Round 26 Match Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Melbourne Victory.

Victory H
After Wednesday’s 2-1 win for Melbourne these sides are set to do it all again in the penultimate round of the season with a lot still on the line for both sides.

Despite being 7th on the table and all but assured of finishing there, Brisbane will be in the finals as Perth have decided to accept the sanctions from the FFA after a week of appeals. In order to qualify for the finals on merit as opposed to default as is being claimed, Brisbane will have to somehow close a four point gap to Melbourne City which will require a win tomorrow night.

From Melbourne’s point of view, they already have one hand on the Premiership and they could claim it tomorrow night should they pick up another win and results go their way over the rest of the round.

Squads

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Brisbane finally have some of their injured players back this week, with Jade North and Jerome Polenz named to return. However as they return, Jean Carlos Solórzano and Luke DeVere head in the other direction. If Polenz and North are 100% fit, I expect them to start ahead of Hingert and Bowles, but im not sure that they are and as such I’ve listed the returning from suspension Bowles as DeVere’s replacement.

Further forward Brandon Borrello figures to return to the starting line-up in place of the injured Solórzano, and the young attackers speed was missed by the home side on Wednesday. Outside of that, it figures to be the same side.

Expected Brisbane XI: Young, Hingert, Bowles, Donachie, Brown, Brattan, McKay, Broich, Petratos, Borrello, Kaluderovic.
Substitutes: Chalmers, Jackson, Clut, Lustica, Brady.
Omitted: North, Polenz.

Melbourne will be sweating on the fitness of right back Jason Geria after he limped off the field on Wednesday night. If he’s unable to go however, Kevin Muscat could well be tempted to shift the versatile Leigh Broxham back into defence and re-introduce Gui Finkler to the midfield. Outside of that it’s unlikely that Melbourne will change what is a winning formula.

Expected Melbourne XI: Thomas, Broxham, Ansell, Delpierre, Georgievski, Valeri, Milligan, Finkler, Barbarouses, Ben Khalfallah, Berisha.
Substitutes:
Spinella, Galloway, Mahazi, Pain, Thompson.
Omitted:
Makarounas, Geria.

Recent form
Brisbane: LWLWL
Melbourne: WLWWD

Top Scorer
Brisbane: Henrique (8)
Melbourne: Besart Berisha (11)

This season against Melbourne Victory
Round 7
Melbourne Victory (1) O.G- North 77’
Brisbane Roar (0)

Round 18- rescheduled
Brisbane Roar (1) McKay 51’
Melbourne Victory (2) Valeri 17’, Berisha 22’

Two wins from two for the league leading Victory, although Wednesday’s game was a far more even game than the round 7 match, with the home side asserting themselves far more on the proceedings then the did earlier in the season.

All-time record against Melbourne Victory

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Elsewhere this weekend the youth team are at home against Far North Queensland Heat on Sunday afternoon in round 6 of the NPL Queensland. Kick-off from Perry Park is set for 2.00pm, with a top of the table clash between Brisbane Strikers and Moreton Bay United from 4.30pm.

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