Hyundai A-League preview: Roar v City

​Two of the competition’s most in-form teams are tipped to go on the offensive when Brisbane Roar welcome Melbourne City in a top-four blockbuster on Sunday afternoon.

MATCH DETAILS

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Brisbane Roar FC v Melbourne City FC

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Kick-Off: 6:00 PM (Local) (7:00 PM (AEDT))

Referee: Jarred Gillett

Assistant Referee 1: Nathan MacDonald

Assistant Referee 2: Ashley Beecham

Fourth Official: Alex King

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

#BRIvMCY

Radio Broadcast: 612 ABC Brisbane, 774 ABC Melbourne, ABC Local Radio Qld, ABC Local Radio Vic, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live.

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #BRIvMCY

To purchase tickets visit www.a-league.com.au/tickets

Brisbane Roar FC squad: 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Corey BROWN, 7. CORONA,  9. Jamie MACLAREN, 10. HENRIQUE,  11. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 13. Jade NORTH, 14. Daniel BOWLES, 15. James DONACHIE, 16. Devante CLUT, 17. Matt McKAY (c), 18. Javier HERVAS, 19. Jack HINGERT, 21. Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Dimitri PETRATOS, 28. Brandon BORRELLO,  36. Andre JANNESE (gk) **two to be omitted**

Ins: 5. Corey BROWN, 16. Devante CLUT, 28. Brandon BORRELLO (all promoted)

Roar marquee Thomas Broich embraces strike pairing Brandon Borrello and Jamie Maclaren.

Outs:  8. Steven LUSTICA (abdominal strain, 2 weeks)

Unavailable: -

Melbourne City FC Squad: 1. Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 3. Aaron HUGHES, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 8. Aaron MOOY, 9. Harry NOVILLO, 10. Robert KOREN, 15. David WILLIAMS, 18. Paulo RETRE, 19. Ben GARUCCIO, 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 21. Stefan MAUK, 22. Jack CLISBY, 23. Bruno FORNAROLI, 24. Patrick KISNORBO, 25. Jacob MELING, 34.Stefan ZINNI and 36. Matt MILLAR **two to be omitted**

Ins: 25. Jacob MELLING (promoted), 34. Stefan ZINNI (promoted) and 36. Matt MILLAR (promoted)

Jacob Melling holds of Wanderers midfielder Mateo Poljak

Outs: 30. Hernan ESPINDOLA (not selected)

Unavailable: 4. Connor CHAPMAN (knee – 2-3 months), 7. Corey GAMEIRO (knee – 2-3 months), 14. James BROWN (foot - 2 weeks), 26. Marc MARINO (knee - 3 weeks)

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

Melbourne City might be heading to Brisbane for the second time in just over a month but the pre-match mood has changed substantially since that 1-1 draw.

On the back of a dispiriting 3-0 home crushing by now-leaders Western Sydney Wanderers, City fought-out a steadying 1-1 draw on their last trip to the Queensland capital.

John Aloisi can expect a more formidable attacking threat after condemning the negating tactics of his former club in that encounter, with a reinvigorated City subsequently smashing 16 goals across four straight victories.

City players celebrate Paulo Retre's goal in their 2-1 win over Victory.

Consecutive home fixtures against the two Sydney sides following this match make for a testing three weeks for John van’t Schip’s men, but such a period could also truly shape their season.

Brisbane, despite registering six points from their past two outings, have struggled to capture their marauding best since last being held by Sunday’s opposition.

Narrow victories over Wellington Phoenix and Central Coast Mariners have been enough for Roar to remain only two points adrift of the Wanderers.

Aloisi will hope the visit of an in-form and confident top-four rival elicits the best from his squad.

OPTA DATA

·       Melbourne City is undefeated in their last four Hyundai A-League matches against Brisbane Roar (W3, D1) having kept a clean sheet twice in that period.

·       Brisbane is undefeated in their last six home Hyundai A-League matches and haven’t lost a home match against a team that wasn’t Melbourne Victory since March, 2015.

·       City’s Aaron Mooy has made 286 more passes in the opposition half than in his own half, the most of any player in the Hyundai A-League this season.

ROUTE TO GOAL

Mercifully for John Aloisi, Roar striker Jamie Maclaren appears to have overcome a knock sustained in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners.

The 22-year-old has struck over a third of his team’s goals this term and will be bitterly missed when away with the Olyroos in January.

Jamie Maclaren

Brandon Borrello – absent from the past two matchday squads – is the only other Brisbane player to have netted more than twice this term.

Thomas Broich failed to notch his first of the campaign despite several chances against the Mariners, although contributions in consecutive weeks from Steven Lustica and Dimitri Petratos suggest midfield production is improving.

No such troubles for Melbourne City – Aaron Mooy has supplemented his role as playmaker with six goals of his own, while 20-year-old Stefan Mauk is also proving himself to be a capable poacher.

Mauk’s textbook diving header not only helped City to an early lead against their cross-town rivals, it also marked his fourth goal from seven Hyundai A-League starts this season.

Stefan Mauk celebrates after scoring against Victory in Round 2.

Combine those threats with the direct approach of Harry Novillo and leading scorer Bruno Fornaroli and you can expect a City outfit featuring far more verve than their last Suncorp Stadium showing.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Rising star Stefan Mauk was on Wednesday named in Aurelio Vidmar’s Olyroos squad for the AFC U-23 Championship, just days after opening the scoring in the Melbourne Derby.

FORM LINES

Brisbane Roar: DDLWW
Melbourne City: DWWWW

PREDICTION

Brisbane Roar 2-2 Melbourne City