They’re separated by 10 points, but on Saturday night third-placed Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC in seventh will share desperation with the Premiership and top six on the line.
Saturday, 26 March 2016
Brisbane Roar FC v Sydney FC
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-Off: 6:30 PM (Local) (7:30 PM (AEDT))
Referee: Shaun Evans
Assistant Referee 1: David Walsh
Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Lindsay
Fourth Official: Alex King
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live.
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #BRIvSYD
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 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, 16.Devante CLUT, 18.Javier HERVAS, 20.Shannon BRADY, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 24.Tommy OAR, 28.Brandon BORRELLO
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 15.James DONACHIE (promoted), 16.Devante CLUT (promoted), 18.Javier HERVAS (promoted), 20.Shannon BRADY (promoted)
Outs: 17.Matt McKAY (international duty – 1 week), 19.Jack HINGERT (suspended – 1 week)
Sydney FC squad: 1.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 4.Zac ANDERSON, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6.Rob STAMBOLZIEV, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 13.Brandon O’NEILL,17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.Jacques FATY, 20.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 22.Ali ABBAS, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 24.George BLACKWOOD, 27.Mickael TAVARES
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 5.Matt JURMAN (return from injury), 10.Milos NINKOVIC (return from injury)
Unavailable: 14.Alex BROSQUE (hamstring – indefinite)
This is surely it for Sydney FC. Defeat in Brisbane – and an admittedly unlikely Victory home win over Wanderers – would mean the Sky Blues' top six hopes remain alive only on goal difference.
Pride will be just as much of a motivator for Graham Arnold’s men after they threw away a two-goal lead away to Central Coast Mariners last week, which stretched a bleak win-less run to nine domestic matches.
Leaving Suncorp Stadium without a result is simply not an option – an especially tricky task given Roar’s imposing record of 10 wins and only a single loss in their last 13 Hyundai A-League home matches.
The hosts themselves will be hurting from having to endure 45 minutes of Melbourne City domination in last Friday night’s 3-1 defeat at AAMI Park.
That result was enough for John Aloisi’s side to slide from first to third and ensure opposition favours will be required against the competition’s top two.
Six points must be gleaned from the next two home matches if the three-time Grand Final winners are to add a third regular season crown.
Tommy Oar is again tipped to start on the bench for Brisbane despite the absences of captain Matt McKay (Caltex Socceroos) and Jack Hingert (suspended), while Sydney will warmly welcome the return of former Roar defender Matt Jurman and playmaker Milos Ninkovic.
- Brisbane Roar have won 10 and drawn two of their last 13 matches at home in the Hyundai A-League.
- Sydney FC remain winless in their last nine Hyundai A-League matches, their longest streak since they went 10 games without victory in 2010/11 season.
- Roar’s leading scorer Jamie Maclaren has scored nine of his 17 goals so far this Hyundai A-League season in either the opening or final 15 minutes of a match.
- Sydney FC is only one foul away from becoming the first team this Hyundai A-League season to concede 400 fouls. On top of having conceded the most fouls in the league (399), they’ve also won the fewest (295).
ROUTE TO GOAL
Prior to Roar’s defeat in Melbourne, the last time Jamie Maclaren was kept scoreless he responded with five goals across two games.
Brandon O’Neill – a former teammate of Maclaren’s at Perth Glory – spoke this week about needing to stop the supply to a man who has struck nine times in 10 appearances at Suncorp Stadium.
The ability of Melbourne City to do just that last Friday night should serve as some inspiration for the Sky Blues, who were stung twice by the 17-goal Olyroo back in January.
Dimitri Petratos smashed a stunner against City to equal his personal best of five in a single season ahead of another meeting with his old club.
Petratos’ effort was almost overshadowed by young Sydney striker George Blackwood’s first professional goal.
The teenager’s swerving strike away to the Mariners should earn him the nod for a second straight start.
Shane Smeltz also hit the scoresheet in that match as the visitors encouragingly scored more than a single goal for only the second time in nine outings.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
George Blackwood. The strongly-built 18-year-old broke his goalscoring duck last weekend in his 15th Hyundai A-League appearance.
Brisbane Roar: LLWWL
Sydney FC: DDLLD
Brisbane Roar 2 – 0 Sydney FC