Round 23 preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Melbourne Victory

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Round 23 sees Brisbane play the second in a tough run of four games through the month of March with a home clash against Melbourne Victory on Saturday.

The two enter the clash on the back of much needed wins with Brisbane getting a first win in a month after a later comeback against Western Sydney last week, while the Victory won in the league for the first time since January on the Central Coast.

Despite having to claw the result back in the final 10 minutes last week, Brisbane started extremely quickly with a high pressure, up tempo style of game which saw them gain the upper hand over the Wanderers.

Brisbane were in control of the game, but a couple of defensive blunders from Shane Stefanutto and Michael Theo let the visitors back into the game, forcing the Roar to dig deep. Eliminating those types of mistakes will be crucial for the Roar to finish in the top two and progress through the finals.

Melbourne meanwhile arrive in the midst of a hectic travel schedule due to their participation in the Champions League, and while they’ve been afforded the rare luxury of a six day break between games this week, it’s set to ramp up again this week with 3 games in 8 days.

In the league, Victory have been solid if unspectacular of late, with the win over the Mariners last Sunday their first since beating Sydney on Australia Day. Despite that Victory are still destined to be in the finals and loom as a dangerous side in the bottom half of the draw.

When these two sides met for the first time this season in round 15, Victory pounced on a sloppy Roar start to score twice in the opening 10 minutes, essentially wrapping up the game against a sloppy and shocked Roar side.

Since that 4-0 result, both sides have struggled in terms of results, however it’s the Victory who’ve looked the better side since then for the most part. Brisbane, who went to Melbourne top of the league at the time, looked to be spooked by the fast starting Victory and went on a run which saw them win just twice in 7 rounds since then, conceding 20 goals in that time before last weeks win over the Wanderers.

Rebounding from that and getting a result tomorrow will go a long way to finishing in the top two, with Brisbane entering the weekend equal on points with the Wanderers and just a point behind Adelaide. V

ictory meanwhile sit 5th, 5 points behind the Roar and a win could put them position for a late run at the top two. A loss however could see 7th placed Sydney draw level with them, so Victory could yet go either way this year.

Brisbane Roar squad
1) Michael Theo, 3) Shane Stefanutto, 5) Corey Brown, 7) Corona, 8) Steven Lustica, 9) Jamie Maclaren, 10) Henrique, 13) Jade North, 14) Daniel Bowles, 16) Devante Clut, 17) Matt McKay, 18) Javier Hervas, 19) Jack Hingert, 20) Shannon Brady, 21) Jamie Young, 22) Thomas Broich, 23) Dimitri Petratos, 28) Brandon Borrello.
*two to be omitted.

Melbourne Victory XI 1) Danny Vukovic, 2) Jason Geria, 3) Scott Galloway, 5) Daniel Georgievski, 6) Leigh Broxham, 7, Gui Finkler, 8) Besart Berisha, 10) Archie Thompson, 11) Connor Pain, 13) Oliver Bozanic, 14) Fahid Ben Khalfallah, 15) Giancarlo Gallifuoco, 16) Rashid Mahazi, 17) Mathieu Delpierre, 20) Lawrence Thomas, 22) Jesse Makarounas, 23) Jai Ingham, 24) Thomas Deng.
*two to be omitted.

Expected line-ups
Brisbane Starting XI– Theo, Hingert, North, Bowles, Stefanutto, Petratos, Corona, McKay, Borrello, Broich, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Young, Brown, Lustica, Hervas, Henrique.
Omitted- Clut, Brady.

John Aloisi reverted back to his usual starting line-up last week after the failed experiment in Adelaide, with Broich and Petratos inserted into the starting side, with the same XI expected for the most part this time around.

Despite the win last week, both Theo and Stefanutto made another couple of mistakes that let the Wanderers back into the game, however despite the calls for change it’s likely that the duo will get another chance against the Victory.

Melbourne XI- Vukovic, Geria, Delpierre, Broxham, Galloway, Bozanic, Mahazi, Finkler, Ben Khalfallah, Ingham, Berisha.
Substitutes- Thomas, Gallifuoco, Georgievski, Pain, Thompson.
Omitted- Deng, Makarounas.

With Victory having a big ACL clash coming up next week, it’s tough to know what team Kevin Muscat will opt for in this clash. They’re still fighting on two fronts however, with last weeks win over Central Coast keeping them in with an outside shot of pushing for a top 4 finish.

Recent form
Brisbane- WLLDW
Melbourne- WDLDD

Top Scorer
Brisbane- Jamie Maclaren (14)
Melbourne- Besart Berisha (15)

All-Time Record against Melbourne Victory

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