ACL preview: Brisbane Roar v Beijing Guoan
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Gold Coast Stadium, Robina
Kick-Off: 7.30pm (Local) (8.30pm AEDT)
Brisbane Roar M. Theo, J. Young, S. Stefanutto, C. Brown, J. North, D. Bowles, J. Donachie, J. Hingert, L. DeVere, J. Polenz, A. Sarota, S. Lustica, M. MaKay, L. Brattan, T. Broich, D. Clut, G. Lambadaridis, B. Litfin, Henrique, J Solorzano, K. Danning, D. Petratos, B. Borrello, A. Kaluderovic, S. Brady, P. Theodore, L. Jackson, B. Litfin, M. Hore, F. Climers, D. Crickmore, N. D’Agostino
Beijing Guoan Hou Sen, Zhou Ting, Xu Yunlong, Zhao Hejing, Lei Tenglong, Pablo Batalla, Dae-Sung Ha, Zhang Chengdong, D. Matic, Song Boxuan, D. Damjanovic, Piao Cheng, Yu Dabao, Shao Jiayi, Zhao Shi, Tan Tiancheng, Lang Zheng, Chen Zhizhao, Yang Zhi, Zhang Xinxin, Wei Xin, Zhou Ting, Li Hanbo, Zhang Xiaobin, Wang Hao, E. Feizullahu, Li Tixiang
Hashtag #BRIvBEI, #ACL2015
TV – Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 501 from 8.30pm (AEDT)
The Glitter Strip of the Gold Coast plays host to Brisbane’s return to ACL action and Roar will be hoping to make a sparkling start against Beijing Guoan. Confidence should be high in Frans Thijssen’s squad after a good run of form in the Hyundai A-League, while they have also had the benefit of a full 11 days to prepare following their wash-out against Melbourne Victory last weekend.
It was perhaps an interesting decision by Thijssen to leave experienced defender Jerome Polenz and Jean Carlos Solorzano (though he's currently injured) out of his ACL squad but a positive start here would vindicate that decision. With the Chinese Super League yet to start their domestic campaign, the visitors may be a little underdone and this is an area Roar must definitely exploit. If the home side are in front or in the contest heading into the last 20 minutes, you would expect Roar to finish over the top of Beijing on the excellent Robina surface.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Roar’s defence will need to be on guard to stop Beijing’s Argentine import Pablo Batalla. The pacy winger scored twice in last week’s 3-0 qualifying win over ex-Roar skipper Matt Smith’s Bangkok Glass. For that reason Thijssen might go with the experience of Shane Stefanutto at left-back rather than Corey Brown, to try and limit Batalla’s influence on the match. Roar will be hoping Thomas Broich can continue his good run of form since returning from an ankle injury, providing assists for six of Brisbane’s seven goals in their last three matches. The return from injury of Henrique and Dimitri Petratos also gives the home side more options and firepower in the front third.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Henrique. The Brazilian attacker has missed the last few games for Roar but returns just at the right time. The man known as the “Slippery Fish” is Brisbane’s top scorer and will add more punch and creativity to their play – if Thijssen opts to unleash him from the start. There’s been some debate whether Polenz should have got one of the Roar’s visa spots for the competition – perhaps at Henrique’s expense – but this is his chance to show his inclusion was the right call.
Brisbane has rediscovered their winning formula since returning from the Asian Cup break, winning three matches on the trot. They will hope the weekend off in the Hyundai A-League last week won’t have halted the momentum. Beijing has had just the one competitive match of late but it was an impressive one, a 3-0 drubbing of Bangkok Glass to qualify for the ACL group stage. Their domestic campaign does not get underway until March 8 with an away clash against Chongging Lifan.
DID YOU KNOW?
Brisbane Roar’s new striker Andrija Kaluderovic made 11 appearances for Beijing Guoan in a short stint with the club between 2012-14, scoring two goals.
Brisbane Roar 2-1 Beijing Guoan
While Roar has been the Hyundai A-League’s most successful side in recent years, they have struggled to reproduce the same form and results in the ACL. But a spot in the knockout phase of the competition must be the focus this year and if they are to do that then home form is paramount. With Beijing still very much in their pre-season, Roar won’t get a better chance to make a winning start to their ACL campaign and they should have a little bit too much fitness and class for their Chinese opponents in Robina.