ACL Matchday 6 Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Urawa Reds

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After the loss in Adelaide, it all comes down to this for Brisbane if they want to keep their season alive. The equation for Brisbane tonight night is simple; they’ll need to win the game by two or three goals, and hope that Suwon does them a favour with a win at home against Beijing Guoan.

When these two sides met on Matchday two, it was a tight and even match with Brisbane bringing the three points back from Saitama thanks to an early Brandon Borrello strike. The win was Brisbane’s first in the competition, with their second coming against Beijing last time out.

In truth, Brisbane should be in a far better position in this group given they’ve won 2 of 3 on the road, but lapses at home have cost them and if they fall short tonight it’ll be the Matchday 1 loss to Beijing where they played for an hour against 10 men, and Matchday 3 where they blew a 2-0 lead to draw 3-3 they look to for the answers.

Brisbane come into this crunch game with their domestic duties over for the season after Friday’s loss to Adelaide ended a disappointing campaign, but results in the Champions League have been better.

They enter this game on the back of a win two weeks ago in Beijing, where they fought hard to come away with all three points after they withstood the home sides pressure and former Guoan striker Kaluderovic popped up just before the break.

Urawa meanwhile bring dismal Champions League form to the table, with the Japanese side losing four of their five games to date- only taking a point off Beijing on Matchday 4. Their J-League form however has been a total opposite, with the Reds sitting three points clear at the top of the League after nine games, unbeaten seven wins and two draws. Most recently they beat 3rd placed Gamba Osaka with a late winner at the weekend.

Urawa are also experiencing what Brisbane dealt with on Matchday’s 4 and 5, with three games in a week with Asian travel coming up for them this week. In addition to playing Gamba at the weekend and Brisbane tonight, they round out a busy week with a trip to Vegalta Sendai on Sunday.

Squads

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Brisbane will be forced to make at least 2 changes from the side who defeated Beijing Guoan a fortnight ago, with Corey Brown suspended after picking up his second yellow card of the campaign and Luke DeVere out injured.

The logical replacement would be Lachlan Jackson, who would slide into the centre of defence with Daniel Bowles on the right and Jack Hingert on the left. The other option would be to consider George Lambadaridis on the left side of the defence, with Bowles playing centrally and Hingert remaining on the right hand side. Personally, id go for the first option, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the second.

Luke Pavlou and Matt Schmidt, who have been around the first team lately as defensive cover are ineligible as neither was registered in the Roar’s 30 man ACL squad.

Expected Brisbane XI: Young, Bowles, Donachie, Jackson, Hingert, Brattan, McKay, Clut, Broich, Borrello, Kaluderovic.
Substitutes: Chalmers, Lambadaridis, Lustica, Sarota, Petratos, Brady, Danning.

For the visiting Japanese side, it’s really tough to tell what they’ll do in truth, given they’re right in the middle of their season and are out of the competition. Coach Mihalio Petrovic yesterday said that he would ‘freshen up’ his side after their weekend exploits back how, but what that entails remains to be seen.

Top scorer and Slovenian international Zlatan Ljubijankic has not made the trip to Queensland, although its not yet known who else failed to make the trip. Rather than speculate on what Urawa might or might not do, here’s the side that beat Gamba Osaka 1-0 at the weekend.

Urawa XI who beat Gamba: Nishikawa, Nasu, Makino, Moriwaki, Abe, Hirakawa, Kashiwagi, Umesaki, Ugajin, Muto, Ljubijankic.
Substitutes: Sekine, Lee, Aoki, Otani, Nagata. Takagi, Hashimoto.

While attention will rightly be on the game at Robina Stadium, eyes will also be focused on social media with the Suwon-Beijing game being of significance should Brisbane do the business tonight. That game kicks off at the same time as the Brisbane- Urawa game.

As mentioned above Brisbane need to win, home Suwon win and overturn a 4 goal difference favouring the Chinese side in order to progress. Here’s the table and fixtures going into the decisive Matchday 6.

Table

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Matchday 6 fixtures
Brisbane Roar vs. Urawa Red Diamonds- Robina Stadium
Suwon Samsung Bluewings vs. Beijing Guoan- Suwon 02 WC Stadium

All-time record against Urawa Red Diamonds

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