The Hyundai A-League pre-season schedule officially gets underway tonight (Wednesday, June 27), with Brisbane Roar in action against a local Premier League outfit.
Elsewhere, Melbourne City are set for a special trip to India in pre-season, while there’s another Hyundai A-League link to the FIFA World Cup™.
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It’s all here in our latest edition of Hyundai A-League Paper Talk!
ROAR’S NEW SIGNINGS SET TO DEBUT
All eyes will be on Logan Metro Sports Park tonight as Brisbane Roar officially kick-off their pre-season match schedule with a friendly against Football Queensland Premier League side Logan Lightning.
Roar have been big movers in the transfer market so far this off-season, with the likes of Adam Taggart, Stefan Mauk, Danish import Tobias Mikkelsen and young gun Dylan Wenzel-Halls all joining the club.
And coach John Aloisi could give all four their first games in Roar colours at the club’s recently-completed multi-million dollar premier training facility.
“The group has been working extremely hard over the past couple of weeks and it will be a good challenge for our talented side to come up against one of the top teams in the FQPL competition,” Aloisi said recently.
“This is a great opportunity for our supporters and the local football community to see our new signings in action for the first time as we build for a successful 2018/19.”
Following the match, fans will have the chance to meet their Roar heroes with an autograph signing session to also take place.
Admission to the match is a gold coin donation, with kick-off at 7.30pm AEST.
CITY HEADING TO INDIA
Melbourne City will face international opposition when they head to India for a pre-season tournament, the Toyota Yaris LaLiga World event in Kochi.
Warren Joyce’s side will take on Indian Super League club Kerala Blasters FC and Girona FC from Spain’s La Liga – who beat Real Madrid last season - in a three-way tournament.
The three sides will play across five day s at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi, starting on July 24.
“This is Melbourne City’s first ever visit to India, and the whole squad are incredibly excited about meeting the fans in Kochi and playing in front of such a passionate crowd,” City CEO Scott Munn said.
“High-quality opposition is an important part of our pre-season preparation, and we are delighted to be taking on both Kerala Blasters and our sister-club Girona FC in this brand new tournament.”
REFEREE JOINS CONGER LINE AT FIFA WORLD CUP™
While there’s plenty of Hyundai A-League links in the Socceroos squad in Russia, there’s also a referee doing the competition proud.
Whistle-blower Matthew Conger took charge of the recent clash in Group D between Nigeria and Iceland, which the Africans won 2-0.
The 39-year-old - who has experience using the VAR in the Hyundai A-League – used the video replay to award Iceland a late penalty for a foul in the box.
But EPL star Gylfi Sigurdsson fired the ball over the bar to ensure there would be no late fightback.
While this is Kiwi resident Conger’s first FIFA World Cup™ experience, he has officiated at the Olympic Games in the past.
FORMER PHOENIX STARS FIND NEW CLUBS
Former Wellington Phoenix midfielder Goran Paracki has wasted little time finding a new club after he was told by new boss Mark Rudan he wouldn’t be needed in the 2018/19 Season.
The Croatian enforcer, who was one of Phoenix’s most consistent players last season, has linked with Azerbaijan club Neftci Baku.
He’s not the only former Wellington playmaker to join new clubs over the last week.
Gui Finkler, who departed the club midway through last season, has moved to Lithuania with FK Sūduva Marijampolė.
And Spanish midfielder Alex Rodriguez has started pre-season training with Motherwell after signing a deal with the Scottish club.