ACL rankings change could mean a tougher path to the ACLPosted: December 1, 2016
Brisbane’s path to the 2017 ACL Group Stage just got a little bit harder thanks to the latest change in the AFC rankings, which has seen them drop down into the Preliminary round.
Due to China moving about Australia in the AFC East Zone Rankings, the A-League’s playoff spot has dropped down into the preliminary round meaning that the 3rd placed team in the A-League now has to win two games to make the Group Stage.
That drop down in the standings is a swap with Chinese Club Shanghai Shenhua has now been elevated to the Playoff Round. For Brisbane, this could be both a blessing and a curse, with the change alleviating the previously debated home ground issues while adding extra fixtures to what will potentially be a congested fixture list.
Brisbane’s 2017 AFC Champions League campaign is now set to start on January 31st, with a home game against Myanmar Champions Yanabardon.
While there is an extra game now in qualification this change of the rankings does now ensure that Brisbane will be able to hold this qualifier at Suncorp Stadium, with the game falling between two home games against Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.
Should Brisbane beat Yanabardon they would then face a quick turn around the next week against Shanghai Shenhua, a game which will now be played on the road for a place in the Group Stage.
This change does alleviate the conundrum surrounding the hosting the game on the 7th with Suncorp Stadium out of action due to Rugby 10’s tournament, leaving the Roar scrambling for a venue with the likes of Ballymore and QSAC also ruled out.
February now figures to be a busy time for Brisbane Roar, with five games in 15 days, starting with a home game against Western Sydney (Jan 28) concluding two weeks later away to Melbourne City (Feb 11).
In that stretch Brisbane will also play their ACL Preliminary game on January 31st, Sydney FC on February 2nd and the ACL Playoff on February 7th.