Brisbane and Melbourne play out entertaining draw

Brisbane Roar 1: Franjic (59’)

Melbourne Victory 1: Broxham (11’)
At Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

 

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This was an absolutely brilliant match, played by two sides who try to play football on the floor, and despite the completely dire quality of the surface, they still put on a good show. The result unfortunately sees Brisbane drop out of the top 6 due to other results, however on the plus side it keeps Brisbane unbeaten in 8 against the Victory and means that former boss Ange Postecoglou remains winless against the Roar.

 

 

Victory started the game perhaps the better and the larger than usual travelling contingent saw their side take the lead early on via a Leigh Broxham header. From Brisbane’ point of view they’d likely be disappointed because the shortest man on the park scored, and the defending both of Broxham and in the lead up wasn’t the best. Victory also had the chances to be two or three clear at the break with Leijer and Thompson both denied excellently by Theo. However all of that isn’t to say Brisbane didn’t have their own good moments in the first half, with Broich at the heart of everything.

 

 

Brisbane started the second half on fire and had a good opportunity spurned by Broich over the bar before they did get the reward for effort on the hour mark. Victory sloppily gave the ball away on their left side and Ivan Franjic was through down the right side, and he proceeded to cut inside past a defender and then slot home through the legs of Coe. It was a good reward for Ivan who had a solid game all up on the right wing, however Postecoglou wouldn’t have been best pleased about the goal, given the sloppy pass that lead to the goal.

 

 

From there, it was chances aplenty with Conor Pain having Melbourne’ best chance of the second half, and he possibly could have playing in Archie, although he was in a good position. Brisbane actually found the back of the net again late on in the game, however Berisha’ goal was correctly ruled out for offside in the build up. Substitute Ben Halloran had the final chance of the game forcing a superb save from Coe in injury time.

 

Notes:
Despite conceding a goal, the backline was once again excellent in general. The in form duo of Rojas and Thompson saw their chances limited and the distribution into midfield was excellent.

 

Brisbane’ midfield pairing also justified the continued absence or Murdocca in the starting side playing really well. Brattan as the nominal #6 plays the role totally differently to Paartalu, and is winning the ball in much higher areas of the pitch. Lustica also had another solid outing and is showing why Mulvey rates his former NYL captain so highly.

Mulvey mentioned this in his post game press conference, that the combinations in the wide areas are vastly improved in recent weeks and are beginning to create multiple legitimate chances in the games. Stefanutto and Broich have been combining well once again down left in recent weeks, while the new right sided combination of Hingert and Franjic have brought solidity and creativity to that side of the park, keeping Ben Halloran looking on from the sidelines.

I watched him extra closely on Saturday night, but I still don’t see it with Stef Nijland. He was opening up the space drifting out of the hole to make room for Broich to exploit, but in terms of him creating chances I didn’t notice too much. For mine the side is better with Henrique in the #10 role, and possibly better off with Meyer on the bench as an impact sub.

 

Melbourne were a much better all around side than the one Brisbane demolished in round two, especially in the defensive area. Traore has improved out of sight, while youngster Scott Galloway has been something of a revelation on the other side. Further forward- while it seems obvious to say they missed the presense of Rojas and Thompson, the man they missed most that night was actually Mark Milligan. The midfielder has had a stellar season for them and his play in the middle of the park helped them get through that 2nd half pressure from Brisbane.

 

Stats:

rnd 24

 

Player ratings:

Brisbane: Theo 8, Hingert 7, North 7, Donachie 7, Stefanutto 7, Brattan 7, Lustica 7, Franjic 8, Nijland 6, Broich 8, Berisha 7, Halloran 7, Henrique 7, Nichols 6.

Melbourne: Coe 6, Galloway 7, Leijer 7, Mullen 6, Traore 7, Celeski 6, Broxham 7, Milligan 7, Pain 7, Rojas 6, Thompson 7, Dilevski 6, Makarounas 6.

Up next:
Brisbane head south to Bluetongue Stadium next Sunday to face their arch nemesis of recent times, Central Coast Mariners. It’s another must not lose game for the Roar in the hunt for the top  6,  while the Mariners –after a midweek sojourn to Japan- will be desperate to chase down Western Sydney at the top of the table, or at the very least maintain a top 2 finishing position.

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