Elimination Final Preview- Brisbane Roar vs. Melbourne Victory

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After last weeks disappointing 0-0 draw in Melbourne, which resulted in the Premiers Plate slipping through Brisbane’s fingers and landing in Adelaide, the 2016 finals series begins in Brisbane with an elimination final against the Victory.

Despite not getting the result last in Melbourne, Brisbane produced a polished performance against the Victory and but for a couple of poor finishes and some fantastic saves from Lawrence Thomas they would have won the game –and the Premiership-.

Victory for their part in the game sat deep and tried to hit on the counter a tactic which was more and more effective as the match went on, this week however promises to be a different proposition with the visitors likely to adopt a more attacking approach.

There’s two big factors in this game which will likely prove decisive, one of which is how last weeks result and performance influences this week in relation to confidence going into the game. The other is the availability of a certain striker.

Meanwhile the decision by the FFA to downgrade the suspension handed down to Besart Berisha from two weeks to one for his red card in round 26 against Wellington Phoenix. The decision is a largely contentious one for a whole host of reasons, however with Besart now available for selection and his finals record, the Albanian figures to have a pivotal part to play tomorrow night.

This season against Melbourne Victory
Round 15
Melbourne Victory (4) Ben Khalfallah 5’, Barbarouses 11’, 30’, Berisha 52’
Brisbane Roar (0)

After waiting until the halfway mark in the season for the first clash of the season between these two, the home side got off to a fast start to essentially put the game to bed in the opening half hour. Brisbane, who were top of the league going into the game started off sluggishly and never really recovered from a couple of midfield errors which resulted in the opening two goals.

Round 23
Brisbane Roar (5) Maclaren 18’, 22’, 87’, Brown 55’, Corona 76’
Melbourne Victory (0)

Brisbane well and truly got their own back in round 23, with a rampaging 5-0 win at home, with Jamie Maclaren out to prove a point after being overlooked for the recently announced Socceroos squad. Melbourne were in the middle of a busy patch of their schedule with ACL however they were well and truly out played by Brisbane on the night.

Round 27
Melbourne Victory (0)
Brisbane Roar (0)

All of that brings us to last weekend, a game where there was nothing on the line for the home side and everything on the line for Brisbane, and despite throwing everything at the Victory it wasn’t enough to get the goal. Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas made a string of excellent saves, but the Roar had the chances to put the game –and the Premiership- to bed.

Squads
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, 15) James Donachie, 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 Victory squad
1) Danny Vukovic, 2) Jason Geria, 3) Scott Galloway, 4) Nick Ansell, 5) Daniel Georgievski, 6) Leigh Broxham, 7) Gui Finkler, 8) Besart Berisha, 9) Kosta Barbarouses, 10) Archie Thompson, 13) Oliver Bozanic, 14) Fahid Ben Khalfallah, 17) Mathieu Delpierre, 19) George Howard, 20) Lawrence Thomas, 21) Carl Valeri, 22) Jesse Makarounas, 23) Jai Ingham.

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

Despite failing to get the desired result last week in Melbourne, it’s unlikely that John Aloisi will tamper with his starting side for this game. Last weeks decision to insert Tommy Oar into the starting side had an impact on the side and his influence should continue to grow as his fitness does the same.

Melbourne XI: Thomas, Geria, Delpierre, Broxham, Galloway, Valeri, Bozanic, Finkler, Barbarous, Ben Khalfallah, Berisha.
Substitutes: Vukovic, Georgievski, Makarounas, Howard, Thompson.
Omitted: Ansell, Ingham.

After resting many of their established stars last week due to a hectic schedule, this week should see many of Melbourne’s best players return to the side. The likes of Broxham, Delpierre and Barbarouses were left out last week and should all return this week, while Berisha returns from suspension. The big question for Kevin Muscat will likely be surrounding club captain Carl Valeri, whose recent return from a brain illness has been successful.

Recent form
Brisbane: DWWLW
Melbourne: DWWDL

Top Scorer
Brisbane: Jamie Maclaren (18)
Melbourne: Besart Berisha (17)

All-Time Record against Melbourne Victory

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