’)
Yellow Cards: Henrique, Smith
Red Cards: Nil


Central Coast: McBreen for Rogic (67’), Hearfield for Ibini (76’), Kwasnik for Amini (83’)
Yellow Cards: Rose, Wilkinson, Hutchinson, Zwaanswijk

Red Cards: Nil


Brisbane went back to the tried and tested for this match and the familiarity in both personnel and system really told in this match as they all clearly understood what they were all doing. In contrast the Mariners went into experimentation mode a little bit by removing a target man and bringing in a 2nd attacking midfielder. Andy Harper from Fox Sports might have been excited by it but on the whole is wasn’t effective from the Central Coast point of view.

In essence they swapped John Sutton who has been a key contributor this past month or so in favour of the raw talent of Rogic. The net result of the move meant they had an overloaded midfield with two creative outlets, but only the one striker in Bernie Ibini. The problem was however that for all his talents and improvement this season, Ibini struggles to hold the ball up against bigger, stronger defenders, which is why their form dipped following the departure of Matt Simon and is the reason why Sutton has been an important factor- despite his lack of goals. So because they couldn’t hold the ball it meant that their sole attacking option in the 1st half atleast was direct balls in behind Roars high defensive line for Ibini. Predictable? Yes, but also dangerous when you’ve got the acceleration of Ibini.


Brisbane began the game in similar fashion to how they ended the game last Sunday on the Gold Coast finding their passing game from the 1st minute onwards, resulting in an early penalty shout when Henrique got himself in behind the defence and Rose collected him inside the area. Yes- Rose did connect with the ball 1st, but he also upended Henrique from the blindside and from the referee’s view it was probably stonewall penalty. If Mariners fans thought the penalty was harsh then I guess from their perspective justice was done as Henrique tried the same penalty as the Grand Final- but Ryan saved this one quite comfortably. Brisbane really has to sort this penalty business out- far too many misses of late. Henrique would make amends within 2 minutes however with a goal-line tap-in when Ryan fumbled Matt Smiths header. Wilkinson who was the man marking Henrique went to try and win the header, but only succeeded in leaving the
Brazilian free.


The biggest feature I took out of this game was the extreme high press that Brisbane were utilising with the front 3 and at times the midfield trio also camping themselves inside the Mariners half. Perhaps the home end effects mic was turned down or something but it was very interesting to hear the vocal encouragement given from Postecoglou towards his players when they pressed the Mariners to his satisfaction. Over the course of the season I’ve picked out one or two moments where the Roar have pressed and gotten results from that, but in this case I won’t pick out any one moment- I’ll just refer you to the entire 1st half because it was excellent.


In the 2nd half the Central Coast began to have some more control over the fixture and play some football inside the Brisbane half. They were still predominantly relying on direct balls into the channels for Ibini but they also received some creativity through the middle. Theoklitos also made a splendid stop from Rogic to keep the clean sheet- and that save could be more valuable than Paartalu’s 2nd goal in hindsight. They also made what imo was a telling substitution and a hint at what we may see in the 2nd leg when Arnold brought on McBreen for Rogic with about 20 to play. Now in the 2nd leg it will in all likelihood be Sutton not McBreen from the start (why they didn’t use Sutton off the bench in this game idk but whatever) but the basic premise and tactics will be the same. McBreen was in essence a typical target man when he came on which allowed the midfielders a 2nd option to play. Rather than just try and get Ibini in behind, they could now bounce the play off McBreen and make forward runs from the midfielders and he had a couple of nice touches..


It was clear when looking at the reactions of Ange on the sidelines at the Nichols and Paartalu chances that 1-0 wasn’t enough and they got what could be a vital 2nd goal 5 minutes from time. The excellent Broich played a 1-2 with Paartalu before proceeding to run inside the Mariners box and draw in 3 and 4 defenders. Paartalu meanwhile made a fantastic run just behind Hearfield where he slotted home from right on the edge of the box.


Going into the 2nd leg it’s clear that Brisbane has an advantage but by no stretch is it insurmountable. Just look at the corresponding semi-finals series last year when the Mariners lead the 2nd leg 2-0 at half time and looked like causing what many would have said is a major boilover. Brisbane’s ACL travel will be a factor but for mine it won’t be half as big of a deal as Arnold is making out and seems to be hoping for. It’s also worth noting that a Brisbane goal in the 2nd leg will mean the Mariners will need 4- and I don’t think even the most ardent Mariners fan thinks that’s possible, but we’ll see.


Player Ratings:
Theoklitos 7, Franjic 7, Smith 7, Adnan 7, Stefanutto 7, Paartalu 8, Murdocca 7, Nichols 7, Henrique 8, Berisha 7, Broich 8, Fitzgerald 7, Brattan 7.

Central Coast: Ryan 8, Bojic 6, Wilkinson 7, Zwaanswijk 6, Rose 6, Hutchinson 6, McGlinchey 6, Bozanic 6, Amini 7, Rogic 6, Ibini 7, Hearfield 6, McBreen 7, Kwasnik 6.



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