Brisbane end 2014 with Sydney draw

Brisbane Roar (0)
Sydney FC (0)
15, 765 at Lang Park, Brisbane

Young, Bowles, North, Donachie, Brown, Sarota, Brattan, Lustica, Petratos, Henrique, Solórzano. Substitutions: Borrello for Brattan (74’), Stefanutto for Sarota (89’)
Unused Substitutes:
Acton, Clut, Danning.
Yellow Cards:
Red Cards:

Janjetovic, Calver, Ryall, Petkovic, Gersbach, Grant, Triantis, Dimitrijevic, Ibini, Brosque, Smeltz.
Substitutions: Janko for Smeltz  (61’), Naumoff for Grant (61’), Gligor for Triantis (81’).
Unused Substitutes: Necevski, Timotheou
Yellow Cards: Grant, Triantis.
Red Cards: Nil

Brisbane have ended 2014 with a frustrating 0-0 draw last night against Sydney FC in Brisbane last night. The result sees Brisbane’s unbeaten run extend to three, and also makes it one loss in six games under Thijssen, but it also means that Brisbane haven’t won a home game so far this season. The conditions made things very difficult last night obviously, with high humidity, and you could see the players tiring, and due to that there want many highlights in the game. The pitch was also in poor condition it has to be said

The best chance of the game fell to Sydney’s Chris Naumoff, who had a free header at the back post after a flick on from Bernie Ibini, but the young substitute could only head wide of the target. Ibini also had a good chance midway through the first half when the ball fell perfectly for him, but his shot went just wide. Brisbane’s best chance fell to Dimitri Petratos, however he was denied well by Janjetovic right on half time.

Brisbane’s play in the first half was probably the worst they’ve had this season, they were too direct, with few passes on the ground and a lot of turnovers- particularly from the right hand side. Thijssen admitted he was angry at half time based on the first half performance, and rightly so. Sydney for their part were ok, but not great. They used a similar tactic as last time by pressing high on Brisbane in the corners looking for the turnover, and forced Brisbane into going long from goal kicks. Neither side could claim the advantage however.

The second half was more stretched, with both teams creating more openings without really threatening or creating that clear cut chance. Brisbane’s possession and ball movement was better, with more passes to feet and they went a bit more central rather than out on the wings. Both sides will probably feel they should of done better with a couple of their chances, and that they could of left with all three points, but in truth a point each is a fair outcome in a game which was rather uninspiring.

One thing I found puzzling and disappointing was the substitutions made from Thijssen last night, or lack of. The first substitution made was one which made some sense, with the clearly underdone Luke Brattan making way for Borrello, resulting in Petratos shifting back into the midfield. The second however made no sense whatsoever, and for mine went against the philosophy- bringing Stefanutto on in injury time at home in place of a hobbled Adam Sarota made little sense- especially with an in form midfielder on the bench waiting for his chance. What I took from that is that in Thijssen’s view he only has 13 or 14 players he currently trusts enough to play in the first team.

Match Stats:

bandicam 2014-12-31 16-48-00-047

Up next:
Brisbane have one game left before the Asian Cup break, a trip to Wellington on Sunday to take on an inform Wellington Phoenix side. For now though, Happy New Year to everyone out there.


Round 13 Match Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Sydney FC

It’s a little later this week than usual and a bit shorter preview but nevertheless, here we go.

Brisbane are back at Suncorp tomorrow night for the first time since early December. Don’t get too used to seeing them in person however, as after tomorrow night the next time they’ll play at home is February 2nd thanks to the Asian Cup. Until the last meeting up here in round 3, Sydney hadn’t picked up a win in Brisbane since 2007, so hopefully tomorrow night is the start of a run that is equally long.

These two sides are heading in opposite directions with Brisbane’s season heading in an upwards trajectory, with just one loss in the last five and the football has improved in the past couple of games. Sydney on the other hand started the season very strongly, however results in the last month have been poor and now they find themselves down in 5th spot, six points ahead of Brisbane.

Last time Sydney’s defensive press was a massive factor in their win, with the front third putting Jamie Young and the Brisbane defenders under huge pressure, and it was that pressure which resulted in the goals. Brisbane’s ball retention and movement has improved since that night, however I would be surprised if Arnold didn’t try to use similar tactics tomorrow night and how they handle that will be a key factor in the outcome.

Brisbane are expected to make just the one change to the side who drew 3-3 with Central Coast. Matt McKay has joined up with the Socceroos squad in Melbourne, with Luke Brattan set to overcome a hamstring injury to take the park tomorrow night. There’s an outside chance of a change on the bench with Brady maybe doing enough to take Kurtishi’s spot on the bench- but I think the Albanian will hold his place.

Expected Brisbane XI: Young, Bowles, North, Donachie, Brown, Sarota, Brattan, Lustica, Petratos, Solórzano, Henrique.
Substitutes: Acton, Stefanutto, Clut, Borrello, Kurtishi.
Omitted: Danning, Brady.

Sydney’s team is a little more uncertain, coming off back to back defeats and injuries to a number of key players give Graham Arnold a tough decision to make. He’s indicated that he’s going to have to change the system to suit the players that are available, so we’ll have to see what that means. My interpretation on that is he’s deciding on either 1 or two upfront, but time will tell.

Expected Sydney XI: Janjetovic, Bojic, Ryall, Petkovic, Gersbach, Dimitrijevic, Triantis, Grant, Ibini, Brosque, Janko.
Substitutes: Necevski, Calver, Gligor, Naumoff, Smeltz.
Omitted: Timotheou, Burgess.

Recent form:
Brisbane: DWLWD
Sydney: LLDLD

Top Goal-Scorer:
Brisbane: Henrique (7)
Sydney: Marc Janko (4)

This season:
Pre-season: Brisbane Roar 0-2 Sydney FC (Gameiro 25’, Janko 75’) Round 3: Brisbane Roar 0-2 Sydney FC (Janko 28’, Dimitrijevic 54’)

These two sides have already met twice this season, with the Sky blues taking the win on both occasions. Obviously with the first in pre-season it doesn’t count for a lot, but there was a trophy –Townsville Football Cup- on the end of that result and from the highlights it looked like Sydney had the better of the game.

When the two sides met in round three, it was a decided win for the visiting side, with their high defensive press almost completely nullifying Brisbane’s attacking style. The pressure that the Sydney front three put on Brisbane’s backline resulted in two goals, while Brisbane struggled to create chances at the other end of the park despite the endeavour still being there.

All-time record against Sydney FC:


Points shared in Gosford goalfest

(442/ Getty Images)

(442/ Getty Images)

Central Coast Mariners (3) Bosnar 56’, Simon 62, Seung-Yong 80’
Brisbane Roar (3) Solórzano 45’, 82, Donachie 71’
9,932 at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford.

Brisbane: Young, Bowles, North, Donachie, Brown, Sarota, Lustica, McKay, Petratos, Solórzano, Henrique.
Substitutions: Borrello for Henrique (55’).
Unused Substitutes: Acton, Stefanutto, Clut, Kurtishi.
Yellow Cards: Bowles, Donachie.
Red Cards: Nil.

Central Coast: Reddy, Roux, Bosnar, Anderson, J Rose, Hutchinson, Caceres, Trifiro, Sim, Fitzgerald, Simon.
Substitutions: Duke for Sim (62’), Seung-Yong for Trifiro (72’)
Unused Substitutes: Nash, L. Rose, Vernes.
Yellow Cards: Bosnar, Simon, Seung-Yong.
Red Cards: Nil.

Brisbane Roar and Central Coast Mariners have played out an entertaining six goal shootout this afternoon in Gosford with both sides settling for a point which doesn’t help either side in the chase for a top six position.

After a cagey and subdued first half where neither side had many chances, Brisbane Roar opened the scoring after a Steven Lustica shot was deflected and Solórzano got on the end of it and scored after a neat turn. The goal was his first for Brisbane since Round 27 of the 2010-11 season in a 2-1 win over Melbourne Heart down at Robina.

In the second half Central Coast came out with a slightly more attacking intent and they got their equaliser in the 56th minute when Eddy Bosnar was unmarked in the box and the defender got his head on the end of an Anthony Caceres cross to level the scores. Central Coast were then in the ascendency and they hit the front in the 63rd minute when a scramble in the box fell to Matt Simon. Young made good saves from both Nick Fitzgerald from the edge of the box and Mitch Duke from close range, but he could do nothing to deny Simon putting the Mariners in front.

Brisbane were then chasing the game and having already subbed top goal scorer Henrique off with cramp, they found an equaliser from an unlikely source. Dimitri Petratos got the delivery on a corner right, and young defender James Donachie rose high at the back post and headed home, via the shoulder of Storm Roux.

The second half goal scoring wasn’t over yet however, with another two goals in quick succession setting up an exciting finale. First up, Korean King Seung-Young tapped in a well worked Central Coast counter attack after Jamie Young could only parry Matt Simon’s effort. Young’s keeping wasn’t fantastic in the moment, however the goal came from a break down of Brisbane’s play in the front third, with the structure and movement breaking down.

Brisbane’s equaliser was quick and crisp, with a typical Brisbane movement down the right hand side from Petratos and Bowles right from the kick off resulting in a tap in for Solórzano. Central Coast will be less than impressed with their marking of the Costa Rican however with both Anderson and Bosnar allowing him to ghost into the 6 yard box unmarked. Despite both teams pressing for a winner, the score remained 3-3 which in the wash up does little for either sides chances this season. From Brisbane’s perspective they remain in 7th spot on the table, two points behind sixth placed Melbourne City and six points adrift of their next opponents Sydney FC.

There were both positives and negatives to take out of the performance, but we’ll start with the positive side. Brisbane have been overly reliant on Henrique for goals so far this season -7 of 11 going into the game-, but today they managed to final an alternative route to goal with Solórzano.  James Donachie also is starting to look comfortable in the centre of defence despite the three conceded goals, and the combination of his first goal at the right end of the park and the goal line clearance he made from Mitch Duke should give him a lot of confidence going forward. Defensively however there is a lot to work on, with three sloppy goals conceded, however in fairness the third goal came as a result of poor play in the front third. The midseason break cant get here quickly enough really, with the combination time to work on things and players returning from injury after that vitally important to the rest of the season.

– Matt McKay (163) appearances has now passed Massimo Murdocca (162) to be first on the all time appearance list. McKay will now link up with the Socceroos squad for the Asian Cup, which mans he misses the home game against Sydney on Tuesday and the trip to Wellington next weekend.
– James Donachie’s second half header was his first goal for Brisbane Roar in a competitive game.
– Jean Carlos Solórzano’s goal today was his first for Brisbane Roar since he returned to the club. His last goal came in round 27 of the 2010-11 season against Melbourne Heart down at Robina.
-Adam Sarota made his first start since returning to Brisbane on a loan deal this season. His last start came in the final game of the 2009-10 season away to Perth Glory.

Match Statistics:

bandicam 2014-12-27 18-44-30-072

Up next:
There’s not much recovery time at this point of the season, with games coming think and fast in the run into the Asian Cup. On the plus side however the month long road trip is now over, with Brisbane returning home to take on Sydney FC on Tuesday night, in what is their penultimate game before the mid-season break.

Elsewhere this season the National Youth League side are in Melbourne this weekend to take on City in a 2nd v 3rd battle. Both sides will be looking to close the gap on league leading Perth who host Adelaide tomorrow. These two sides have already met this season, with City running out comprehensive 3-0 winners at Goodwin Park in round 4. Kick-off is set for 2.00pm at La Trobe for those in Melbourne.

Round 12 Match Preview: Central Coast Mariners vs. Brisbane Roar


The December road trip is finally coming to an end this weekend with a trip down the motorway to Gosford to take on Central Coast in an important match for both sides. Going into the game both sides sit three –Brisbane- and six –Central Coast- points outside the finals positions thanks to results already confirmed this weekend.

Goals have been an issue for both sides this season, with Central Coast scoring just seven goals this season making them the second worst in that category (Western Sydney are the lowest scoring side with 6- in two fewer games). The fact that Matt Simon, who has had his own off-field issues to deal with, is their top scorer with just two goals outlines where there problems lie. Brisbane for the record sit 7th on the goal scoring table with eleven goals, but take out a standout goal scoring performance from Henrique and things look equally unimpressive.

Brisbane have had two full weeks to prepare for this game so it will be interesting to see exactly how they play. So far the performances have been reasonably good under Thijssen however now that he’s had two weeks to work on things –ball possession, fitness, movement, ect- it will be interesting to see how that translates into a match against a Central Coast side who haven’t won since the opening weekend of the season.

Selection wise there probably will be just the one change to the side that beat Adelaide 1-0 two weeks ago. With Matt Smith having now departed for the Thai Premier League, Shane Stefanutto, who himself is just back from injury is likely to return to the squad from the bench.

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

Central Coast will be without young left back Michael Neill, who picked up an injury in their game last week against Perth, which presents an interesting selection decision for Phil Moss. His choices are to either bring in Matt Sim, in what would be a straight swap, or to shift Josh Rose back to left full-back and bring Eddy Bosnar back into the XI.  Nick Montgomery is also back in contention after serving his suspension.

Expected Central Coast XI: Reddy, Roux, Anderson, Rose, Sim, Hutchinson, Montgomery, Fitzgerald, Vernes, Duke, Simon.
Substitutes: Nash, Bosnar, Caceres, Cernak, Seung-Yong.
Omitted: Trifiro, Poscoliero.

Recent form:
Central Coast:

Top Scorer:
Central Coast: Matt Simon (2)
Brisbane: Henrique (7)

This season:
First competitive meeting this season between the two. They did however meet in the pre-season with Nick Fitzgerald and Henrique scoring the goals in a 1-1 draw, in a game which was a largely even contest at Ballymore.

All time record against Central Coast Mariners:


– Matt McKay will pass Massimo Murdocca on the clubs appearance list, becoming the most capped Brisbane Roar player. McKay, who was apart of the first ever Brisbane side will make appearance number 163 tomorrow, passing Murdocca’s 162.

Former players wrap: 23/12/14

No notes this week, just the tables.

bandicam 2014-12-23 16-50-33-681

bandicam 2014-12-23 16-50-14-080

Report: Jerome Polenz in Brisbane, set to trial/sign


Reports in the press today have indicated that Brisbane could be about to begin a busy January transfer window with the signing of Jerome Polenz. Tony Tannous this morning said that the Polenz was already in Brisbane and set to sign, while Fox Sports later this afternoon have said that he will begin a trial on Monday. Id lean more towards the first link than the second, I can’t think of a reason why Polenz would be made to trial here given his success in the league recently.

Polenz, 28, hasn’t had the best of times since he left the A-League in the off-season, with just two appearances for Norwegian side Sarpsborg 08 which indicates he was pretty clearly that he was a back-up for them. In his time here in Australia over the last season with Western Sydney he was an ever-present however, making 47 appearances for the start up side. Prior to that Polenz had spells in his homeland with Werder Bremen, Alemania Aachen and Union Berlin.

If this does eventually take place, it could spell the beginning of the end for Jack Hingert here in Brisbane. Hingert had a fantastic opportunity this season to make the spot his own, however due to his own form and injury concerns he’s been limited to just the two appearances this season -1 start, 1 sub- and seems now that patience has run out. Daniel Bowles has done a pretty good job at right back in the absence of Hingert, but Polenz is an upgrade from both a defensive and attacking perspective.

Even if he takes up a visa spot, the game is about getting the best group of players you can, and there’s no doubt Polenz makes the team better. This summer figures to be a busy one even if there’s no games in January thanks to the Asian Cup. This move is probably just the beginning ahead of a busy second half of the season which includes the Asian Champions League.

NYL: Late Sibatuara goal secures win over Melbourne

Brisbane Roar (2) Sibatuara 19’, 94’
Melbourne Victory (1) Howard 70’
at Dunmore Park, Toowong.

Brisbane Roar have moved to within three points of National Youth League leading Perth Glory with an last minute winner against Melbourne Victory. A brace from Samuel Sibatuara was enough to cancel out Melbourne’s goal from George Howard. Brisbane went into the game with many of their more familiar names not involved, with Ben Litfin, Lachlan Jackson, Patrick Theodore and Devante Clut all left out which gave a couple of the younger youth team players their opportunity.

Brisbane took the lead after 20 minutes with a fantastic strike from outside the box from Sibatuara, which promoted a couple of follow up efforts in the proceeding moments. Infact for the remainder of the half, it was Brisbane in control of the game, with the visitors struggling to get into their attacking third. It could have been two or three at half time but for missed opportunities.

In the second half Brisbane continued along their dominance but again failed to capitalise, before Victory in one of their first attacks of the game scored. The visitors broke free down the left hand side before a cut back resulted in a tap in for Howard. That goal broke the momentum of the game, with the closing stages turning more into a stop-start affair which suited the visitors, who had the best of the game late on. They would however ultimately go home empty handed when Sibatuara got free down the left and beat Spinella in the Melbourne goal.

As mentioned the result see’s Brisbane climb into second on the NYL table, three points behind leaders Perth Glory who travel to Melbourne to take on third placed City tomorrow morning. Brisbane’s next NYL game is on December 28 away to City, while their next home game is on January 24 against the Wanderers. If you were wondering, the NYL also has an Asian Cup break which kicks in at the same time as the A-League. Brisbane have two games between now and then- the aforementioned Melb. City game on the 28th, and a trip to Sydney FC on January 4.