Preview: Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners
Roar your team into the Grand Final! Brisbane's unbeaten home record is up against Mariners' fantastic away form
Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners Suncorp Stadium Saturday 26th February 7:00pm Tickets from Ticketek
Roar your team into the Grand Final! Brisbane's unbeaten home record is up against Mariners' fantastic away form. Something's got to give!
Brisbane Roar have got one foot in the Grand Final. Can they finish the job by keeping their unbeaten run at Suncorp going, or will Mariners hit back and continue their own fine away form? Find out by getting along to this massive Major Semi-Final second leg on Saturday night and being part of the spectacular live action and excitement.
Obviously the odds favour the home side, after their professional performance at The Bluetongue last Saturday, when second-half goals from Kosta Barbarouses and Matt McKay gave them a precious 2-0 lead to bring back to Brisbane. All Ange Postecoglou's players now need to do is keep their heads and their discipline and surely they will be hosting the Grand Final.
After all, they haven't lost at home at all in the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season, and have remained unbeaten against Mariners in their four games, including a 5-1 demolition at the Bluetongue. However, while it may seem that maintaining the status quo shouldn't be too hard, it would be foolhardy for Roar fans to assume that it will be a cakewalk on Saturday night.
While they failed to break down Brisbane's defence last weekend, Central Coast Mariners are a quality side - you don't finish second in the league by accident - and are still very much in this Major Semi-Final. Especially considering that they are unbeaten on the road since October. Such fine away form was epitomised by their last match away from the Bluetongue, when they brushed aside supposed top-two rivals Gold Coast United at Skilled Park with a 3-1 win.
Most pleasingly of all for Graham Arnold is that all three of the goals were the debut senior notches for National Youth League starlets Bernie Ibini-Isei, Mustafa Amini and Mitchell Duke. Such strength in depth, coupled with their excellence on the road will buoy the men from New South Wales to the extent that they will set foot on the pitch believing that they can turn this deficit around.
However, while the visitors are still a force to be reckoned with, Roar fans will take great heart from the fact that Mariners' last defeat on their travels came at Suncorp in the only meeting between clubs in Queensland this season. Then, a goal either side of the interval proved the difference between the teams. First, Dutchman Thomas Broich hit what seemed to be a cross but the ball ended up sailing straight into the goal. If that was fortuitous though, the strike that sealed the win was a peach. A corner was cleared to the edge of the box, only for Ivan Franjic to put his laces through the ball and rifle it into the net.
Graham Arnold's men were perhaps a little rusty on that occasion though, having endured a mammoth 18-day spell without competitive football, and there will surely be no such sluggishness when the sides meet for the second time in eight days this weekend. As they desperately try to get back into this tie and win the right to host the Grand Final, they will throw everything at their hosts, sweat blood for the cause, chase every lost cause and go into each tackle with 100 percent commitment. Make no mistake Roar fans, this major semi-final is far from over.
These 90-minutes are set to be nail-biting and exciting as the Hyundai A-League's two best sides go at it again. And what a part you can play in the outcome as your heroes aims to propel themselves straight into a Grand Final. If you want the opportunity to see your club secure the Championship on home soil, then you need to make your voices heard like never before.
Get yourself some tickets today and prepare to sing your side towards unprecedented glory. Be the twelfth man, there's silverware at stake and history to be made.