Preview: Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC

After a tumultuous week, Sydney FC head to Suncorp for a Friday night date with the wounded champions of Australia.

Something’s got to give when these traditional state rivals lock horns for what looms as a ripper clash of Hyundai A-League big guns.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Brisbane Roar FC v Sydney FC

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Kick-Off: 7:00 PM (Local) (8:00 PM AEDT)

Referee: Peter Green

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 1HD & 1 from 7.30pm (AEDT), live coverage on SBS One from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 612 ABC Brisbane, Local Radio QLD, 702 ABC Sydney, ABC Local Radio NSW, Grandstand Digital, ABC Grandstand Online/A-League Live Mobile phone app 

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #BRIvSYD

Brisbane Roar FC Squad: 2.Matt SMITH (c), 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 7.Mensur KURTISHI, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 10.HENRIQUE, 11.Liam MILLER, 12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 13.Jade NORTH, 15.James DONACHIE, 18.Luke BRATTAN, 19.Jack HINGERT, 20.Kofi DANNING, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 30.Matthew ACTON (gk)

***one to be omitted***

Ins: 28.Brandon BORRELLO (returns from international duty)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 1.Michael THEO (wrist – six weeks), 4.Adam SAROTA (knee – four weeks), 5.Corey BROWN (rib – one week), 6.George LAMBADARIDIS (knee – four weeks), 17.Matt McKAY (suspension – one week)

Sydney FC squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (GK), 2.Sebastian RYALL, 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 4.Pedj BOJIC, 7.Corey GAMEIRO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12.Hagi GLIGOR, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 17.Terry ANTONIS, 19.Nick CARLE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK), 21.Mark JANKO, 22.Ali ABBAS, 24.George TIMOTHEOU, 25.Aaron CALVER
***two to be omitted***

Ins: 11.Bernie IBINI, (promoted), 12.Hagi GLIGOR (promoted), 16.Alex GERSBACH (promoted), 24.George TIMOTHEOU

Outs: 6.Nikola PETKOVIC (suspended – 1 week), 18.Peter TRIANTIS (calf – 1 week)

Unavailable: 23.Rhyan GRANT (knee – 1 week), 5.Matthew JURMAN (knee), 9.Shane SMELTZ (groin)

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

Who would have thought Brisbane would still be searching for their first point heading into round three?

But that’s exactly the scenario for Mike Mulvey’s side after losses to both Adelaide United and Perth Glory over the first fortnight.

It’s not exactly panic stations just yet but the Roar will be conscious of not giving the leading pack not too much of a head start.

However Roar have a strong record against Sydney FC, having lost just one of their last seven Hyundai A-League matches between the two sides.

Mulvey has kept the faith despite their slow start, just adding youngster Brandon Borrello to the squad for this one. Matt McKay is still suspended while Adam Sarota (knee) and Michael Theo (wrist) remain sidelined through injury.

The big question surrounding the Sky Blues will centre around whether they can pick themselves up less than 72 hours after their energy-sapping 3-1 Westfield FFA Cup defeat to Adelaide United on Tuesday night.

Graham Arnold’s side not only had to play 120 minutes but had to get through more than a quarter of that with just 10-men after Nikola Petkovic was sent off.

Sydney can at least draw something from the fact they remain unbeaten in the league and showed tremendous character to fight back from two goals down to win the Sydney Derby 3-2 last weekend. Defender Sasa Ognenovski is available after serving his one-game ban in the Cup, but fellow centre-back Petkovic will miss the clash through suspension.

Sadly, former Roar man Matt Jurman is out for up to six weeks due to a knee problem, while Shane Smeltz is still a week away from a return from a groin problem.

OPTA DATA STATS

Dimitri Petratos has only scored five goals in 28 Hyundai A-League appearances, but three of these came for Brisbane against his former side Sydney FC last December in a 5-2 win.

Sky Blue Milos Dimitrijevic has completed more passes than any other Hyundai A-League player so far this season (128).

 Roar have scored in all but one of their last 19 Hyundai A-League meetings with Sydney FC.

ROUTE TO GOAL

If Roar are to get a positive result they will need to ensure they are strong defensively down their right-hand side.

Not only has right-back James Donachie scored a couple of own goals over the first two rounds but most of Sydney’s most potent attack comes down that channel.

All four of the Sky Blues’ goals from the first two matches have come down the left, with skipper Alex Brosque and Corey Gameiro at the centre of most of their good work.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Sasa Ognenovski. The veteran defender was involved in everything in the derby last week, not only scoring the equalizing goal but getting in a few skirmishes with Wanderers players.

Despite copping some criticism and a one-game ban for his antics – which he served in the Westfield FFA Cup on Tuesday night – there’s no doubt Ognenovski inspires those around him with his actions. The former Roar man is a fantastic leader and Sydney will need that on Friday night.

FORM LINES

Brisbane are in unchartered waters. Two defeats from two games, with only Western Sydney Wanderers FC below them on the ladder. Roar have never lost the first three matches in the history of the Hyundai A-League.

Arnold suffered his first competitive defeat as Sydney FC boss against the Reds on Tuesday night. But he will be keen to maintain his unblemished league record, especially as the Sky Blues have never gone unbeaten over the opening three weeks of a season in Hyundai A-League history.

DID YOU KNOW?

None of Brisbane’s last 19 home matches in the Hyundai A-League have been drawn (14 wins, 5 losses).

PREDICTION

Brisbane Roar 2-1 Sydney FC

In recent seasons this would have been an easy one to call. Brisbane have had the wood over Sydney FC and have come out on top more often than not.

But much has changed since.

Roar are struggling without injured goal-keeper Michael Theo and now-Victory striker Besart Berisha.

Sydney are also looking a more formidable outfit under Arnold. But with the Sky Blues possibly fatigued after a tiring week and with Brisbane determined to get their season rolling, the home side should just get over the line and secure their first points of the campaign.