AFC Champions League 2017 Matchday 2 Preview

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After a tough loss at home on Saturday afternoon Brisbane Roar are on the road again for the first of four straight road games across both the League and Champions League which will define the sides season. Trips to Kashima, Adelaide an Newcastle are to follow over the next few weeks, but for now it’s K-League side Ulsan Hyundai tonight in matchday two of the AFC Champions League.

Brisbane looked flat at the weekend against a desperate Wellington side and were made to pay the price, the question now however is just how much they’ve been able to freshen up ahead of what is an important game in the context of the whole group. With back to back games against J-League champion Kashima Antlers to follow on Matchday 3 and 4, tonight’s game takes on added significance.

What have they done lately?
Ulsan are still in the final stages of their pre-season, with the 2017 K-League season begins at the weekend, with Ulsan playing host to Pohang Steelers. So far in competitive games this season, Ulsan have scored just the one goal in their two games this season.

In the AFC Champions League Ulsan struggled to get past Hong Kong champions Kitchee FC, drawing 1-1 before progressing to the Group Stage on penalties before losing 2-0 away from home to Kashima Antlers.

You can find out more about Ulsan Hyundai in our getting to know you post –link– and our chat with K-League United.

Squads

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Expected Line-ups
Brisbane Roar will still be without Corey Brown and Daniel Bowles for this game, however it seems that everyone else will be fit and available for this game in a huge boost for John Aloisi.

The biggest selection issue for John Aloisi figures to be a choice between Kye Rowles and Joe Caletti, with Matt McKay set to start either at left back or in midfield depending on the selection. Given how solid Kye Rowles looked at the weekend, it’s likely that he gets the start on the left side of defence ahead of Joe Caletti who looked tired against the Phoenix.

Brisbane XI- Hingert, Crestani, North, Rowles, Kristensen, McKay, Holman, Borrello, Oar, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Theo, Ingham, Pepper, Caletti, Arana, Broich, D’Agostino.

With the South Korean side it’s very difficult to gauge given the league season is yet to get underway and we have a small sample size to go from. Add in a range of different formations as outlined in our chat with K-League United it’s hard to know exactly who will play for the South Korean side. Below is the team that Kim Do-Hoon picked for the matchday 1 loss away to Kashima Antlers last week.

Ulsan- Yong Dae, Ki Je Lee, Min Soo, Chi Gon, Chang Soo, Seung Gyu, Sang Wun, Jae Yong, Orsic, Jong Ho, Kovacec.
Substitutes- Suhuk, In Sung, Myung Jae, Seung Hyun, Yong Jin, Windbichler, Petratos.

Group Preview
Elsewhere tonight in Group E Thai Champions Muanthong United play host to current group leader Kashima Antlers, in a game that kicks off at the same time as the Ulsan-Brisbane game.

With tonight’s fixtures taking us to the 1/3 mark of the Group Stage, we will know a lot more about how the group is shaping up tomorrow morning. In the meantime here’s the table going into Matchday 2.

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All-Time record against Ulsan Hyundai

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Getting to know- Ulsan Hyundai

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Brisbane’s 2017 AFC Champions League campaign resumes tomorrow night with a game away from home K-League side Ulsan Hyundai. Unlike fellow Group E combatants, Brisbane have played Ulsan Hyundai before, with a 1-1 draw away before the South Korean side travelled to Brisbane and left with a somewhat controversial 2-1 win. Fun fact, that was the game where Shane Stefanutto scored his one and only goal for the club. You can see highlights of the away game here, and the home game here. Like with every other opponent however, lets get to know a bit more about tomorrow nights opponent.

History
Founded in 1983 as Hyundai Horang-I, joining the K-League for the first time back in 1984. It wasn’t until 1990 however that the team moved to the city of Ulsan due to the nearby headquarters of their Hyundai ownership group, which saw the side become a greater force in the competition.

After winning the K-League twice in 1996 and 2005, the club turned their attention to the Champions League like most K-League clubs, making the semi-final in 2006 before going on to win the competition in 2012.

Honours
K-League Classic- (2) 1996, 2005.
League Cup (5) – 1986, 1995, 1998, 2007, 2011.
Super Cup (1) – 2006.
Asian Champions League (1) – 2012.

Stadium
Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium
Capacity
– 44,102.
Opened- 2001.

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Ulsan play their home games at the Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium, a 44,000 seat custom built stadium for the 2002 World Cup held in South Korea and Japan. When the two sides met back in 2012 Ulsan and Brisbane played out a 1-1 draw on Matchday 3.

Record in Asia
1998- Round of 16
2006- Semi Final
2009- Group Stage
2012- Champion
2014- Group Stage

Ulsan have been a semi-regular in the Asian Champions League since it’s inception with five previous participations in the competition, including winning the 2012 edition with a 3-0 final win over Saudi side Al-Ahli. Progression from the Group Stage in three of the five previous participations shows that the South Korean side are a genuine threat to qualify for the last 16 once again.

How they qualified
Ulsan’s participation in this years competition is a complex story based around court cases, after Jeonbuk Hyundai were excluded from the competition after a bribery scandal.

That resulted in a late reshuffle of the K-League’s ACL spots, with 4th placed Ulsan elevated into the playoff round of qualifying and had to rely on penalties to beat Hong Kong Champion Kitchee to book their place in the Group Stage.

Manager- Kim Do-Hoon
46 year old Kim leads the Ulsan side having been appointed over the off-season and is in his second major managerial role after a two year spell with Incheon United. Prior to that Kim had a successful playing career in the K-League with the likes of Jeonbuk and Seongnam, in addition to making 72 appearances for his country, scoring 30 goals.

Squad
Ulsan Hyundai Manager- Jang Minki.
Goalkeepers- Kim Yongdae, 21) Jo Suhuk, 31) Jang Dae Hee.
Defenders- 3) Lee Ki Je, 4) Kang Min Soo, 13) Lee Myung Jae, 15) Jung Seung Hyun, 22) Kim Chigon, 23) Choi Kyu Baek, 25) Jeong Dong Ho, 27) Kim Chang Soo, 33) Lee Ji Hun, 40) Richard Windbichler.
Midfielders- 5) Park Yong Woo, 6) Jeong Jae Yong, 8) Kim Sung Hwan, 9) Mislav Orsic, 11) Suh Myeong Won, 16) Kim Geon-Uug, 17) Jang Seong Jai, 20) Han Sang-Wun, 32) Lee Young Jae, 42) Han Seung Gyu, 70) Dimitri Petratos.
Forwards- Kim In Sung, 10) Lee Jong Ho, 18) Nam Hee Cheol, 19) Kim Seung Jin, 29) Kim Yong Jin, 44) Ivan Kovacec.

Key Players
Dimitri Petratos- A player that we here in Brisbane know plenty about, Petratos was signed with the Champions League in mind as Ulsan’s AFC visa player. Despite only playing a bit part role off the bench last week in Japan and only just settling in to surroundings at his new club, it’s likely that due to the knowledge Petratos possesses of his old club that he will play a role tomorrow night.

Mislav Orsic- 24 year old attacking midfielder Orsic is a recent addition from Chinese Super League side Changchun Yatai, having previously represented Jeonnam Dragons in the K-League.

Ivan Kovacec- 28 year old Croatian striker is likely to be the leading man upfront for Ulsan, having scored 13 goals in 53 appearances since arriving joining the K-League in 2015. Prior to that Kovacec bounced around clubs in Central and Eastern Europe, and while his goal scoring ratio isn’t the greatest he figures to be a threat.

Kim Chang-Soo- As the only Ulsan member of the South Korean national team, the 31 year old full-back adds some experience to the back four, having represented the country 24 times including as part of the 2015 Asian Cup squad. Last season however Kim made just the 8 appearances for Jeonbuk, with more successful stints at Busan I’Park and J-League side Kashiwa Reysol prior to that.

If you’d like to know even more about tomorrow nights opponent, including how Dimitri Petratos is fitting in at his new club, you can have a read of a chat we had with K-League United here.


2016-17 A-League Round 21 Preview- Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix

It’s the middle of another busy patch for Brisbane Roar as they play their third game in eight days against Wellington Phoenix today at Suncorp Stadium. While there is little relief in sight with the fixture congestion throwing up an Asian Champions League game away to Ulsan on Saturday, today’s game against 8th placed Wellington is an important one in the context of the A-League.

With last nights win for Sydney FC, Brisbane now have a chance to move back into third place on the A-League table with a win, an opportunity which is an important one given the upcoming fixture congestion for John Aloisi side.

Despite fighting on multiple fronts at the moment, John Aloisi side have done an excellent job of maintaining a top four place on the A-League table, with an 8 game unbeaten run in all competitions which dates back to the first time these two sides met this season in round 16.

What have they done lately?
After a brief upturn in results following the departure of Ernie Merrick, Wellington have again began to slide down the table with the Nix winless in their last five games, the last of which was a comprehensive 5-1 home defeat at the hands of Melbourne City last weekend.

This latest poor run of form for the Phoenix has seen them drop to 8th on the A-League table, five points behind the sixth placed Western Sydney as we enter the final third of the season.

Going into this game, three of Wellingtons players have been removed from consideration for an off field breach, with Tom Doyle, Ryan Lowry and Roly Bonevacia left back home in New Zealand.

Expected line-ups
Brisbane-
Theo, Hingert, Crestani, North, McKay Kristensen, Caletti, Borrello, Holman, Broich, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Young, Rowles, Konstandopoulos, Arana, Katebian.
Omitted- O’Toole, Brady.

Wellington- Moss, Tratt, Rossi, Durante, Parkhouse, Rodriguez, Lia, Ridenton, Barbarouses, Krishna, Smeltz.
Substitutes- Italiano, Fox, McGarry, Singh, Watson.
Omitted- Sail, Rogerson.

Stats and Facts
– Jade North is set to make his 100th A-League game for Brisbane Roar, becoming just the 11th player to reach the feat.
– Kye Rowles could become the 125th player to represent Brisbane Roar if he makes his debut in this match.

All-Time record against Wellington Phoenix

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2017 NPL Queensland Season Preview

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After a brief break following the end of the 2016-17 National Youth League season, Brisbane begin their 2017 NPL Queensland season as the winter competition gets underway.

In the recently concluded NYL, Brisbane put in some strong performances but once again fell just short of qualifying for the Grand Final from Conference A, finishing two points behind eventual champions Melbourne City.

Transfers
As mentioned over the last couple of weeks, a number players in the Young Roar set-up have moved on, leaving holes in the squad that have to be filled. Since the end of the National Youth League the likes of goalkeeper Andre Jannese, defender Hayden McHenery, midfielders Henry Hore, Danny Kim, Joseph Champness and Jayden Prasad, plus attacker Joe Duckworth.

Add in those who left at the end of the 2016 NPL Queensland campaign and it figures to be a very different squad in 2017. The only confirmed addition to the fold is Moreton Bay winger Finn Beakhurst, with the rest likely to be made up of gradates from the QAS side.

Squad
Working out who is in the squad is an interesting one due to both the recent transfers of players out of the system and the current A-League injury crisis which will see a bunch of players who were likely to play in the NPL not available as they compete for playing time in the A-League.

That means that for the first part of the NPL season the likes of goalkeeper Tomislav Bilic, defenders Cameron Crestani, Connor O’Toole, Dane Ingham and Kye Rowles, midfielders Joe Caletti and Nathan Konstandopoulos, plus attackers Nicholas D’Agostino and Shannon Brady are unlikely to feature in the early rounds.

With that in mind the NPL side in the early rounds is likely to be made up with players who were on the fringes over the summer NYL competition. That means the likes of Macklin Frecke, Adam Sawyer, Aaron Reardon, Daniel Driver, Daniel Leck, Mark Rodic and Nicholas Panetta, in addition to new signing Finn Beakhurst should get regular football in the next few weeks.

xpectations
As always for the Young Roar the expectations are more about player development and putting in solid performances rather than aiming for a spot in the finals places. For those players who are entering their second season in the set-up it’s a big few months as they try and catch the eye of John Aloisi and his coaching staff, with a view to being involved in the A-League sides pre-season later on in the year.

Additional teams
In addition to the Young Roar playing in the senior NPL Queensland competition, Brisbane will once again be fielding a side in the u-18’s competition which is essentially the QAS/NTC program.

This season however there will be a third Brisbane Roar side in the NPL competitions, with an u-20’s side set to be fielded in that competition for the first time which will open up further opportunities for younger players to enter the Brisbane youth system.

All three of these side are set to play the 2017 season at A.J. Kelly Park in Redcliffe, with the clubs new training base still in progress. It’s highly likely that these teams will eventually play the majority of their home games at the new training base, but for 2017 they’ll be playing up on the Peninsula.

The competition
Switching focus to the rest of the competition and the favourites figure to be perennial contenders Brisbane Strikers, who will be looking to win their first Championship in the NPL era of the state league.

Their biggest challenge is likely to come from Cairns based FNQ Heat, who ran them close in the Premiership race last season, while Olympic FC could be an outsider to keep an eye on given their strong recruitment over the summer under new boss Terry Kirkham. Gold Coast City and Western Pride, who both have a range of talented young players also figure to have good seasons.

Last seasons Champions Redlands have seen the majority of their squad move on to both rival clubs in the NPL Queensland, and to clubs in the stronger NPL Victoria and could find it tough to defend their title. Captain Michael McGowan, midfielder Paul O’Brien and goalkeeper Brendan White figure to be big losses for Red Devils.

Round 1 fixtures
Olympic FC v Brisbane Roar- Saturday 6.00pm at Goodwin Park, Yeronga.
Moreton Bay v Northern Fury- Saturday 6.00pm at Wolter Park, Albany Creek.
FNQ Heat v Gold Coast City- Saturday 6.30 pm at Barlow Park, Cairns.
Brisbane City v SWQ Thunder- Saturday 6.30pm at Spencer Park, Newmarket.
Western Pride v Brisbane Strikers- Sat 7.00pm at Briggs Road Complex, Ipswich.
Sunshine Coast v Redlands- Sunday 2.00pm at Sunshine Coast Stadium, Kawana.

 


Former Players Wrap- 23/02/2017

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Goalscorer on debut (Chiangrai United official Facebook)


BPL season kicks off

The Brisbane Premier League and the Capital Football Leagues kicked off at the weekend, and as you would expect there are a number of former Brisbane Roar players playing in the local competition.

Tim Smits, Royce Brownlie and Abrahim Yango were the only three former players to feature in round one, however there figures to be many more over the coming weeks.

Goals
After recently transferring to Thai club Chiangrai United, Henrique made a goalscoring debut for his new club in a 3-1 win against Sisaket FC. You can see the goal here –skip to 9.30-.

Ben Litfin also scored his first goal for his new club at the weekend, finding the net for Bentleigh Greens in their 2-1 come from behind win over North Geelong. You can see highlights of that match here.

Vidosic joins SFC Seongnam
Dario Vidosic has a new club just weeks after leaving Chinese Super League side Liaoning Whowin, with the attacking midfielder joining K-League side SFC Seongnam. Vidosic at least in part left the CSL club due to their January addition of fellow former Brisbane winger Robbie Kruse.

Susak returns to Australia
Milan Susak has returned to Australian Football, joining NPL New South Wales club Bonnyrigg White Eagles. Susak, now 33, returns to his junior club ahead of the new season in NSW.

Calum O’Connell returns to WA
One of the former Brisbane players we’ve had trouble finding out is Calum O’Connell, the young left back who made one appearance for Brisbane back in 2009 in the latter days of the Frank Farina era.

O’Connell has returned to his native Perth and will play the 2017 season with Balcatta FC. In truth Calum has probably been playing in the WA State League for a few seasons, however it’s been tough to find conformation of that until now.

At the weekend in the season opener, O’Connell was a second half substitute in what would ultimately prove to be a tough night as Balcatta lost 5-1 away from home to Sorrento FC.

Switching focus back quickly to the local leagues here in Brisbane briefly, and another player we’ve had trouble placing club wise since his departure is Patrick Theodore. During the week however I stumbled over the fact that he spent 2016 with Bayside United, a club for whom he made 19 appearances last season, scoring 3 goals.

Here’s the tables.

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AFC Champions League 2017 Matchday 1 Preview

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Brisbane’s third AFC Champions League Group Stage starts tonight with a home game against Thai Premier League side Muanthong United at Suncorp Stadium.

To get through to this stage Brisbane comfortably beat Global FC three weeks ago before completing what was a stunning upset in the eyes of most, by defeating mega rich Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua away from home.

In Brisbane’s two previous ACL Group Stage campaigns in 2012 and 2015, it was Brisbane’s home form –zero wins, 2 draws, 4 losses- which ultimately cost them any chance of progressing to the last 16.

That home form did turn around in the last home fixture which saw Brisbane defeat Filipino side Global FC, and in order to progress the Roar are going to need to continue that form against Muanthong.

In order to do that Brisbane will be backing up from a long trip to Perth just 72 hours prior to tonight’s game and are decidedly short handed with a number of players ruled out with injury.

What have they done lately?

Having secured automatic qualification to the Group Stage of the Champions League Muanthong haven’t participated in the competition to date. Unlike fellow Group E combatants Ulsan Hyundai and Kashima Antlers, Muanthong United’s 2017 League season is underway.

So far Muanthong have picked up maximum points with six points out of six, with a 4-0 opening day win away to Bangkok Glass before Friday’s 1-0 win at home to Sukhothai. You can learn more about Muanthong United here.

Squads
Brisbane Roar
Manager-
John Aloisi.
GK- 1) Michael Theo, 21) Jamie Young, 43) Tomislav Bilic.
DF- 3) Luke DeVere, 4) Daniel Bowles, 5) Corey Brown, 6) Avram Papadopoulos, 13) Jade North, 19) Jack Hingert, 24) Connor O’Toole, 25) Kye Rowles, 46) Cameron Crestani, 50) Dane Ingham.
MF- 7) Thomas Kristensen, 8) Jacob Pepper, 10) Brett Holman, 11) Tommy Oar, 16) Nathan Konstandopoulos, 17) Matt McKay, 20) Shannon Brady, 22) Thomas Broich, 29) Joe Caletti.
FW- 9) Jamie Maclaren, 15) Manuel Arana, 26) Nicholas D’Agostino, 28) Brandon Borrello, 33) Joey Katebian.

Muanthong United
Manager- Ronnarit Steaua.
GK- 1) Kawin Thamsatchanan, 28) Prasit Phadungchok, 37) Putthipong Pomlee.
DF- 2) Perapat Notechaiya, 3) Theerathon Bunmathan, 5) Aoyama Naoaki, 15) Lee Ho, 19) Tristan Do, 25) Adison Promrak, 6) Sulphan Thongsong, 29) Celio Dos Santos, 33) Pitakpong Kunsuwan.
MF- 6) Sarach Yooyen, 13) Ratchapol Nawanno, 14) Sorawit Panthong, 16) Sanukran Thinjom, 18) Chanathip Songkrasin, 20) Wongsakorn Chaikulthewin, 34) Wattana Playnum.
FW- 9) Xisco Jimenez, 10) Teerasil Dangda, 11) Adisak Kraisorn, 22) Mongkol Tossaki.

Expected Line-ups Looking to this game there will according to most reports be last minute decisions on the fitness of a number of Brisbane players, including the likes of midfield duo Thomas Kristensen and Matt McKay, plus defender Luke DeVere all of which will give John Aloisi plenty of selection dramas for this game.

The good news is that Jack Hingert is likely to return tonight which should solidify the back four, though it’s more likely he fills in on the left side of the back four regardless of the availability of Matt McKay.

Assuming the worst case scenario of both McKay and Kristensen being unavailable, it’s likely that Saturday’s midfield duo of Joe Caletti and Jacob Pepper would be reunited, while the front third figures to also see some rotation.

Manuel Arana travelled to Perth but was an unnamed substitute and figures to start tonight, while substituted Tommy Oar, Brett Holman and Jamie Maclaren, who only played part of the game on Saturday also figure to play a role tonight.

Brisbane – Young, Ingham, Devere, North, Hingert, Pepper, Caletti, Arana, Holman, Oar, Maclaren.
Substitutes – Bilic, Crestani, O’Toole, Konstandopoulos, Brady, Borrello, D’Agostino.

As always with teams in the Champions League it’s very difficult to get a gauge on exactly who will play, so rather than guess I’ve just listed the Muanthong United team which won 1-0 against Sukhothai on Friday night.

In a blow to the Thai visitors, they will be missing influential midfielder Sarach Yooyen for the entirety of the group stage after he was ruled out with a broken ankle.

It is worth noting that one of the substitutes named for that game, Brazilian Cleiton Silva has subsequently been sold and wasn’t named in the Champions League squad in any event.

Muanthong United – Thamsatchanan, Notechaiya, Naoaki, Bunmathan, Do, Promrak, Songkrasin, Yooyen, Playnum, Dangda, Xisco.
Substitutes – Phadungchok, Lee, Silva, Tossakai, Kraisorn, Nawanno, Thinjom, Thongsong, dos Santos.

Group Recap
The other opening Matchday fixture in Group E will see Japanese side Kashima Antlers play host to Ulsan Hyundai in a game which will kick-off an hour before the Brisbane – Muanthong fixture.

 


Three more depart Young Roar squad

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(Twitter/ @andrejannese)

In recent weeks we’ve brought you news around several Young Roar players departing the setup, with Jayden Prasad and Danny Kim joining Hume City and Joseph Champness joining Newcastle Jets. There have been three more players depart ahead of the 2017 NPL Queensland campaign however.

The first of those is goalkeeper Andre Jannese, who has returned to Victoria and joined NPL 2 Victorian side Moreland Zebras. Jannese, who arrived ahead of the 2015-16 NYL season from the AIS, has fallen beneath Tomislav Bilic in the pecking order amongst the Brisbane goalkeeping ranks.

It signals a turnaround of fortunes for both Jannese and Bilic, with the former finding himself on the bench numerous times last season while Michael Theo was injured. This time around however it’s Bilic who has taken over the reserve goalkeeper spot as John Aloisi rotates his shot stoppers between League and Continental commitments.

Jannese has now as mentioned returned to Victoria in NPL 2, where he has made three appearances so far for his new club, who find themselves second on the table.

Joining Jannese on the way out of the Young Roar are two players who only joined the club towards the end of 2016, with defender Hayden McHenery and striker Joe Duckworth returning to their former club Western Pride.

McHenery, who joined the Young Roar as part of a mid-season reshuffle back in June, made seven appearances for the Roar in the 2016 NPL Queensland season at centre back, although he failed to make an appearance over the National Youth League.

Duckworth, who also joined Brisbane from Western Pride, made just the one appearance for the Young Roar in the round one 3-3 draw at home to Melbourne Victory. Duckworth started that game on the left hand side of a front three, however he was substituted at half time and was unsighted for the remainder of the campaign.

As mentioned the duo will return to their former club Western Pride to where they will be joined by another former Young Roar player, with striker Dylan Wenzel-Halls joining the Ipswich side after departing the Young Roar at the end of the last NPL season.

When you add in Jannese, McHenery and Duckworth, the list of players who have departed the Young Roar set-up since the end of the 2016 NPL Queensland is up to 10 players.

The full list of players who’ve departed the Young Roar in the last few months- Joseph Champness, Jesse Daley, Joe Duckworth, Henry Hore, Andre Jannese, Danny Kim, Hayden McHenery, Jayden Prasad, Harrison Sawyer, Dylan Wenzel-Halls.

There’s certainly something happening with the Young Roar squad and as mentioned previously it will be very interesting to see who lines up for the side in this weekends season opener away to Olympic FC.

Kick-off in Brisbane’s first NPL Queensland clash of 2017 is set for 7.00pm on Saturday night, although getting from Suncorp Stadium for the A-League clash to Goodwin Park by 7.00pm would be a stretch.