ACL Preliminary Round 2 Preview- Brisbane Roar v Global FC

After Brisbane kick-started their run of five games in 14 days on Saturday against the Wanderers, attention now turns to the continental competition as Brisbane Roar take on Filipino side Global FC in Preliminary Round 2 of qualifying for the Group Stage.

A win tonight would see Brisbane progress to Preliminary Round 3, which would see them travel to Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua on Wednesday week , with the winner of that clash booking a sought after place in the Group Stage.

In order to get to that 3rd round however Brisbane will need to overcome both an unknown opponent and a poor home record in the Champions League, with the Roar having picked up just two draws and four defeats from six home games in the competitions. All up Brisbane have won just two of 13 games in Asian competition.

The real intrigue surrounding this fixture is just how many of the clubs youngsters will John Aloisi entrust the responsibility of navigating this potentially tricky tie to. With the heavy workload of games now here, and potentially here for the remainder of the season if the attempts to qualify for the ACL are successful, rotation is going to be paramount.

Tonight will be an interesting reference point in how much Aloisi trusts the clubs youngsters, with the current boss giving out just the one senior debut to an academy product to date in his 18 month tenure – Nicholas D’Agostino v Perth Glory in round 6 last season-.

What have they done lately?
Unlike Brisbane who are 2/3 of the way through their league season, Global FC are currently in their pre-season ahead of the first season of the newly formed Philippines Football League which kicks off in April.

In order to get to this stage of the competition, Global FC had to defeat Singaporean side Tampines Rovers last week in Preliminary Round one in order to progress to this second stage.  Goals from former BPL attacker Ahamad Azzawi and star striker Misagh Bahadoran were enough to give Global a 2-0 win last week to see off the Singapore side.  For further information on Global FC, have a read of this getting to know you piece we wrote last week.

Expected Line Ups
Brisbane Squad Rotation
A big topic going into this game is just how many changes that John Aloisi will make for tonight’s clash with the clubs busy fixture list in mind. In his press conference after the Westerns Sydney win on Saturday Aloisi hinted there would be a number of changes, emphasising changes in the attacking third due to the exertions of the front three.

It’s doubtful they will be the only changes however, and all up we could be looking at up to five or six changes, maybe more. Brisbane yesterday named a 27 player squad for the ACL which gives John Aloisi options, but what might those changes look like?

Defensive third
Starting in goal, while there’s no real need fitness wise to rest Michael Theo, I think that this would be a good opportunity to give Jamie Young some much needed match time. While Aloisi stressed the importance of rotation in the front third, given the age of Jade North and the injury history of Luke DeVere it would make sense for a change back here as well.

Corey Brown’s suspension on Saturday meant he got a mandatory rest and with the regular left back fit and available, Aloisi has the option of shifting Bowles central as a partner for either North or DeVere. Kye Rowles would have been a candidate to play however he’s away with the Australian u-23 side, while Connor O’Toole will likely have to be happy with a place on the bench due to the return of Brown.

The age of Brisbane’s midfield has been a discussion point over the course of the season and this figures to be a good time to give a rest to at least one of McKay or Kristensen. With Jacob Pepper a ready made option to step in for Kristensen that figures to be a likely change, while Konstandopoulos has been given limited time so far.

Including Dimitri Petratos, I expect that given John Aloisi’ public comments after the Wanderers game that the entire front four will be changed for tonight’s clash. That should result in a front four of Brett Holman, Tommy Oar, Manuel Arana and either Nicholas D’Agostino or Joey Katebian.

The real intrigue tonight will be around how many o of his senior stars John Aloisi gives the night off, as opposed to sitting on the bench if required. Here’s my best guess all things considered as how Brisbane will line-up tonight.

Brisbane- Young, Hingert, Bowles, North, Brown, Pepper, McKay, Arana, Holman, Oar, D’Agostino.

Substitutes- Bilic, Crestani, O’Toole, Caletti, Konstandopoulos, Brady, Katebian.

Before going into the possible starting side for Global, two quick stories about players we didn’t mention last week in our getting to know you piece which have connections to Australian Football. The first of which is Sydney born midfielder Yianni Perkatis, with the former youth international playing 8 games for Western Sydney Wanderers.

The second of the two is much closer to home with midfielder Ahamad Azzawi spending the 2016 with Capalaba in the Brisbane Premier League, and thanks to his 22 goals for the season recently signed for the Filipino Champions. Azzawi’s performances also saw him named BPL player of the year for 2016.

Rather than speculate on how Global FC might line up, here’s how Global FC lined up in their qualifier last week against Singaporean side Tampines Rovers.

Global FC- Deyto, Aguinaldo, Barbaso, Kaole, Hartmann, Mulders, Sasaki, Azzawi, Villanueva, Minegishi, Bahadoran.

Substitutes- O’Donnell, Clarino, Salenga, Maquirang, Salenga, Villarreal, Bugas, Casambre.

Stats and Facts
Brisbane’s home record in the Champions League has been particularly poor, with the club failing to win any of it’s six home games in previous editions of the competition.

– It’s been a long time since an ACL game has been played in the City of Brisbane, with the last occurring back on May 16, 2012 when Brisbane drew 1-1 with Beijing Guo’an on Matchday 6 of the 2012 competition.

– Tomislav Bilic, Joe Caletti, Connor O’Toole, Dane Ingham and Cameron Crestani could all be set to make their debut tonight. If they do they will become the 122nd, 123rd, 124th, 125th and 126th to do so.

– Dane and former Brisbane winger Jai Ingham could become just the second set of brothers to represent Brisbane if the young full-back gets a debut tonight. The Ingham’s would be replicating Tyler and Jordan Simpson, who were part of Miron Bleiberg’s foundation season squad.

All-Time Record in AFC Champions League

With a trip to Shanghai to take on Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua Wednesday week up for grabs, both sides will be out for the win in order to keep their hopes of reaching the Group Stage alive. Also a reminder that because this is a one leg knockout tie, the game will go to extra time and penalties if required, as it did in Brisbane’s only other playoff game away to Buriram in 2013.

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