ACL preview: Brisbane Roar FC v Suwon Bluewings
Brisbane Roar FC will take confidence and good goal-scoring form to Korea for their pivotal group clash with Suwon Bluewings in the Asian Champions League on Wednesday night.
With Suwon and Roar set to battle it out for second spot in the group – behind runaway leaders Beijing Guoan – this is a minimum must-not lose game for Frans Thijssen’s troops.
It won’t be an easy task as Suwon are on a three-game winning streak in the K-League and currently sit in third spot after Eun-Seon Kim’s injury-time strike gave them a 2-1 win over Busan I’Park on the weekend.
The Bluewings kept imports Kaio, Santos and Leo Itaperuna on the bench for that clash – as well as Jun-Jing Seo who scored a double in Robina last month – to ensure they are fresh for this one.
Roar will be without Henrique (knee) and defender Jade North (groin) but playmaker Thomas Broich, who got through 45 minutes against the Mariners, and goalkeeper Michael Theo have both travelled.
Daniel Bowles is in the squad for the first time while impressive youngster Devante Clut, who scored twice in the previous clash on the Gold Coast, travels too along with returning international players Matt McKay, Luke DeVere, James Donachie and Corey Brown.
Frans Thijssen’s men kept their slim Hyundai A-League finals hopes alive with a crushing 6-1 win over Central Coast Mariners last Thursday night.
The result and performance will be both encouraging and frustrating for Roar in equal measures.
Encouraging because it’s the type of display we know they can produce with their quality of players but also frustrating because we’ve hardly seen it this season.
In truth you feel they will need a win to give themselves a massive shot at making the last 16 on the Continental stage.
“With Beijing so far ahead, the rest of the group is tight and anything could happen,” Thijssen said.
“This game looms as our toughest so far, but we have to get something out of it so we are not relying on other results to advance.
“Suwon are a strong, physical team and we expect them to attack us from the start.”
Following this match Roar then face Beijing away (April 21) before hosting Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds (May 5) to round out the group stage.