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.

 

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