Round 24 Preview- Melbourne City vs. Brisbane Roar

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Round 24 sees Brisbane play their penultimate road game of the regular season as the round begins with Brisbane’s trip to Melbourne City.

With just four rounds remaining in the competition Brisbane sit top of the table but there’s no room for complacency with the entire top four all within three points of one another, and with the top four playing off against one another this weekend it looms as a potentially huge round in deciding who will lift the Premiers plate.

Despite starting the game somewhat slowly in the opening quarter hour, the visiting Victory struggled to create chances and once the Roar got into a flow there was only going to be one winner.

Brisbane’s attacking outlets again shone, particularly striker Jamie Maclaren and right midfielder Dimitri Petratos who had a hand in a lot of the Roars enterprising attacking play. That right hand side combination with Borrello on the wing and Hingert overlapping looms as a dangerous one again for the Roar

In addition to the form of the right side in recent weeks, the full-backs both played arguably their best games of the season. Hingert, whose really excelled at right back this season looked a constant threat on the right while also keeping Fahid Ben Khalfallah quiet, while on the left the normally shaky Corey Brown was solid defensively and made few mistakes.

The tasks don’t get any easier however, with City’s wingers possessing a real danger, with the likes of Harry Novillo, Nick Fitzgerald and Michael Zullo likely to be deployed out wide in attack for the hosts.

Melbourne meanwhile picked up a vital three points against Adelaide last Friday, ending the Reds long unbeaten run in the process. It was a game of few chances but one that City looked the better side in and they will no doubt enter the contest full of confidence and with three of their last four at home will still believe a top two finish is well within reach.

City enter the round in fourth however they’re just the three points behind the Roar, and with a superior goal difference – +17 compared to Brisbane’s +9-, any win will see them go top of the table for a few hours at least.

In the two previous meetings this season Brisbane picked up four points out of six in games that were played at Suncorp Stadium, with City the first side to emerge from the river city with a point in round 7, before the Roar put on one of their better performances of the season to run out 3-1 winners in round 12.

Harry Novillo capitalised on some poor goalkeeping from Jamie Young just after half time in the first meeting between these two this season, before supersub Henrique scored for the second week running after returning from a knee injury to rescue a point for the Roar.

In the second game between the two this season, Brisbane lead 2-0 at the break thanks to an own goal from Patrick Kisnorbo and a second from Brandon Borrello. In the second however City came back into the game, getting a goal back through top scorer Bruno Fornaroli, before Henrique settled the game in favour of the home side in stoppage time after City threw goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen forward in a desperate attempt to rescue a point.

This promises to be a different encounter for a whole host of reasons however with so much on the line, not least of which is down to Brisbane’s poor record in the Victorian capital.

In seven previous encounters between the two sides in Melbourne City have won five compared to Brisbane’s one, with City winning the last five games at AAMI Park dating back to 2012. Add in cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory and the Roar have won just 5 times in 23 trips to the Victorian capital, and just twice in twelve attempts at AAMI Park.

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, 21) Jamie Young, 22) Thomas Broich, 23) Dimitri Petratos, 24) Tommy Oar 28) Brandon Borrello.
*two to be omitted.

Melbourne City squad
1) Thomas Sorensen, 2) Alex Wilkinson, 4) Connor Chapman, 5) Ivan Franjic, 8) Aaron Mooy, 9) Harry Novillo, 11) Michael Zullo, 16) Jason Trifiro, 18) Paulo Retre, 19) Ben Garuccio, 20) Dean Bouzanis, 23) Bruno Fornaroli, 24) Patrick Kisnorbo, 25) Jacob Melling, 26) Marc Marino, 27) Nick Fitzgerald, 29) Anthony Caceres, 33) Osama Malik.
*two to be omitted.

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

John Aloisi made two changes to his side last week, dropping the out of form Michael Theo and Shane Stefanutto to the bench in place of Jamie Young and Corey Brown, and it’s likely that the starting line-up will remain the same as it was against the Victory.

Tommy Oar is likely to be the only change to the matchday squad, with the attacking midfielder likely to take the place of Spaniard Javier Hervas on the bench.

Melbourne XI- Sorensen, Franjic, Wilkinson, Kisnorbo, Garuccio, Malik, Mooy, Caceres, Novillo, Fitzgerald, Fornaroli.
Substitutes- Bouzanis, Chapman, Zullo, Trifiro, Melling.
Omitted- Retre, Marino.

City picked up a crucial three points on the road last week and as such it’s unlikely that John van’t Schip will make any changes to his side. If he were to however, the fit again Anthony Caceres would be the most likely to enter the starting side, possibly in place of former Roar flyer Michael Zullo.

Recent form
Brisbane- WWLLD
Melbourne- WWLWD

Top Scorer
Brisbane- Jamie Maclaren (17)
Melbourne- Bruno Fornaroli (20)

All-Time Record against Melbourne City

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