Preview: Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar
Ange Postecoglou's reign at Brisbane starts in earnest on Sunday as he looks to help his side snap a three-match losing streak against a Sydney outfit still smarting from its most disappointing result of the season.
Date: Sunday October 25 Kick-off: 5:00pm AEDT Venue: Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au
Head-to-head Played 15. Wins: Sydney 4, Brisbane Roar 4. Draws: 7
Last meeting Brisbane Roar 1, Sydney FC 0, Suncorp Stadium, Round 8, September 2009
Past five matches: Sydney FC: Round 7: Sydney FC 2, Newcastle Jets 1, Sydney Football Stadium Round 8: Brisbane Roar 1, Sydney FC 0, Suncorp Stadium Round 9: Sydney FC 1, Central Coast Mariners 0, Sydney Football Stadium Round 10: Melbourne Victory 0, Sydney FC 3, Etihad Stadium Round 11: Adelaide United 2, Sydney FC 1, Hindmarsh Stadium
Round 7: Brisbane Roar 2, Perth Glory 4, Suncorp Stadium Round 8: Brisbane Roar 1, Sydney FC 0, Suncorp Stadium, Round 9: Melbourne Victory 2, Brisbane Roar 1, Etihad Stadium Round 10: Brisbane Roar 0, Gold Coast United 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 11: Brisbane Roar 0, Central Coast 3, Suncorp Stadium
Analysis: Ange Postecoglou's reign at Brisbane starts in earnest on Sunday as he looks to help his side snap a three-match losing streak against a Sydney outfit still smarting from its most disappointing result of the season last round, a 2-1 loss to 10-man Adelaide United.
Sydney had the opportunity to consolidate top spot on the table last Friday night and appeared to have everything in its favour when Fabian Barbiero was dismissed in the early stages. But the Sky Blues fluffed their lines as their direct approach to goal was countered by an Adelaide side, playing like men possessed in defence as Cristiano put the icing on the cake with two well-taken goals. Sydney may have pulled one back through John Aloisi but it was too little too late as it opened up the table for Gold Coast to leapfrog them into top spot.
But while Sydney will be disappointed, it probably wasn't a patch on what poor old Brisbane was feeling on Saturday night after losing to the Mariners 3-0. After one of the most tumultuous weeks in the club's history, a 3-0 loss was probably a sadly fitting end to it all. But the result certainly flatters Central Coast. The Mariners may have got the early jump with two goals in the space of 18 minutes but from then on, the Roar attacked in earnest, peppering Central Coast's goal with 20 shots at the target. However Brisbane, and specifically striker Sergio van Dijk, found Danny Vukovic at the top of his game and the Roar were denied until Pedj Bojic's 70th-minute stunner sealed the result.
Postecoglou therefore has a bit to work with but it will take all his nous to restore some belief and confidence in his injury-hit side. To make matters worse, skipper Craig Moore will be absent from central defence this week after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season. He'll join Liam Reddy, Michael Zullo, Henrique and Massimo Murdocca on the sidelines, a handy quintet if ever there was one. Henrique's absence with a knee injury for the last two matches has been keenly felt but at least influential midfielder Charlie Miller will return from a two-week suspension while injury-replacement goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic will deputise for Griffin McMaster in goal. Janjetovic is a former Sydney Youth goalkeeper and he may bring some inside information Postecoglou can work with. But Postecoglou has taken the safe option and named an extended squad for Sunday's game that is still to be cut by five, so speculation over the line-up is purely guesswork.
Regardless of who he sends out, though, they'll be trying to impress their new coach, a fact Sydney's Alex Brosque said the Sky Blues were particularly wary of. Brosque will also know Brisbane's last win was against Sydney back in Round 8 and a repeat performance could really hurt the Sky Blues' hopes of a top two finish. Coach Vitezslav Lavicka hasn't panicked following last week's loss. In selection he's merely brought in exciting youngsters Kofi Danning and Rhyan Grant to a squad that will be cut by two come Sunday. Danning and Grant may be both likely to play, however, as they give Sydney extra pace down the flanks, something the New South Welshmen lacked against Adelaide, adding another dimension to the side's attack as the Route 1 approach was easily countered last week.
Whatever formations these sides send out, though, this match is shaping as a pivotal contest. For Sydney it will demonstrate just how effectively the club can bounce back from disappointment, while for Brisbane it may just be a barometer on whether the Roar are up to toughing it out this season and grinding out a result when the chips are really down.
Sydney FC squad: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 6. Karol KISEL, 7. Brendan GAN, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. John ALOISI, 10. Steve CORICA (c), 11. Kofi DANNING, 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 17. Matthew JURMAN, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 22. Sung Hwan BYUN, 23. Rhyan GRANT.
*two to be omitted*
In: Kofi DANNING (promoted), Rhyan GRANT (promoted)
Unavailable: Stephan KELLER (knee - 1 week), Mitchell PRENTICE (back - 1/2 weeks)
Brisbane Roar squad: 2. Andrew PACKER, 3. Luke DEVERE, 5. Josh McCLOUGHAN, 6. David DODD, 9. Sergio VAN DIJK, 10. Charlie MILLER, 11. REINALDO, 12. Matt MUNDY, 14. Adam SAROTA, 15. Matt McKAY, 16. Bob MALCOLM, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Danny TIATTO, 19. Isaka CERNAK, 20. Griffin McMASTER (gk), 21. Tommy OAR, 23. Tim SMITS, 27. Ivan FRANJIC, 29 Mario KARLOVIC, 40. Vedran JANJETOVIC *five to be omitted*
In: Charlie MILLER (returns from suspension), Vedran JANJETOVIC (promoted - short term contract)
Out: Craig MOORE (suspended - 1 week), Matt ACTON (not selected)
Unavailable: Michael ZULLO (groin - 6 week), Massimo MURDOCCA (fractured leg - 8 weeks), HENRIQUE (injured - 6 weeks)