The improving Brisbane meet a stuttering Sydney FC in a season-defining clash at Suncorp Stadium to bring an end to an interesting 2014 for both clubs. While the Sky Blues’ season has been in free-fall over the last month, Roar has improved under new boss Frans Thijssen and can close the gap on fifth-placed Sydney with a win in this one. Get set for see-sawing battle between two desperate sides on Tuesday night.
Tuesday, 30 December 2014
Suncorp Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 7pm (Local) (8pm AEDST)
Brisbane Roar 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 4.Adam SAROTA, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Mensur KURTISHI, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 10.HENRIQUE, 12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 15.James DONACHIE, 16.Devante CLUT, 18.Luke BRATTAN, 20.Kofi DANNING, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 30.Matt ACTON (gk), 34.Shannon BRADY
***two to be omitted***
Ins 18.Luke BRATTAN (promoted), 20, Kofi DANNING (promoted), 34.Shannon BRADY (promoted)
Outs 17.Matt McKAY (International duty – 2 matches)
Unavailable 1.Michael THEO (wrist – 4 weeks), 6.George LAMBADARIDIS (knee – indefinite), 19.Jack HINGERT (knee – 2 weeks), 22.Thomas BROICH (ankle – 4 weeks)
Sydney FC 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 4.Pedj BOJIC, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12 Hagi GLIGOR, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 18.Peter TRIANTIS, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Mark JANKO, 23. Rhyan GRANT, 24. George TIMOTHEOU, 25. Aaron CALVER, 28. Max BURGESS
**two to be omitted**
Ins 13. Christopher NAUMOFF(promoted), 24. George TIMOTHEOU (promoted), 28. Max BURGESS (promoted).
Outs 17. Terry ANTONIS (International Duty – 2 matches).
Unavailable 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – indefinite), 22.Ali ABBAS (knee – indefinite), 5. Matt JURMAN (illness – 1 weeks), 19. Nick CARLE (knee – indefinite), 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI (hip – indefinite).
TV – Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 8.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)
Radio – 612 ABC Brisbane, ABC Local Radio QLD, 702 ABC Sydney, ABC Local Radio NSW, Grandstand Digital, Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app.
Referee Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: Ashley Beecham
Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Lindsay
Fourth Official: Alan Milliner
Looking certainties for a top-four finish just a few short weeks ago, Sydney FC are all of a sudden looking over their shoulder at side’s chasing them in and around the top six. Brisbane (currently seventh) are one of those outfits breathing down the Sky Blues’ necks and a win for the home side here would create a real logjam from those spots from fifth to seventh on the table. The Asian Cup break can’t come soon enough for Fran Thijssen and Graham Arnold, with both confident their best form will come in the second half of the season once they can settle and bring in a few reinforcements. So any points they can pick up in this match will be viewed as precious and give them a huge lift heading into 2015.
Matt McKay moved out of Brisbane’s squad on Socceroos duty, with Luke Brattan the obvious replacement for the skipper in midfield. The Sky Blues have also lost a key midfielder in Terry Antonis who is also away for the Asian Cup, with either Peter Triantis or Rhyan Grant likely to slip into his position.
ROUTE TO GOAL
With the exception of their thrilling draw with Melbourne Victory a few weeks ago, Sydney has struggled to create much going forward. They are seriously missing the pace and energy of Corey Gameiro and Ali Abbas, with Bernie Ibini the only player looking capable of getting in behind and hurting teams. The Sky Blues need to be less reliant on the tactic of swinging in crosses from bad areas hoping for Janko or Smeltz to make things happen. Henrique has been the standout for Roar so far this season but Solorzano’s confidence should be high after a brace on the weekend and now gives the defending champions another outlet in attack.
OPTA DATA STATS
-Brisbane Roar have won nine of their last 10 in the Hyundai A-League at home to Sydney (L1, including finals).
-Sydney has not bagged 3+ goals versus Roar since November 2006; the Brisbane club has done so in three of their last five attempts in the Hyundai A-League.
-If Roar fails to secure a win in this game, they will have failed to do so in five Hyundai A-League matches at home; their worst run since November 2008.
-Sydney FC are unbeaten in five Hyundai A-League matches on the road (W2 D3).
DID YOU KNOW?
Brisbane’s Dimitri Petratos scored his only ever hat-trick in the Hyundai A-League against Sydney FC.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Adam Sarota. The on-loan Socceroo midfielder looks to have his horror injury run behind him and will be hoping for a consistent spell of first-team football after starting his first match against Central Coast on Saturday. With Matt McKay now absent on Asian Cup duty and Thomas Broich out injured, Roar will need all of Sarota’s class and top-level experience if they are to continue their recent improvement and rise up the ladder.
Brisbane were forced to come from behind twice to escape with a 3-3 draw against Central Coast on Saturday. They have now won two, drawn two and lost just once under interim boss Frans Thijjsen. The Sky Blues slumped to a third straight home defeat in going down to Adelaide on Boxing Day. One win from their last eight games tells the story for Arnold’s wounded side.
Brisbane Roar 1-1 Sydney FC
After struggling at home over the last few weeks, Sydney will probably feel relieved to hit the road and arguably their best performance of the season came at Suncorp when they beat Brisbane 2-0 back in round three. With both side’s losing key midfielders to international duty there shouldn’t be much between these two desperate outfits, which might see them cancel each other out in this one.