Round 7 Match Preview: Melbourne Victory vs. Brisbane Roar

Victory (A)

Melbourne Victory vs. Brisbane Roar
Friday November 20, 2014

Recent form:
Melbourne: DDWWD
Brisbane: WLLLL

Top Scorer:
Melbourne: Besart Berisha (5)
Brisbane: Henrique (4)

After last weekends first win of the season against Newcastle, Brisbane will be out to make it two wins tomorrow night against Melbourne Victory and their former striker Besart Berisha. The Victory have started out the season in strong form with three wins and three draws sitting third on the table and will provide a stern test tomorrow night.

It’s been a much quieter week here in Brisbane after the Roar got their first points of the season against the Jets with stories of dressing room unrest and speculation on players and coaches futures have been put on the back-burner. Despite that win and the solid performance however, this week will be a much tougher test against the Victory than the Newcastle game ended up being. A solid showing against the Victory this week, and Perth at home next weekend will provide a much clearer picture on how Brisbane’s season may pan out.

Brisbane played their best football of the season to date last week against the Jets, particularly in the second half creating at least a half dozen clear cut goal-scoring opportunities. While Henrique took the headlines with his hat-trick off the bench, it was Luke Brattan’s passing game which created the openings for Henrique, Borrello and Kurtishi. Victory meanwhile put in a solid road performance against Sydney FC despite missing a host of their key players including Mark Milligan in midfield and Mathieu Delpierre at the back. They probably should of won the game in truth despite missing so many players, with Janjetovic making a host of impressive saves, while Berisha and Ben Khalfallah combined to mess up an un-missable chance.

Mulvey’s main selection decision will be how he goes about bringing Matt McKay back into the starting line-up, if he chooses to do so. Henrique, after his hat-trick against Newcastle will come into the side for the injured Solórzano, meaning that Mulvey will need to make an additional change if he wants to bring McKay back in. The most logical and likely decision would be for last week’s other goal scorer Steven Lustica making way. There may also be a temptation to bring James Donachie back into the starting line-up at right-back in place of Daniel Bowles, but after a solid first start of the season there isn’t any reason to change the backline.

Expected Brisbane XI: Young, Bowles, North, Smith, Stefanutto, Petratos, Brattan, McKay, Broich, Henrique, Borrello. Substitutes: Acton, Donachie, Lustica, Brady, Kurtishi.
Omitted: Brown.

Melbourne for their part are welcoming back a host of players from international duty and will be at close to full strength in this game. They also have their own injury concerns in defence with ex-Roar youth defender Jason Geria and Mathieu Delpierre out with injury. That will likely result in Leigh Broxham playing in the centre of defence with Adrian Leijer.

Expected Melbourne XI: Coe, Georgievski, Broxham, Leijer, Galloway, Milligan, Valeri, Finkler, Ben Khalfallah, Thompson, Berisha.
Substitutes: Thomas, Brown, Mahazi, Pain, Barbarouses.
Omitted: Nabbout, Makarounas.

Milestones:
– Despite Brisbane’s 3-0 master class in the last game between the two in Melbourne, Brisbane have notoriously in the Victorian capital with just four wins in 14 attempts.

– It’s an even worse picture at Docklands with just two wins in nine attempts at the venue. Brisbane’s last win at the Docklands came way back in season four when two late goals from Zullo and Minniecon saw Frank Farina’s side win 2-0 after Victory earlier had a man sent off. –

– With the off-season departure of Berisha in the off-season, Brisbane’s top two all time top scorers against the Victory no longer play for the Roar. After Berisha (5) and Nichols (4), the Brisbane player with the most goals against Victory is Matt McKay with 3. Meanwhile Archie Thompson leads all scorers in this fixture with 10 goals.

All-time record against Melbourne Victory:

Untitled

Elsewhere this weekend, the National Youth League side are at home on Sunday morning against Perth Glory. Brisbane goes into the game sitting in third place, two points behind Perth on the table and will be hoping to close the gap on the top two. Given there’s a day or so between the A-League game and the NYL game, we may end up seeing a couple of fringe first-team players involved in this game. Kick-off on Sunday at Goodwin Park is from 11.00am.

Meanwhile after being eliminated from finals contention last weekend in Melbourne, the women’s team has the weekend off. The ladies have their final home game next weekend at Lang Park against Canberra, before closing out the season away to Western Sydney.

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