Road to Asia update: August

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With Brisbane set to commence their third AFC Champions League campaign early next year, this is the first of what will be a monthly recap of the various Asian League’s to see who may be in the draw come early December. The following teams have already qualified for either the group stage, or the qualification rounds:

East Asia:
Australia: Brisbane Roar, Western Sydney Wanderers, Central Coast Mariners
Hong Kong: Kitchee FC
Vietnam: Becamex Binh Duong.

West Asia:
Iran: Foolad, Tractor Sazi, Persepolis, Naft Tehran.
Saudi Arabia: Al-Nassr, Al-Shabab, Al-Hilal, Al-Ahli.
United Arab Emirates: Al-Ahli, Al-Ain, Al-Wahda, Al-Jazira.
Qatar: Lekhwiya, Al-Saad, El Jaish, Al-Sailiya.
India: Bengaluru.
Jordan: Al-Wehdat Oman: Al-Nahda.
Bahrain: Riffa.
Iraq: Al-Shorta.
Kuwait: Al-Qadsia.

In West Asia, the only nation still to confirm their ACL is Uzbekistan, who will see the top two in the league, and the cup winners qualify. As things stand Lokomotiv Tashkent and Pakhtakor are 10 points clear in the league after 17 rounds so they are seemingly destined to qualify.

In the Uzbekistan Cup, Lokomotiv Tashkent have made the final, and will take on Bundyokor later in the year. If Bundyokor win, they will go into the ACL, if they fail to win, the spot will go to the third placed side in the league. Currently Nasaf Qarshi -35points- are 1 point clear of Bundyokor.

Moving on to the focus of our attention in East-Asia, where Japan, South Korea, China, Thailand and Singapore. We’ll start with Japan, where the top 3 in the league qualify, along with the Emperor’s Cup winner. Here’s the J-League table:

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Meanwhile in the Emperor’s Cup, they’re up to the round of 16, with the ties to be played on September 10.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima/Mito HollyHock vs. Gamba Osaka
FC Tokyo vs. Shimizu S-Pulse
Cerezo Osaka vs. Jubilo Iwata
Montedio Yamagata vs. Sagan Tosu
Giravanz Kitakyushu vs. Ventforet Kofu
V-Varen Nagasaki vs. JEF United Chiba
Ehime FC vs. Omiya Ardija
Thespakusatsu Gunma vs. Nagoya Grampus

South Korea: Top 2 + cup winner automatically qualify, 3rd place into the playoffs.

Screenshot_2014-8-26 17.6.3

In the Cup, they’re up to the semi-final stages, with the draw being held earlier on today. Matches to be played on October 22nd.

Sangju Sangmu vs. FC Seoul
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs. Seongnam FC

China: League and Cup winners automatically qualify, second and third go into the qualification round.

Screenshot_2014-8-26 17.7.9

In the cup, they’re also into the semi-final round, which will be played over two legs. The first leg is set down for the 1st of October, with the return leg on October 22nd.

Shandong Luneng vs. Qingdao Hainiu
Shanghai Shenhua vs. Jiangsu Sainty

*Teams listed first play first leg at home.

Thailand: League winner qualifies automatically, Cup winner and league runner up go into the playoffs.

Screenshot_2014-8-26 17.7.53

In the cup, they’re up to the semi-final stage, but the draw has yet to be concluded. The last four standing are Chiangrai United, Bangkok Glass, Suphanburi and Chonburi.

Finally in Singapore, where the league winner gets a playoff spot, the league is currently being won by Brunei DPMM -40 points- however they are ineligible for the ACL spot as they aren’t a Singapore based team. That leaves second placed Home United, third placed Warriors FC and fourth placed Tampines Rovers –all 38 points fighting for the spot.


Sarota linked with a return to Brisbane:

(Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac)

(Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Via Marco: Brisbane Roar have been linked with a loan move for FC Utrecht midfielder Adam Sarota. Sarota offcourse previously played for Brisbane coming through the youth team before going on to make 15 appearances, the majority of which came in the disappointing 2009-10 season. Sarota has made 48 appearances for FC Utrecht since his transfer to the Eredivise club in 2010, and he was a part of the preliminary squad for the 2014 World Cup.

Sarota is obviously a fantastic player, but the question remains where you would fit him into the current Brisbane side. With Liam Miller, Luke Brattan and Matt McKay back in the squad from last season, in addition to Steven Lustica and youngsters George Lambadaridis, Devante Clut and Patrick Theodore Mike Mulvey isn’t short on midfield options. This may also be a smart pre-emptive strike from the club to make sure they have an option signed up if the reported interest in Luke Brattan returns either in the next week or so, or more likely in the January transfer window.

Still, it would be hard to turn down the chance to add a player of the quality of Sarota and in his story Marco quoted the GM Sean Dobson saying the club has the salary cap space to pay the required loan fee to acquire him. Brisbane seem to be keen on adding players to their squad and have been previously linked to Melbourne Knights winger Jordan O’Doherty and Olympic FC trio Reuben Way, Daniel Crack and Jake McLean. Dobson and Mulvey were also on radio show Soccer Stoppage Time last Monday night claiming they were interested in signing both another midfielder and a defender, possibly as a result of some extra salary cap space with the departure of Ivan Franjic. More on this, and other rumours as they develop. 


Former players wrap: 25/08/2014

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Europe:
Starting in Utrecht, Tommy Oar had a hand in both goals of Utrecht’s 2-1 win away to Feyenoord. Adam Sarota was an unused substitute, while Michael Zullo is out for the season with a knee injury. Utrecht have started the season well and sit 5th after 3 games. Elsewhere in the Netherlands, former short term loan signing Stef Nijland and PEC Zwolle sit equal top –second on goal difference- after winning all three of their o games to start the new season, most latterly a 2-1 win at home against Vitesse Arnhem. Nijland came off the bench just after the hour and ended up scoring the winner with 2 minutes to play. Zwolle are also trying to qualify for the Europa League, and drew 1-1 at home in the first leg against Sparta Prague- Nijland came off the bench.  Finally in the Netherlands, former youth team duo Alistair Quinn and Ken Dougall are playing for Dutch second division side SC Telstar. Both were unused subs in their 2-0 win over Achilles ’29. Telstar sit 15th after 3 games. Neither have made it onto the park so far this season.

Link to Feyenoord vs. Utrecht highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRCdD8g6MmU
Link to PEC Zwolle vs. Vitesse goals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfxQmxOI3Ms

Elsewhere in Europe Robbie Kruse wasn’t in the matchday squad as Leverkusen beat Borussia Dortmund in the opening round of the Bundesliga. The winger has been linked to Hannover and others on a loan move after he missed last season with a knee injury. Ben Halloran was subbed at half time as Fortuna Düsseldorf lost 2-0 at home to Karlsruher, meanwhile Kwame Yeboah was an unused sub for Borussia Monchengladbach II in their home win against Sportfrendue Siegen. They sit 10th in the Regionaliga West after 4 games. Yeboah so far this season has made just the one substitute appearance.

Dario Vidosic was an unused substitute as FC Sion beat La Chaux- de Fonds in the first round of the Schweizer Pokal. Ivan Franjic is yet to make his debut for Torpedo Moscow as he’s still struggling with the injury he picked up in Brazil. His new team have made a mixed start to life in the Russian Premier League, sitting 12th of 14 teams after 5 games. They lost 3-0 at home to Krasnodar over the weekend. Finally in Europe, im not sure what’s going on with Julius Davies at Otelul Galati in Romania.

Asia:
Erik Paartalu was out injured from Muanthong United’s 2-0 loss against Chonburi. Gyeongnam drew 0-0 at home with Pohang Steelers, with Luke DeVere starting and playing just under an hour. Do-Dong Hyun has moved from J.2 side to the newly formed Indonesian Super League. Do was selected as the 2nd pick in the fourth round of the international player draft by North East United FC- a team that will be coached by Ricki Herbert. From what I can gather this is football’s answer to the successful IPL in Cricket.

Sergio van Djik has moved to Thai side Suphanburi, who had a 2-0 win over Sisaket. Van Djik has 1 goal in 8 games for his new side, who sit 6th in the Thai super league. Yuji Takahashi’s career seems to have stalled as he’s been left in the reserves at J.2 side Kyoto Sanga. Kyoto are 8th in the Japanese second division. Sayed Mohamed Adnan is back in Bahrain playing for Al Hadd whose season kicks off in the coming days. Mario Karlovic played a full 90 minutes for Terengganu in the Malaysian Cup. Michael Baird was a late substitute for PSM Makassar in their 3-1 win over Persela Lamongan in the Indonesian Super League. Dane Milovanovic was substituted after half an hour in New Radiant’s 3-1 win over Club Valencia. New Radiant sit top of the Maldives Dhivehi League with four rounds remaining. Finally in Myanmar, Matt Acton kept a clean sheet in Yangon United’s 1-0 win on the road against Nay Pyi Taw. Yangon are second on the table after 19 rounds.

Americas:
Issey Nakajima-Farran is at MLS side Montreal Impact however he’s splitting his time between the top team and the reserve teams. In the most recent MLS side he was an unused sub in a 4-2 loss to New York Red Bulls, however he played 90 minutes in the reserve teams 1-0 loss to Charleston Battery. In Brazil, Reinaldo is apparently close to making a return to the game after missing last season with a knee injury for Operário Ferroviário.

Women’s:
Katrina Gorry came on in stoppage time for Kansas in their 2-0 win over Nadine Angerer’s Portland Thorns. Finally, Clare Polkinghorne and her INAC Kobe Leonessa teammates finished 5th in the Japanese League 1 table. Elise Kellond-Knight and Tameka Butt were apart of an IGA FC team who finishes in 9th.


Brisbane headed to Adelaide in last 16 of FFA Cup

FFA Cup - Broadmeadow v Brisbane Strikers

 

Brisbane Roar have been drawn to play an away tie against Adelaide United in the last 16 of the inaugural FFA Cup. The game, which will be played on either September 16th or 23rd, is the only all A-League fixture of the round and should prove a tough test for Mike Mulvey and his men. I kind of had a feeling as Adelaide were drawn out that we’d get them, and with a rumoured Indonesian tour ahead along with the trip to Townsville there will be plenty of travelling done over the remainder of the pre-season. As someone pointed out to me today, the away tie means that Brisbane won’t have another game here in Brisbane until round 1 of the new season, but it is what it is.

Elsewhere for the Queensland teams, the draw was mixed with Olympic FC drawing up a home tie against Central Coast Mariners. If the round of 32 tie against Melbourne Knights is anything to go by, there will be a massive crowd on hand at Goodwin Park for the occasion. Palm Beach have also drawn a home tie this time around, against the self described pub team from Victoria in South Springvale, while the Brisbane Strikers will also have to do things the hard way with a tricky away tie against Adelaide City.

Official conformation on dates, times, venues and TV games will be confirmed on Monday, however it’s a safe bet that the Sydney derby between Sydney United 58 and Sydney FC will be one of the TV games, while my bet is 1 of Palm Beach vs. South Springvale or Adelaide City vs. Brisbane Strikers will be the other. The derby speaks for itself as a TV spectacle, while for the other I think Adelaide City after beating the Wanderers, and South Springvale –the self declared pub teams- would be capture the romance of the cup, something FFA and Fox seem to be pushing in their coverage. Unfortunately I can’t see Fox opting to show an all A-League tie, given it could be seen as something of a pre-season fixture and would possibly lack the intensity of the other games. We shall see however.

FFA Cup round of 16:
Fixtures to be played on either September 16 or September 23. (Home team listed first) Adelaide City vs. Brisbane Strikers
Sydney Olympic vs. Bentleigh Greens
Palm Beach Sharks vs. South Springvale
Adelaide United vs. Brisbane Roar
Olympic FC vs. Central Coast Mariners
Sydney United 58 vs. Sydney FC
Tuggeranong United vs. Melbourne Victory
St. Albans Saints vs. Perth Glory


Townsville Cup Preview

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Brisbane’s pre-season continues over the next week or so with three games up in Townsville, with the Townsville Football Cup up for grabs. Brisbane will be joined in the week long tournament by A-League sides Sydney FC, Newcastle Jets and NPL Queensland side Northern Fury. For Townsville, this is probably seen as a step in the process of retuning to the top tier of the game and will be hoping for some solid crowds, while for the A-League trio this will all be about getting some much needed game time in the lead-up to the FFA Cup round of 16, and the new A-League season. With that in mind, all 3 A-League clubs have named strong squads for the tournament, with a couple of youngsters mixed in.

 

Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael Theo (gk), 2. Matthew Smith (c), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 5. Corey Brown, 6. George Lambadaridis, 7. Mensur Kurtisi, 8. Steven Lustica, 10. Henrique, 11. Liam Miller, 12. Jean Carlos Solórzano, 13. Jade North, 14. Daniel Bowles, 15. James Donachie, 16. Devante Clut, 17. Matt McKay, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 20. Kofi Danning, 21. Jamie Young (gk), 22. Thomas Broich, 23. Dimitri Petratos, 26. Lachlan Jackson, 28. Brandon Borrello, 29. Shannon Brady, 35. Jai Ingham.

Sydney FC: 1. Ivan Necevski (gk), 2. Sebastian Ryall, 3. Sasa Ognenovski, 4. Pedj Bojic, 5. Matthew Jurman, 6. Nikola Petkovic, 7. Corey Gameiro, 9. Shane Smeltz, 11. Bernie Ibini, 12. Hagi Gligor, 13. Alex Gersbach, 14. Alex Brosque, 16. Christopher Naumoff, 17. Terry Antonis, 18. Peter Triantis, 19. Nick Carle, 20. Vedran Janjetovic (gk), 21. Marc Janko, 22. Ali Abbas, Aaron Calver, Dylan Caton, Themba Muata-Marlow, Anthony Bouzanis (gk), George Timotheou.

Newcastle Jets: 1.Mark Birighitti (gk), 2.Scott Neville, 3.Taylor Regan, 4.Kew Jaliens (c), 5.Ben Kantarovski, 6.Adrian Madaschi, 7. Jeronimo Neumann, 9. Joel Griffiths, 10. Marcos Flores, 11.Craig Goodwin, 12.Sam Gallagher, 13.Edson Montano, 16.Jacob Pepper, 17.James Virgili, 20. Ben Kennedy (gk), 21.Sam Gallaway, 22. Jonny Steele, 23. David Carney, 25.Brandon Lundy, 30.John Solari, 31. Alan Welsh (trialist), 32.Brendan Cholakin (trialist), 33. Iqi Jawadi (trialist).

Northern Fury/ North Queensland All-Stars:
Fury: 1. Matthew Symes, 2. Caleb Hobson, 3. Danny Pledge, 4. Ari Isman, 5. Chris Figg, 6. Jacob Crowley (c), 7. Jake Perry, 8, Corey Waples, 9, Braedyn Crowley, 10. Kevin Fraser, 11. Hamish Cassady, 12. Jani Peut, 13. Brendan George, 14. Guy Bimrose, 15. Mathieu Peyre, 16. Ben Stanley, 17. Sean Karambasis, 20. Dylan Hudson.

NQ All-Stars: 1. Joshua Simons, 2. Valentine Akem, 3. James Artis, 4. Jonathon Bagley, 5. Angus Campbell, 6. Matthew Carey, 7. Nick Figg, 8. Mark Gillan, 9. Campbell Hume, 10. Jacob Hurney, 11. Lachlan Indian Manning, 12. Christopher Mangan, 13. Michael Minisini, 14. Ryan Mottin, 15. Reid Murray, 16. Jake Navarro, 17. Scott Nolan, 18. James Piggott, 19. Joshua Searle, 20. Michael Sheen, 21. Nathan Whitton, 22. Harry Hickey.

From Brisbane’s perspective, they’re taking their full squad to North Queensland for the week, with McKay, Miller, Brattan, Kurtisi and Hingert all included in the squad in addition to those who went to Perth for the FFA Cup clash with Stirling. In addition, a couple of the standouts from the NPL Queensland campaign in Lachlan Jackson, Shannon Brady and Jai Ingham have been included. Brisbane starts the competition on Sunday against Newcastle, with a midweek game with the Fury before rounding out the round robin tournament against Sydney next Saturday.

Round 1 (Sunday August 24):
Northern Fury vs. Sydney FC (2.00pm)
Brisbane Roar vs. Newcastle Jets (5.00pm)

Round 2 (Wednesday August 27):
Northern Fury vs. Brisbane Roar (5.30pm)
Newcastle Jets vs. Sydney FC (7.30pm)

Round 3 (Saturday August 30):
Newcastle Jets vs. North Queensland All-Stars* (5.00pm)
Sydney FC vs. Brisbane Roar (8.00pm)

* Northern Fury replaced by a North Queensland All-Stars side due to Fury’s NPL Queensland commitments.


Brisbane cruise into last 16 of FFA Cup

Henrique scores Brisbane's first goal in the FFA Cup (Getty Images)

Henrique scores Brisbane’s first goal in the FFA Cup (Getty Images)

Brisbane Roar (4) Henrique 30’, Brown 60’, Smith 64’, Solórzano 68’
Stirling Lions (0)
1,192 @ Western Australia Athletics Stadium, Perth

Brisbane XI: Theo, Bowles, Donachie, Smith, Stefanutto, North, Lustica, Broich, Petratos, Brown, Henrique.
Substitutions: Solórzano for Henrique (60’), Lambadaridis for Bowles (76’)
Unused substitutes: Young, Clut, Borrello
Yellow Cards: Smith
Red Cards: Nil

Stirling Lions XI: Vrteski, Arenz, Ghoulami, Pavlovic, Brown, Smith, Micevski, Evans, Doyle, Arnold, Kalau.
Substitutions: Vujacic for Doyle (76’)
Unused Substitutes: Campbell, Galan, Salter, Petkov
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil

Brisbane Roar have cruised into the last 16 of the FFA Cup tonight with a 4-0 win over NPL Western Australia side Stirling Lions over in Perth. The home side started off the game on the front foot and could of gone a goal up inside the opening 10 minutes as Theo was stranded as the ball cannoned into the post.

Dimitri Petratos then followed up and saw his cross-turn-shot hit the post making it 1 shot into the woodwork each. Brisbane however began to gain control of the game in typical Roar style and after going close a couple of times Henrique opened the scoring on the half our mark after getting on the end of a Broich set piece.

As the second half got underway, the live stream went down, but Brisbane’s football remained the same and despite not having actually seen the second goal, legend says that Corey Brown tapped home a Thomas Broich goal to double the lead. From then on the stream was back up, and Brisbane were rampant with Matt Smith heading home a Thomas Broich free-kick, before Jean Carlos Solórzano tapped home from another free kick that cannoned back off the post to end the game as a contest.

Stirling had a couple of late chances, as did Petratos, but neither side could find another goal and the game ended with Brisbane 4-0 in front. It was also nice to see George Lambadaridis back in action, just over a year after he injured his knee against Albany Creek. In other notes, that was Solorzano’s first goal back with the Roar in his second spell, and his first since r28 of the 2010-11 season. Other facts and figures include; Daniel Bowles became the 103rd player for Brisbane tonight after making his debut, and Corey Brown scored his first goal in a competitive game for Brisbane. Henrique remains second on 28.

Up next: Brisbane head to Townsville next for the Townsville Football Cup, a pre-season tournament featuring Brisbane, Sydney FC, Newcastle Jets and the Northern Fury. Brisbane’s first game in the tournament will be against Newcastle on Sunday. In terms of what’s next in the FFA Cup, well the draw for the last 16 will be conducted on Friday afternoon, with the possibility of the Roar drawing an all Queensland tie against, Olympic, Brisbane Strikers or Palm Beach –who beat Hakoah Sydney City tonight-. The round of 32 concludes tomorrow night with Bayswater City hosting Melbourne Victory, and South Coast Wolves hosting Central Coast Mariners.

Confirmed teams in the last 16 of the FFA Cup:
Brisbane Roar (A-L) (QLD)
Perth Glory (A-L) (WA)
Sydney FC (A-L) (NSW)
Adelaide United (A-L) (SA)
Brisbane Strikers (QLD)
Olympic FC (QLD)
Palm Beach Sharks (QLD)
St. Albans Saints (VIC)
Bentleigh Greens (VIC)
South Springvale (VIC)
Sydney Olympic (NSW)
Sydney United 58 (NSW)
Adelaide City (SA)
Tuggeranong United (ACT)

South Coast Wolves (NSW) OR Central Coast Mariners (A-L) (NSW)
Bayswater City (WA) OR Melbourne Victory (A-L) (VIC)


FFA Cup round of 32 Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Stirling Lions.

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The past week has been dominated by the talk of new logo’s, new kit manufactures and new jersey’s, but it’s time to put all of that to one side as the on-field action is back as Brisbane make their FFA Cup bow tonight in the west in the final matchday of the first round proper in FFA Cup history, and they’ll do so over in the west against NPL Western Australia outfit Stirling Lions. The romance of the cup is well and truly alive with Western Sydney falling victim to Adelaide City last week. Already, four A-League sides have been eliminated with Newcastle, Melbourne City and Wellington joining Western Sydney as first up losers, and Brisbane will be out to make sure they don’t suffer a similar fate.

From a Queensland football perspective, the cup got off to a dream start with both Olympic FC and Brisbane Strikers successfully advancing to the last 16 on first night of competition in the round of 32, with a big crowd on hand out at Goodwin Park in the first ever FFA Cup game here in Brisbane. Last week saw disappointment for FNQ Heat who went down to Sydney United 58 down in Sydney, while the 4th Queensland local side –Palm Beach- are also in action tonight against Hakoah Sydney City. Best of luck to the side from the Gold Coast, hopefully by Wednesday morning we’ll have four Queensland sides in the last 16 of the Cup.

Back to the game of most interest around here now, and one controversial aspect of the build-up to this tie is the venue with the game being shifted by the FFA from Stirling’s traditional home of Macedonia Park, to the Western Australian Athletics Stadium, a venue that will also host another round of 32 tie on Wednesday evening. For mine, this cup was all set up to play at the local suburban grounds, and as such it probably should be at the Lions traditional home, but the decision is what it is.

Brisbane Roar:
2014 FFA Cup to date: Enter competition at this round:

Brisbane goes into this fixture at something less than 100% with just the pair of pre-season games against Moreton Bay (8-1) and Redlands (3-0) under their belts, so match sharpness could be an issue late in the game if it’s still in the balance.  Matt McKay. Luke Brattan, Liam Miller, Jack Hingert and new signing Mensur Kurtisi are all unavailable for various reasons with the latter only returning to the country late last week after getting married. That provides a difficult selection headache for Mike Mulvey, who has already flagged that Jade North will come into that #6 role tonight- ahead of youngster Ben Litfin or the returning from injury George Lambadaridis to provide a more experienced spine to the team in what could be a tricky away tie.

James Donachie seems like the obvious replacement at the back for North, with Bowles a ready made right back in the absence of Hingert. It’s the final starting spot which could prove interesting, with rumours it’s a toss up between Corey Brown and Devante Clut, and depending on who gets the nod, Thomas Broich may be shifted into a central midfield role for the night. For mine, id just go with Clut in the middle and keep Broich in the role he’s dominated the league in over the past four seasons however it sounds like it’s the left footed Brown who has the edge. Upfront, Henrique will in all likelihood get the nod ahead of Solórzano, if only because he’s looked sharper in the hit-outs so far this pre-season.

Expected Brisbane XI:
Theo, Bowles, Smith, Donachie, Stefanutto, North, Clut, Lustica, Petratos, Broich, Henrique.
Subs: Young, Brown, Lambadaridis, Borrello, Solórzano.

Stirling Lions:
2014 FFA Cup to date: Qualifying R4 (2-0 vs. Joondalup City), Qualifying R5 (8-1 vs. Rockingham City), Qualifying R6 (3-2 vs. Floreat Athena), Qualifying R7 (3-1 vs. ECU Joondalup).

While Brisbane are still in the early stages of their pre-season, Stirling are coming towards the business end of theirs and the West Australian side sit 5th in the NPL Western Australia after 21 games. They’ll also be coming into this cup tie with some confidence after a last gasp 2-1 win over ECU Joondalup at the weekend, with former Perth Glory man David Micevski scoring in the final minute. Stirling have fought hard to qualify for the last 16 of this years Cup, with qualifying wins against Joondalup City (2-0), Rockingham City (8-1), Floreat Athena (3-2) and ECU Joondalup (3-1) to see themselves become one of Western Australia’s two local league representatives in the last 32.

Player wise, while it’s impossible to really know what kind of side they are, they do have some players of note and some names that should be familiar to A-League fans. Goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski, versatile defender/midfielder Dean Evans, midfielder Hayden Doyle and midfielder David Micevski all spent time with Perth Glory in the earlier years of the competition, with Evans being the most recent of the trio to be apart of the professional game. Micevski may be the man to watch given he’s Stirling’s top scorer with 11 goals in 16 appearances this season. In addition to those, right back Rikki Smith is the cousin of Brisbane Roar captain Matt so extended family bragging rights go on the line there, while Phil Arnold and Brisbane’s path has crossed before as well. Arnold appeared in the trial game for the Roar back in the 2011 pre-season, coming on as a sub up in a win over Peninsula Power. Young attackers Moses Kalau and Clayton Arnez are also worth keeping an eye on from what I can gather.

*Expected Stirling XI:
Vrteski, Smith, Pugliese, Pavlovic, Petkov, Vujacic, Brown, Kalau, Micevski, Arnold, Ghoulami.
Subs: Campbell, Galan, Evans, Salter, Arnez.

*This was the Stirling squad for their weekend clash with ECU Joondalup.

There’s no doubt that this is a tricky first up away tie and the draw wasn’t overly kind to Brisbane, but it’s still a winnable tie and the three time A-League Champions will go into the game as the raging hot favourite. Kick-off in Brisbane’s first ever FFA Cup fixture is set down for 9.30pm tonight Brisbane time, and in lieu of there being no TV broadcast, the game can be seen live via an online stream on the clubs official website