Tokyo too good as Brisbane bow out

 

Well Brisbane’s attempt to become champions of Asia at the 1st attempt is officially over after last nights defeat in Tokyo after the Roar went down 4-2 despite taking a very early lead. Rado Vidosic in his 1st game in charge also made some alterations to both formation and personnel to the game plan which were rather interesting and worth discussing.

 

AFC Champions League – Match day 5
FC Tokyo 4 (Takahashi 5’, Mukuhara 20’, Watanabe 44’-pen, 60’)
Brisbane Roar 2 (Berisha 4’, Broich 33’)
Wednesday, 2 May 2012
Venue:
National Stadium, Tokyo, Japan
Referee: Abdullah Baloushi (Qatar)

 

Starting Line-ups:

 

Brisbane:
Substitutes:
Nichols for Brattan (62’), Visconte for Meyer (62’), Jurman for Adnan (66’)
Unused Substitutes: Redmayne, Mundy, Murdocca, Danning

Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards:
Nil

FC Tokyo:
Substitutes: Lucas for Watanabe (73’), Yonemoto for Hanyu (78’), Ishikawa for Kajiyama (85’)
Unused Substitutes: Shiota, Ota, Kawano, Shigematsu

Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards:
Nil

 

Since the Postecoglou era began in two seasons ago now there has been no change to the clubs formation – two games in December/January aside- so it came as a surprise to me when the commentator mentioned a change to a 4-2-3-1 formation. While it isn’t the most drastic of changes in theory, it does almost completely re-configure the midfield setup. We went from having one screening midfielder and two midfielders who would break forward to support the attack to having two screening midfielder and another in the hole behind the striker. Here’s a little graphic to telestrate the difference:

The two big advantages to the Vidosic midfield are that with two controlling/defensive midfielders in there you should have far more control over possession of the ball, and that you have Broich in a creative role just in behind Berisha. The negative of it is that with no link between the defensive midfielders and the attacking ones it can become a little disjointed if there isn’t enough movement between the lines. Interesting to see if this is a one off tactic for this match or a more long term solution.

 

Brisbane got off to the perfect start in the quest to win the match by 3 clear goals to keep their faint progression hopes alive when they won a free kick 25 yards from goal. Thomas Broich whipped in a beautiful ball which Berisha managed to get on the end of –looked offside at 1st but man on far side kept him onside- but could only hit the base of the post before pouncing on the rebound. 1-0 Brisbane and the perfect start to the Rado Vidosic era.

 

 

That perfect start however would last less than 60 seconds with the hosts going straight down the other end of the pitch to draw level with Takahashi getting on the end of a blocked shot just outside the box before putting one bottom corner which also deflected off the post, but unlike Berisha’s effort this one found the net. In the lead-up Stefanutto was caught well out of position up the park with Yazawa getting in behind before crossing it towards the penalty spot from the by-line. From there Brisbane scrambled to cover and blocked the 1st shot, but could do nothing to stop the 2nd.

 
Tokyo then proceeded to take the lead in the match with a delightful counter attack. Brisbane who were having a decent spell lost the ball midway into the Tokyo half but coughed up possession far to casually and then the midfield trio of Hanyu, Hasegawa and Takahashi just flew up the park releasing the wide man who had acres of room given that Stefanutto had committed to the attack. From there they were just lethal with it and used their numbers to their advantage with two men making a run to the near post with left fullback Mukuhara ghosting in at the far post to finish it off. Expertly taken counter attack from a well drilled team.

 

Brisbane far from going into their shells continued to move forward and got their reward for effort when Broich levelled the scores in the 33rd minute with a nice piece of persistence. His 1st shot was blocked by Morishige but he kept at it and managed to find the corner of the net –albeit following a slight deflection from Jang- to make it 2-2.  Not the best goal Thomas has ever scored but a vital one.

 

Brisbane however would not go into the break on level terms as right on the stroke of halftime Adnan gave away his 2nd penalty in two ACL matches- this time for a clear foul on Watanabe. There was some debate in the commentary about inside/outside the box but for mine it’s a clear foul and there isn’t really a lot to complain about in truth. Watanabe dusted himself off and sent Theoklitos the wrong way to give the hosts a 3-2 lead which they would take with them to the break.

 

Watanabe then sealed the game as a contest on the hour mark with his 2nd goal following nearly 15 minutes of pressure from FC Tokyo- not in terms of chances created just in terms of territory, possession and their pressure on the ball. Watanabe slipped Adnan again and calmly in almost slow motion beat Theoklitos at his near post. That made it 4-2 to FC Tokyo which is how it ended and not Theoklitos’ or Adnan’s finest moment.

 

Brisbane played with more composure than they did on matchday one and were able to control the game for larger periods and created some decent openings for themselves. One of the key takeaways from MD1 was that they just couldn’t get the ball to Berisha and while he was again abit of a peripheral figure he was atleast more involved and got on the scoresheet. An improved performance compared to here in Brisbane but still not enough to match their Japanese counterparts.

 

 

FC Tokyo were once again just fabulous to watch with their interplay and while they weren’t as devastating in terms of cutting us open they still created enough openings and were lethal when they did get through taking their 3 goals from open play expertly. In midfield they really taught us a lesson on possession and ball movement with the trio of Hasegawa, Takahashi and Hanyu playing through the centre of our formation at ease and almost too easily. Their pressure on our playing out from the back was also very good –especially in the 1st half of the 2nd half- where they gave us absolutely no option at all but to look further up the field. It’s a key takeaway on how Brisbane can improve moving forward imo- not to say that their own pressure wasn’t good, just that FC Tokyo’s was a level above- something that could be said about the two teams in general tbh.

 

Player Ratings:
Brisbane: Theok
litos 6, Franjic 6, Adnan 5, Smith 6, Stefanutto 6, Brattan 6, Paartalu 6, Meyer 6, Broich 7, Fitzgerald 6, Berisha 7, Nichols 6, Visconte 6, Jurman 6.

FC Tokyo: Gonda 6, Tokunaga 6, Jang 6, Morishige 6, Mukuhara 7, Takahashi 8, Hasegawa 7, Hanyu 7, Yazawa 6, Watanabe 8, Kajiyama 6, Lucas 6, Yonemoto 6, Ishikawa 6.

 

AFC Champions League Table:

 

 
Brisbane Roar Yellow Card tracker:
Players 1 game from a ban: (carries over into next year im fairly sure)
Stefanutto, Franjic, Murdocca, Berisha.

Statistics:


 

Next up for Brisbane:
A home clash to round out the Group phase against Beijing Guo’an on Wednesday May 16.

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