Round 27 sees the regular season come to an end with a trick trip to Melbourne to take on the Victory with the Premiership on the line.
The race for the Premiership reaches its conclusion this weekend four sides remaining in the hunt to lift the Plate. For Brisbane, a win this weekend would secure the clubs third Premiership but any slip ups would open the door for Adelaide United, Melbourne City or Western Sydney Wanderers. Going into the weekend Brisbane sit top of the table on 47 points, with Adelaide on 46, Western Sydney on 45 and Melbourne City on 44.
With a win needed to secure the plate, its worth noting Brisbane’s dismal record in Melbourne, with just five wins from 24 games in the Victorian capital. Brisbane’s record at AAMI Park is especially bad reading with just two wins from 13 games at the venue against both Victory and City combined.
Their last win in Melbourne however was at AAMI Park against the Victory, with a 3-0 win in January 2014 coming as one of the standout results in Brisbane’s last Premiership winning season.
Last week Brisbane had to fight hard to overcome a stubborn Newcastle side after falling a goal behind due to a penalty conceded by Jade North for handball. Goals from Henrique –also from the penalty spot- and a winner from Thomas Broich sent Brisbane top of the table.
While Brisbane have been winning in recent weeks, they’ve had to come from behind frequently, a recipe which doesn’t always work and giving up leads from winning positions is something that John Aloisi will need to address when the finals start.
Meanwhile Melbourne are locked into an away elimination final next week, but appear to be heading for the finals with momentum on the back of wins over Western Sydney and Wellington. Victory are also fighting on duel fronts with the Champions League taking priority in recent times, and with six points from 4 games they stand in good shape to make it to the knockout rounds.
The two meetings between these sides this season were completely contrasting, with convincing wins at home for both sides.
In round 15 Brisbane started very sluggishly and the home side scored twice in the opening 11 minutes before running away with a 4-0 win. Much of that early damage was self inflicted by the Roar, but it was one of Melbourne’s better performances this season.
In the second match just a month ago, Brisbane put on their best performance of the season in a 5-0 revenge win at home thanks to a Jamie Maclaren hat-trick. The game was in the midst of Melbourne’s busy Asian Champions League schedule, and a weary Victory were little match for Brisbane on the night.
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, 6) Leigh Broxham, 7) Gui Finkler, 9) Kosta Barbarouses, 10) Archie Thompson, 11) Connor Pain, 13) Oliver Bozanic, 14) Fahid Ben Khalfallah, 15) Giancarlo Gallifuoco, 17) Mathieu Delpierre, 19) George Howard, 20) Lawrence Thomas, 21) Carl Valeri, 22) Jesse Makarounas, 23) Jai Ingham, 24) Thomas Deng.
*two to be omitted.
Brisbane XI- Young, Hingert, North, Donachie, Brown, Petratos, Corona, McKay, Borrello, Broich, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Theo, Bowles, Lustica, Oar, Henrique.
Omitted- Stefanutto, Hervas.
After last weeks come from behind win over Newcastle, it’s unlikely that John Aloisi will make any changes to the side given there’s so much to play for. At this stage of the season it’s time to stick with those in the side and trust them to deliver.
Melbourne XI- Thomas, Geria, Broxham, Delpierre, Galloway, Valeri, Bozanic, Finkler, Barbarouses, Ben Khalfallah, Howard.
Substitutes- Vukovic, Deng, Makarounas, Ingham, Thompson.
Omitted- Gallifuoco, Pain.
There’s a bit of guess work in Melbourne’s side given they have little to play for and they had a big Asian Champions League clash midweek in South Korea. Besart Berisha is definitely out due to his red card in Wellington last week, but apart from that it’s unclear who will take the park for Melbourne tomorrow. The above is simply just a best available side of those selected.
Brisbane- Jamie Maclaren (18)
Melbourne- Besart Berisha (17)
All-Time Record against Melbourne Victory
Round 23 sees Brisbane play the second in a tough run of four games through the month of March with a home clash against Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
The two enter the clash on the back of much needed wins with Brisbane getting a first win in a month after a later comeback against Western Sydney last week, while the Victory won in the league for the first time since January on the Central Coast.
Despite having to claw the result back in the final 10 minutes last week, Brisbane started extremely quickly with a high pressure, up tempo style of game which saw them gain the upper hand over the Wanderers.
Brisbane were in control of the game, but a couple of defensive blunders from Shane Stefanutto and Michael Theo let the visitors back into the game, forcing the Roar to dig deep. Eliminating those types of mistakes will be crucial for the Roar to finish in the top two and progress through the finals.
Melbourne meanwhile arrive in the midst of a hectic travel schedule due to their participation in the Champions League, and while they’ve been afforded the rare luxury of a six day break between games this week, it’s set to ramp up again this week with 3 games in 8 days.
In the league, Victory have been solid if unspectacular of late, with the win over the Mariners last Sunday their first since beating Sydney on Australia Day. Despite that Victory are still destined to be in the finals and loom as a dangerous side in the bottom half of the draw.
When these two sides met for the first time this season in round 15, Victory pounced on a sloppy Roar start to score twice in the opening 10 minutes, essentially wrapping up the game against a sloppy and shocked Roar side.
Since that 4-0 result, both sides have struggled in terms of results, however it’s the Victory who’ve looked the better side since then for the most part. Brisbane, who went to Melbourne top of the league at the time, looked to be spooked by the fast starting Victory and went on a run which saw them win just twice in 7 rounds since then, conceding 20 goals in that time before last weeks win over the Wanderers.
Rebounding from that and getting a result tomorrow will go a long way to finishing in the top two, with Brisbane entering the weekend equal on points with the Wanderers and just a point behind Adelaide. V
ictory meanwhile sit 5th, 5 points behind the Roar and a win could put them position for a late run at the top two. A loss however could see 7th placed Sydney draw level with them, so Victory could yet go either way this year.
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, 16) Devante Clut, 17) Matt McKay, 18) Javier Hervas, 19) Jack Hingert, 20) Shannon Brady, 21) Jamie Young, 22) Thomas Broich, 23) Dimitri Petratos, 28) Brandon Borrello.
*two to be omitted.
Melbourne Victory XI 1) Danny Vukovic, 2) Jason Geria, 3) Scott Galloway, 5) Daniel Georgievski, 6) Leigh Broxham, 7, Gui Finkler, 8) Besart Berisha, 10) Archie Thompson, 11) Connor Pain, 13) Oliver Bozanic, 14) Fahid Ben Khalfallah, 15) Giancarlo Gallifuoco, 16) Rashid Mahazi, 17) Mathieu Delpierre, 20) Lawrence Thomas, 22) Jesse Makarounas, 23) Jai Ingham, 24) Thomas Deng.
*two to be omitted.
Brisbane Starting XI– Theo, Hingert, North, Bowles, Stefanutto, Petratos, Corona, McKay, Borrello, Broich, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Young, Brown, Lustica, Hervas, Henrique.
Omitted- Clut, Brady.
John Aloisi reverted back to his usual starting line-up last week after the failed experiment in Adelaide, with Broich and Petratos inserted into the starting side, with the same XI expected for the most part this time around.
Despite the win last week, both Theo and Stefanutto made another couple of mistakes that let the Wanderers back into the game, however despite the calls for change it’s likely that the duo will get another chance against the Victory.
Melbourne XI- Vukovic, Geria, Delpierre, Broxham, Galloway, Bozanic, Mahazi, Finkler, Ben Khalfallah, Ingham, Berisha.
Substitutes- Thomas, Gallifuoco, Georgievski, Pain, Thompson.
Omitted- Deng, Makarounas.
With Victory having a big ACL clash coming up next week, it’s tough to know what team Kevin Muscat will opt for in this clash. They’re still fighting on two fronts however, with last weeks win over Central Coast keeping them in with an outside shot of pushing for a top 4 finish.
Brisbane- Jamie Maclaren (14)
Melbourne- Besart Berisha (15)
All-Time Record against Melbourne Victory
In the lead-up to the 10th of the A-League we’ll be doing an extensive preview of the league club by club- continuing today with Melbourne Victory.
Last Season: 4th (Lost Semi-final to Brisbane Roar)
Melbourne’s plans for the A-League last year were thrown into disarray after just three games when their manager Ange Postecoglou was poached by the FFA to head up the rebuild of the national team. From then on former captain Kevin Muscat took the reins and despite some ups and downs lead the side to a 4th place finish in the league and a finals win over Sydney before a loss in the semis to the Roar. They also beat Muanthong United in their ACL qualifier before putting up a solid showing in the group stage ultimately finishing 3rd on goal difference.
1) Nathan Coe, 2) Jason Geria, 4) Nick Ansell, 5) Mark Milligan, 6) Leigh Broxham, 7) Guiherne Finkler, 8) Besart Berisha, 9) Kosta Barbarouses, 10) Archie Thompson, 11) Connor Pain, 13) Andrew Nabbout, 14) Fahid Ben Khalfallah, 15) Daniel Georgievski, 16) Rashid Mahazi, 17) Mathieu Delpierre, 18) Dylan Murnane, 20) Lawrence Thomas, 21) Carl Valeri, 22) Jesse Makarounas, 23) Adrian Leijer, 24) Scott Galloway, 26) Jordan Brown.
Besart Berisha (Brisbane Roar), Carl Valeri (Ternana- Italy), Mathieu Delpierre (FC Utrecht- Netherlands), Daniel Georgievski (Steaua Bucuresti- Romania), Fahid Ben Khalfallah (Troyes- France).
Pablo Contreras (Retired), James Jeggo (Adelaide United), Tom Rogic (Celtic- Scotland (loan return)), James Troisi (Atalanta- Italy (loan return)), Adama Traore (Vitoria de Guimaraes- Portugal), Francesco Stella (released).
Victory’s signings list is arguably the best in the league alongside their cross-town rivals, with Besart Berisha leaving Brisbane taking the headlines. The additions however of Valeri, Georgievski, Ben Khalfallah and Delpierre are all solid additions. Some are questioning how they can afford all these big money signings, and the answer lies in the fact that Milligan moves out of the salary cap as a marquee, as is Berisha, and they have 10 youngster on their first professional contract earning close to the minimum. Of those departing, Contreras was more miss than hit and Rogic offered little. They will however miss Troisi and especially Traore who has departed for European football.
One of the main criticism’s of the Victory last season was the weakness in the defensive third, however Delpierre from all reports has been extremely impressive in the pre-season. Milligan and Valeri are similar players in the sense that they’re not overly creative but they should become a solid partnership. They’ve also now got the leagues best marksman spearheading the attack, and it will be up to the likes of Barbarouses, Pain and Finkler to provide the chances that Bes became used to here in Brisbane.
Victory’s pre-season has been solid and their win in the last 16 in the FFA Cup against Tuggeranong was rather impressive. The same can be said of their record in the pre-season where they’ve gone undefeated against all opposition, including two wins and a draw against A-League sides. Infact the only game they haven’t won was over the weekend against Sydney.
Bentleigh Greens 0-3 Melbourne Victory
Hume City 1-4 Melbourne Victory
Port Melbourne 0-5 Melbourne Victory
Richmond 0-3 Melbourne Victory
Bayswater City 0-2 Melbourne Victory (FFA Cup)
Ballarat Red Devils 0-10 Melbourne Victory
Melbourne Victory 3-0 Perth Glory
Adelaide United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Tuggeranong 0-6 Melbourne Victory (FFA Cup)
Melbourne Victory 1-1 Sydney FC
All-time record against Melbourne Victory:
Victory’s pre-season has been impressive and I think everyone who saw their cup tie with Tuggeranong was impressed with how they were progressing, and they’ve only added to the squad since then. Victory have been strong contenders playing in the big games over the past 2 seasons, and I think most would be surprised if they aren’t there again this year.
It may be the close season however there has been plenty of news going around the league since Brisbane defeated the Wanderers in May to conclude season 9 of the competition. Here’s a wrap up of the completed moves to date.
17 players signed: 5 foreign, 0 marquee.
In: James Jeggo (Melbourne Victory), Dylan McGowan (Hearts- Scotland)
Out: Daniel Bowles (released), Jake Barker-Daish (released), Jon McKain (released), Michael Zullo (FC Utrecht- loan return).
Adelaide have been one of the quieter teams this off-season to date with just the two signings to date, although both McGowan and Jeggo figure to be prominent when the season kicks off in October. In terms of departures, Jon McKain is the biggest loss of the off-season to date for the Reds, with the two parties failing to come to terms on a contract extension. Youngsters Jacob Melling, Jake Barker- Daish and Daniel Bowles have all been released, with the latter linked in the media with Brisbane earlier in the close season. In addition the Reds are reportedly shopping Jeronimo Neumann around in order to free up a visa spot with an eye to improving the side, and also the impending reduction of foreigners in 2015 from 5 to 4.
Looking to strengthen: Defence.
For all their attacking firepower, Adelaide still appears to be short on defensive options as things stand. At least one central defender figures to be on the agenda for Gombau, and possibly a left back with just the ageing Cassio – who missed last season injured- as an option as things stand.
19 players signed: 4 foreign, 2 marquee.
In: Devante Clut (youth promotion)
Out: Matt Acton (Yangon United- Burma), Diogo Ferreira (Perth Glory), Besart Berisha (Melbourne Victory)
The champions have been relatively inactive thus far in the transfer market, with just Devante Clut added to the first team squad- and that was announced months ago. Berisha is obviously the biggest loss, with the Albanian set to become Melbourne Victory’s marquee man and finding a replacement has been the priority. Diogo Ferreira has opted to go West in search of a longer term contract with the rebuilding Perth, while Matt Acton was surprisingly let go in the back-up keepers role.
Looking to strengthen: Upfront.
The biggest move Brisbane will make this off-season is upfront, and Mike Mulvey is returning to Germany in the search for the clubs next marksman. 1860 striker Benjamin Lauth and Freiburg’s Mike Hanke both reported targets of Mulvey. They also need a back-up keeper and to that end we’ve seen strong rumours that English based Jamie Young would be the replacement, however that is yet to be confirmed by the club. In addition to a new striker and a backup keeper, they will also be looking for depth given their rigorous upcoming season with added games in the ACL and with that in mind Daniel Bowles has been linked to the club as defensive depth.
18 players signed: 2 foreign, 0 marquee
In: Anthony Kalik (Australian Institute of Sport)
Out: Justin Pasfield (Tampines- Singapore), Adam Kwasnik (retired), Bernie Ibini- Isei (Shanghai Dongya- loan return), Mile Sterjovski (retired), Marcos Flores (Newcastle).
The Mariners are another team who’ve yet to make many moves in the off-season suggesting that either Phil Moss is happy with his current group, or is unable to secure his targets as yet. With 18 players signed and still a few key players yet to have their futures officially confirmed –Matt Simon and Matt Duke- it will be interesting to see which direction the Mariners go in as we approach the new season. Youngster Anthony Kalik is well regarded at the AIS and could be the next Mustafa Amini or Tom Rogic. Not a lot has happened in Gosford since the season ended.
Looking to strengthen: Upfront.
With just real recognised strikers officially signed on –there’s a good chance at least 1 of Duke and Simon are signed up-, they will need some more firepower, and perhaps a different type of player than they currently have before the season starts. Perhaps this is where their 3 visa spots could come into play.
17 players signed: 2 foreign, 0 marquee, 1 guest.
In: Aaron Mooy (Western Sydney), Jacob Melling (Adelaide), James Brown, Connor Chapman (both Newcastle), David Villa (New York City- USA (10 game guest stint))
Out: Patrick Gerhardt, Sam Mitchinson, David Vrankovic, Jeremy Walker, Orlando Engelaar (all released), Aziz Behich (Bursaspor- loan return), Harry Kewell (retired)
It’s all change for the team formerly known as the Heart with a new name and colours linking the club with their new owners other clubs. Transfer wise they’ve been busy as well with some strong signings including youngster Aaron Mooy and Connor Chapman. They’ve also made the signing of the season with Spanish World Cup star David Villa set to play the first part of the season for City before starting his new life in New York from 2015. They’ve not lost too many players of note, however Aziz Behich’s loan spell has come to an end and Harry Kewell has retired.
Looking to strengthen: Front third.
City look solid enough at the back –although a left back is needed-, in the front third however they’ll be looking to add some extra quality. Someone to create the chances from midfield is needed, with Marco Bresciano linked to the club as a marquee player. They’ll also need someone to fill the void when Villa’s guest stint comes to an end.
19 signed: 3 foreign, 1 marquee.
In: Besart Berisha (Brisbane), Carl Valeri (Ternana- Italy)
Out: Tom Rogic (Celtic- loan return), James Troisi (Atalanta – loan return) Adama Traore (released), Pablo Contreras (retired)
Victory haven’t stood still either in light of what their cross-town rivals have done, adding the league’s best striker to an already impressive attacking group. Carl Valeri also figures to be a good addition to the midfield third, especially as Mark Milligan is reportedly attracting the interest of Middle-Eastern and European teams once again. Elsewhere, on-loan duo Tom Rogic and James Troisi will return to their parent clubs next season, while Adama Traore has decided to leave Australia after 5 years and pursue opportunities in Europe.
Looking to strengthen: Defence.
The backline has been the problem for the Victory in recent times, with a lack of experience perhaps one of the reasons the side fell at the semi-final hurdle in the past two seasons. With Adama Traore and Pablo Contreras both departing, Muscat will surely be looking to acquire a defender of note to shore things up.
21 players signed: 2 foreign, 0 marquee.
In: Adrian Madaschi (Jeju United- Korea), Joshua Barresi (Western Sydney), Marcos Flores (Central Coast)
Out: Joey Gibbs, Nick Ward, Josh Mitchell, Emilie Heskey (all released), Ruben Zadkovich (Perth), Connor Chapman and James Brown (Melbourne City), Michael Bridges (retired).
New Jets boss Phil Stubbins has wasted little time stamping his impression on the Newcastle squad with one of his first moves sanctioning the release of club captain Ruben Zadkovich to join Perth. Adding experience seems to have been one of the goals this season with Adrian Madaschi and Marcos Flores joining to provide experience to what is a young squad. Some of those youngsters, most notably Connor Chapman at Melbourne City, have sought an opportunity elsewhere while marquee man Emilie Heskey wont be back for a third season. There are also doubts over the futures of Mark Birighitti and Adam Taggart, with Birighitti strongly linked with Bayer Leverkusen, while top scorer Taggart may also attract offers if he impresses in the World Cup.
Looking to strengthen: Midfield.
Newcastle have done a good job this off-season of filling gaps in their side with the signings of Madaschi and Flores along with the re-signings of David Carney and Joel Griffiths. The only area that may require strengthening is the middle of the park where currently relying on Zenon Caravella to carry the load along with a bunch of youngsters including the promising Joshua Brillante.
21 signed: 3 foreign, 0 marquee.
In: Diogo Ferreira (Brisbane), Dino Djulbic (Al Wahda- UAE), Youssouf Hersi (Western Sydney), Andy Keogh (Milwall), Ruben Zadkovich (Newcastle).
Out: Ryan Edwards (Reading- loan return), Darvydas Sernas (Gaziantepspor- Turkey), Jacob Burns (retired), Travis Dodd (released), Adrian Zahra (released), Steven McGarry (released), Shane Smeltz (Sydney).
Perth have wasted little time in turning over their roster after a somewhat surprising decision to retain coach Kenny Lowe despite poor results at the back end of last season. The squad looks to be much stronger with Djulbic, Hersi and Keogh strengthening the spine of the side. The combative Jacob Burns has been replaced by the equally so Ruben Zadkovich, while veterans Travis Dodd and Steven McGarry have departed the club.
Looking to strengthen: Depth.
Perth figures to have already made the big moves they intended to make and will be looking to add to the squad with some depth in the lead-up to the new season. It’s likely that given the mandate of promoting kids from the Western Australian System, and further signings will likely come from that direction.
18 players signed: 2 foreign, 0 marquee.
In: Shane Smeltz (Perth), Bernie Ibini (Shanghai Dongya- loan)
Out: Brett Emerton (Retired), Terry McFlynn (Retired), Alessandro Del Piero (released), Richard Garcia (Minnesota United- USA), Marc Warren (APIA Leichardt- NSWPL), Blake Powell (APIA Leichardt- NSWPL), Mitchell Mallia, Matt Thompson, Josh MacDonald, Ranko Despotovic, Joel Chianese (all released).
Another team under a new manager with Sydney dispensing of Frank Farina’s services and offering a lifeline to Graham Arnold after his unsuccessful stint in Japan ended after just three months. He’s so far brought in just the two local players in Ibini and Smeltz, with the remainder of the squad likely to comprise of youngster promoted from their NYL winning team, foreign players and a pair of new marquee players. One of which if you believe the rumours could be Alex Brosque. Going the other way were host of players, including marquee man Alessandro Del Piero, Richard Garcia and Ranko Despotovic who netted a combined 22 goals for the Sky Blues last campaign.
Looking to strengthen: Up front.
With Sasa Ognenovski filling the void in the heart of the defence, the Sky Blues will be looking to flex their financial muscle to bring in a pair of attacking marquee players before the start of the new season. They’ll also however need to fill the left back slot which has been a problem position for the Sydneysiders in recent times.
19 players signed: 3 foreign, 0 marquee.
In: Alejandro Gorrin (Sunderland- England), Michael McGlinchey (Central Coast via Vegalta Sendai- Japan).
Out: Luke Adams, Josh Brindell-South, Paul Ifill, Leo Bertos, Stein Huysegems (all released).
After a solid first season Ernie Merrick is looking to make his mark on the Phoenix roster and he acted quickly to sign Sunderland’s u/21 squad captain Alejandro Gorrin to bolster his midfield and reports today suggest he’s also added All Whites creative spark Michael McGlinchey to the mix. If so those additions should go a long way to replacing Carlos Hernandez, who asked for a release from the final year of his deal and joins top scorer Stein Huysegems, Paul Ifill and Leo Bertos in leaving the Nix.
Looking to strengthen: Defence.
Wellington were reasonable going forward last year and have some impressive youngsters, and while they will need to replace Huysegems goals, their defence also needs work. With first choice duo Ben Sigmund and Andrew Durante getting old and little cover for them, or the full-back roles Merrick will likely be looking to find some solutions in the coming months.
17 players signed: 2 foreign, 0 marquee.
In: Dean Bouzanis (Carlisle- England)
Out: Jerrad Tyson, Jerome Polenz, Adam D’Apuzzo, Michael Beauchamp, Tahj Minnieccon (All released), Aaron Mooy (Melbourne City), Joshua Barresi (Newcastle), Youssouf Hersi (Perth), Shinji Ono (Consadole Sapporo- Japan), Dean Heffernan (Retired).
The now independently owned Wanderers will be looking to bounce back from another Grand Final loss and also prepare for the final stages of the Champions League. With that in mind Tony Popovic has been typically ruthless in turning his squad over with a host of regulars departing the club in the close season. Since the Grand Final loss to Brisbane they’ve lost six first team regulars including marquee Shinji Ono making next season a rebuilding year of sorts for the Wanderers. So far that rebuilding consists of Dean Bouzanis who could take the #1 jersey away from Ante Covic this year, along with Antony Golec who was signed in January but ineligible for the A-League.
Looking to strengthen: Out wide/ creativity.
Both in attack and defence, the Wanderers wide areas figure to be overhauled in the coming months with their dangerous right hand side combination moving on along with D’Apuzzo on the left. They’ll also be in the market for some creativity after the losses of Ono and Mooy.
The perfect end to the perfect year? 2011 was a special year for us Roar fans, and if the display on Dec 31, 2011 is anything to go by, then 2012 could also bring with it some success as well. Brisbane may have changed their tactical setup, but Postecoglou stuck to his guns and played the same brand of short passing and possession football we’ve become accustomed to, and this time the result was there as well.
Brisbane: Murdocca for Nichols (55’), Nakajima- Farran for Brattan (69’), Hingert for Stefanutto (80’)
Melbourne Victory: Brebner for Ferreira (64’), Allsopp for Hernandez (64’) Cernak for Celeski (76’)
As im sure most people realised Ange changed the starting formation from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2 as Marco called it, but in reality it was more of a 3-6- 1 or 3-4-3, but what did the change mean? Having Jurman and Adnan flanking Smith at the back assisted with playing out from the back and also provided extra cover at the back to snuff out the counter attacking opportunities Victory took advantage of last time. In the wider areas Franjic and Stefanutto were somewhat relieved of their defensive duties and given more license to play almost as wingers, and I thought they both did a good job at it. Stefanutto tired late on with having to run up and down but Franjic was fantastic in that role and capped it off with a very tidy goal.
Brattan in the middle of the midfield next to Paartalu meant more control of the ball in possession and provided more options in playing out from the back. The good thing about the play of them in midfield is that they both just didn’t sit deep and play passes, one of them would make an effort to get forward and support the attack. Nichols and Visconte played more or less the same roles they’ve been playing lately although they had more space to work with and work in with the wingers of the former system no longer there. Berisha’s role was more or less exactly the same as in the 4-3-3 system.
Early Victory goal:
Im sure everyone was thinking ‘oh here we go again’ when Harry Kewell gave Melbourne an early lead, his 1st goal in the competition from general play. The goal itself was well taken by Harry who took advantage of the space in the wide areas before his shot nestled in the bottom corner just inside the far post.
Despite the early goal, there were no signs that Brisbane were going to continue their profligacy in the final third with Berisha hitting the bar and Stefanutto blazing over from 6 yards within 2minutes of the goal. But Brisbane also dominated possession of the ball and created the line share of chances- eg. Nichols shot- and the change to two holding/defensive/controlling midfielders defiantly helped with this. Im not certain the change in formation caused this but that sharpness which had previously been missing in the final third was back last night, there was more movement off the ball, more passing options created and the final pass found its mark more often.
Right on the stroke of half time Brisbane got reward for their territorial and possession dominance when a ball in from the right side made its way all the way out to Shane Stefanutto on the left hand side. Stefanutto proceeded to clip a delightful cross back to the penalty spot where the onrushing Mitch Nichols met the ball with a diving header sending the ball back in the direction it came and into the net.
Bright second half opening:
Five minutes into the second half Brisbane took the lead when an attack down the left hand side ended with Besart Berisha playing the onrushing Rocky Visconte in behind the defence before slotting the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Great play, Beautiful finish. A little fact- that was Rocky’s 1st goal at Suncorp Stadium and only his 2nd goal for Brisbane Roar.
Franjic provides some insurance:
If a 2-1 score line was worrying some, they needn’t bothered because Brisbane put the game out of reach as a contest just 3minutes later when another flowing move, this time down the right, which resulted in Ivan Franjic being played in to score. Franjic slotted the ball home expertly –not bad for a defender- and jumped the fence to celebrate with the fans. As Brenton Speed said ‘this is the Brisbane Roar we’ve come to love’.
Late Melbourne pressure:
Despite the fact that for large periods of the game Victory were basically out of the content and creating virtually nothing, they did manage to create a few opportunities late on, thru their duo of marquee players- Harry Kewell and Archie Thompson. Kewell completely wasted his- one of which missed low and to the near post, the other was high and wide on the far post, guess that’s why they’re paying him 1mil+ a season 😉 . Thompson for his part at least forced a save out of Theoklitos, but also spurned a chance at the near post.
Brisbane Roar 3 (Mitch NICHOLS 44’, Rocky VISCONTE 50’, Ivan FRANJIC 53’)
Melbourne Victory 1(Harry KEWELL 3’)
Saturday, 31 December 2011
Brisbane Referee: Jarred Gillett
Crowd: 14, 852
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH (c), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO (19. Jack HINGERT 80’), 4. Matt JURMAN, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Besart BERISHA, 14. Rocky VISCONTE, 16. Mohamed ADNAN, 17. Mitch NICHOLS (8. Massimo MURDOCCA 55’), 18. Luke BRATTAN (11. Issey NAKAJIMA-FARRAN 69’)
Substitutes not used: 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk)
Yellow cards: Mohamed ADNAN 33’
Red cards: Nil
Melbourne Victory: 2. Matthew FOSCHINI, 3. FABIO, 4. Petar FRANJIC, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 10. Archie THOMPSON (c), 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diego FERREIRA (8. Grant BREBNER 64’), 14. Billy CELESKI (19. Isaka CERNAK 76’), 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ (18. Daniel ALLSOPP 64’), 21. Ante COVIC (gk), 22. Harry KEWELL
Substitutes not used: 20. Lawrence THOMAS (gk)
Yellow cards: Rodrigo VARGAS 20’, Billy CELESKI 44’, Daniel ALLSOPP 78’
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane: Theoklitos 6, Jurman, Smith 7, Adnan 8, Franjic 9, Stefanutto, 7 Paartalu 7, Brattan 8, Nichols 8, Visconte 7, Berisha 7, Hingert, Murdocca 6, Nakajima-Farran.
Melbourne Victory: Covic 6, Foschini 6, Vargas 6, Franjic 6, Fabio 6, Broxham, Ferreira 6, Celeski 6, Hernandez 6, Kewell 7, Thompson 6, Brebner 6, Cernak 6, Allsopp 6.
“It was great to win, for sure, and you feel good about that and it’s good to see some smiles on peoples’ faces,” Postecoglou said.
“It’s been a tough, little grind this one but it’s just a good way to end the year because it’s been a great year for us.
“I’m really proud of the players, they played good football, scored some goals and that’s the kind of team we want to be.”
“We adjusted things a little bit, but the key thing was we didn’t change the way we played,” he said.
“We still knocked it around, we kept position and we were a lot more threatening tonight than we have been over the last few weeks. The boys are determined to get it right.
“Ivan was immense – he really got in behind them. We really looked a more threatening team and that was a big factor.
“He was really good. We changed his role a little bit and told him to take the game to the opposition.”
Brisbane Roar v Melbourne Victory Saturday, 31 December 2011 Venue: Suncorp Stadium Local kick-off: 7:30pm
Referees: Jarred Gillett / Dennis Silk / Brad Hobson / Adam Kersey
Brisbane Roar Squad: 1. Michael Theoklitos (GK), 2. Matt Smith, 3. Shane Stefanutto (Capt.), 4. Matt Jurman , 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paaratlu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 9. Kofi Danning, 10. Henrique, 11. Issey Nakajima-Farran, 14. Matt Mundy, 16. Mohamed Adnan, 17. Mitch Nichols, 19. Jack Hingert, 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 24. Nick Fitzgerald. *two to be omitted*
In: 14. Matt Mundy (promoted), 24. Nick Fitzgerald (promoted)
Unavailable: 21. James Meyer (adductor injury – 2 weeks), 22. Thomas Broich (heel injury – 2 weeks), Henrique (knee injury – 2 weeks)
Melbourne Victory squad: 2. Matthew Foschini, 3. Fabio, 4. Petar Franjic, 6. Leigh Broxham, 7. Matthew Kemp, 8. Grant Brebner, 9. Jean Carlos Solorzano, 10. Archie Thompson, 11. Marco Rojas, 12. Rodrigo Vargas, 13. Diogo Ferreira, 14. Billy Celeski, 15. Tom Pondeljak, 16.Carlos Hernandez, 17, Jimmy Jeggo, 18. Danny Allsopp, 19. Isaka Cernak , 20. Lawrence Thomas (GK), 21. Ante Covic (GK), 22. Harry Kewell, 23. Adrian Leijer (c) *six to be omitted*
In: 12. Rodrigo Vargas (promoted), 14. Billy Celeski (returns from suspension)
Unavailable: 1.Tando Velaphi (stress fracture)
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 19): Brisbane Roar wins 5, Melbourne Victory wins 10 (4 draws)
Brisbane: Redmayne, Jurman, Hingert, Fitzgerald.
Omitted: Mundy, Visconte.
Melbourne: Thomas, Vargas, Brebner, Allsopp.
Omitted: Ferreira, Rojas, Solórzano.
With Brisbane’s current injury crisis there aren’t really a lot of options available for Postecoglou, so he’s by and large going to have stick with the same core of players. If Issey and Nichols are ruled out then Fitzgerald and Luke Brattan will surely come in. But imo anyway I really hope that Fitzgerald is apart of the squad tomorrow because he’s not only earned it in preseason but also in the youth league. It’s probably going to come down to either him or Visconte, but if it were me I would be taking one of Jurman or Hingert off the bench. I think that Hingert would make more sense because he can add something in an offensive sense and he’s been somewhat impressive in recent matches.
For Melbourne they are so up and down you never know what you’re going to get, and their selections have reflected that. At the back there’s always a chance Vargas comes in for Franjic but I think Mehmet will probably stick with him. In midfield is where it’s tough to predict what they’ll do. There’s every chance that im completely wrong on this, but I think Celeski will come straight into the starting line-up. I also wouldn’t rule out Brebner starting ahead of Celeski in a more defensive move. There’s also a chance I guess that Rojas and Ferreira could also be apart of the squad, infact upon reflection I think Ferreira is more likely to be in the squad than Brebner, but either way. Upfront the starting choice is easy, and on the bench it appears as thou Allsopp is preferred to JCS, even thou imo at least JCS is by far the better player.
Melbourne Victory: DLDWDDDWLDWL
Season record vs. Melbourne Victory:
Saturday November 5- Melbourne Victory (Thompson 10’, 21’) 2-2 Brisbane Roar FC (Henrique 6’, Broich 27’)
Brisbane: Besart Berisha (9)
Melbourne Victory: Archie Thompson (6)
Brisbane: Thomas Broich (5)
Melbourne Victory: Archie Thompson (4)
All-time record against Melbourne Victory:
Total: Played 19: Won 5, Drawn 4, Lost 10. Goals for 21, Goals against 31.
At Suncorp Stadium:
Total: Played 8: Won 2, Drawn 1, Lost 5. Goals for 5, Goals against 9.
Keys to the game:
Brisbane absolutely must find their shooting boots, and quick. In the past 5 games they’ve had barely ¼ of the shots they had previously, blame this on Broich not playing if you wish but it’s not good enough. More penetration and movement are needed in the attacking third, two ingredients that have been largely lacking recently. They also need to get the ball into Berisha in positions where he can score. Perhaps coming up against a Victory side that leaks goals is going to be a big bonus for the Roar.
The midfield likewise needs to lift their output, as imo at least the two men in front of Paartalu have not been as dynamic moving forward in recent weeks, and have began to just play low risk passes square instead of the usual more attacking, riskier passes. Paartalu as well hasn’t been the same with his passing game of late. Defensively I think they are going fine, it’s just individual mistakes further up the park that are leaving them exposed to counter attacks. Infact the Smith- Adnan partnership has really flourished in recent weeks.
There really isn’t a lot that Brisbane can take out of their 1st clash vs. Victory this season in an attacking sense given they played with 9 men for 55 mins and parked the bus 2nd half. Defensively however they need to be aware of the threat in behind that Archie Thompson and Harry Kewell possess. The duo stung Brisbane twice in rnd 5 and they could have done it a 3rd time in the 2nd half as well.
For Victory they really need to tighten things up at the back because they’ve been leaking goals far too often this season, I guess for them it’s a good time to face Brisbane. But in attack it’s a different storey given the recent purple patch of form for Archie Thompson and Carlos Hernandez, both of whom figure to be central protagonists for Victory tomorrow night. The Kewell form issue is also one that Melbourne needs to solve because they can’t have a marquee player like that going thru the season without scoring goals. It should be a cracking game, and a great way to send 2011 out with a bang, a year Brisbane fans won’t want to forget.
* It’s actually vice-captain Shane Stefanutto this week.
“It’s lovely to be playing them on New Year’s Eve, I think it’s a blockbuster game,” he said.
“As a player, I’m really looking forward to it and looking forward to challenging myself against top-quality players.
“On paper, everyone says they’re the best team in the league and looking at it, they’ve got class all over the field.
“I think we as the Brisbane Roar are a good team as well, so I think it’s nice to be able to challenge ourselves against a team like this and on and on an occasion like this, I can’t wait.”
“You can’t just concentrate on one player, like Harry [Kewell],” he said.
“If you do that, Archie will have field day and also, Carlos Hernandez is starting to hit form so I really don’t want to concentrate on Harry because they’ve got some weapons in that team.”
Coming off a victory against Adelaide on the Sunshine Coast the Roar women head south to take on Melbourne Victory in Geelong tommrow afternoon a match you can once again see on the ABC. Brisbane will need to win out from here if they are to win the premiership or get into the top two so three points will be required once again.
You can read a preview from the FFA page here:
Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar
Saturday 17 December 2011
Simonds Stadium, Geelong
Local kick-off: 3pm
Live: ABC TV (3.00 pm Brisbane time)
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Brianna DAVEY (gk), 2. Rebekah STOTT, 3. Maika RUYTER-HOOLEY, 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 5. Danielle JOHNSON, 6. Rita MANKOWSKA, 7. Stephanie CATLEY, 8. Ashley BROWN, 9. Georgie KOUTROUVELIS, 10. Jodie TAYLOR (c), 11. Caitlin FRIEND, 12. Jackie VOGT, 13. Katrina GORRY 14. Enza BARILLA, 15. Amy JACKSON, 16. Louisa BISBY, 17. Gulcan KOCA, 18. Stephanie TANTI, 19. Laura SPIRANOVIC, 20. Cassandra DIMOVSKI (gk)
* five to be omitted
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Casey DUMONT (gk), 2. Laura ALLEWAY, 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE (c), 5. Brooke SPENCE, 6. Joanne BURGESS, 7. Kim CARROLL, 9. Catherine CANNULI, 10. Lana HARCH, 11. Aivi LUIK, 13. Tameka BUTT, 14. Vedrana POPOVIC, 15. Sasha MCDONNELL, 16. Michaela HATZIRODOS, 17. Emily GIELNIK, 18. Olga CEBRIAN GARCIA, 19.Ellen BEAUMONT, 20. Hoshimi KISHI (gk), 21. Rebecca PRICE
* three to be omitted
Unavailable: Elise Kellond-Knight (knee – season), Ashley Spina (knee – season)
Best of luck to the Roar women- and if you’re not heading to the stadium early to catch the youth team in action, get in front of the couch and watch the women.