Strap yourself in for a wild ride as the reigning Hyundai A-League champions meet the undefeated Melbourne Victory at Etihad. We’re guessing former Roar star Besart Berisha will be, as always, in the thick of it.
Date: Friday, 21 November 2014
Where: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 7.30pm (Local) (7.30pm AEDST)
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Nathan COE (GK), 5.Mark MILLIGAN (c) 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.Connor PAIN, 13.Andrew NABBOUT, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21.Carl VALERI, 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 23.Adrian LEIJER, 24.Scott GALLOWAY, 26.Jordan BROWN
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 5.Mark MILLIGAN (returns from international duty), 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES (returns from international duty), 11.Connor PAIN (returns from international duty), 15.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI (returns from international duty), 24.Scott GALLOWAY (returns from international duty)
Outs: 18.Dylan MURNANE (illness), 31.Kieran DOVER (not selected), 33.Christian CAVALLO (not selected)
Unavailable: 2.Jason GERIA (ankle – test), 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE (hamstring – test)
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 2.Matt SMITH (c), 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Mensur KURTISHI, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 10.HENRIQUE, 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 15.James DONACHIE, 17.Matt McKAY, 18.Luke BRATTAN, 21.Jamie YOUNG (GK), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 30.Matthew ACTON (GK), 34.Shannon BRADY
**one to be omitted**
Ins: 5.Corey BROWN, 15.James DONACHIE, 17.Matt McKAY (all return from international duty)
Outs: 12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO (shoulder – one week), 16.Devante CLUT (omitted)
Unavailable: Michael THEO (wrist – four weeks), Adam SAROTA (knee – two weeks), George LAMBADARIDIS (knee – two weeks), Jack HINGERT (knee – five weeks)
TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 (FOX SPORTS 4HD & 4) from 7.00pm (AEDT), Live Coverage on SBS HD & SBS One from 7.30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Grandstand Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app
Referee: Chris Beath
They finally got off the mark in Season 2014-15 with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Newcastle Jets last Friday, but the potential revival of reigning champions Brisbane Roar FC will be put to the test in Round 7 when they travel to face a Melbourne Victory team rejuvenated by the inclusion of several key personnel.
Kevin Muscat's undermanned side kept a clean sheet and might have won in a 0-0 draw away to Sydney FC last time out, despite thrusting inexperienced players into unfamiliar positions.
With some stars and regulars back on deck - and with former Roar hero Besart Berisha leading the line - the hosts will have no intention of giving Mike Mulvey's team an easy ride at Etihad Stadium.
OPTA DATA STATS
- Victory have won just one of their last 12 Hyundai A-League games against the Brisbane Roar, including finals.
- Brisbane have kept only one clean sheet in their last nine trips to Melbourne Victory
- Berisha is the Hyundai A-League’s top scorer this season having scored five goals from just six shots on target.
- Dimitri Petratos of Brisbane Roar has attempted more shots without scoring than any other player this season (13).
ROUTE TO GOAL
Expect the Roar to dominate possession and seek to play their way through Victory, although Mulvey's side showed in the win over the Jets they are less averse - perhaps through necessity - to a quick ball over the top or a fast release than they used to be.
The presence of creaky Kew Jaliens at right-back played straight into Brisbane's hands at Hunter Stadium - don't expect Scott Galloway to give his opponent anything like as easy a ride.
Victory will seek to keep their shape, shut down the Roar's passing options, pressure the man on the ball and then spring on the counter-attack. The plan is simple, but effective.
Mark Milligan and Carl Valeri will look to dispossess their direct opponents and feed Guilherme Finkler at No.10 or Archie Thompson, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Kosta Barbarouses, depending who Muscat chooses out wide.
Both fullbacks will look to overlap and pin back their winger and opposing wide defender, while Berisha (as the stats demonstrate) will seize on any sight of goal.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
The showdown between Berisha and his old side is the simple narrative, but perhaps it's Henrique who deserves to be in the spotlight. Roar have the 'slippery fish' to thank for bagging them their first win and he did so in some style. Will Mulvey opt to start the humble Brazilian against Victory?
Victory are unbeaten in the Hyundai A-League this season, having won two and drawn three of their last five matches, with those draws all coming away from home. Winning at home and getting at least a point on the road has long been considered the gold standard of a championship-challenging side.
Prior to their win over the Jets, Brisbane had lost all of their first four matches of the season, shipping 10 goals in the process.
DID YOU KNOW?
Roar defender Jade North has made more successful passes than any other player in the Hyundai A-League this season, 328.
Melbourne Victory 3-1 Brisbane Roar
They've eased some of the pressure but we think plenty of the Roar's underlying issues from the start of the season are still a concern for the title-holders.
Victory are likely to put their defence and reserve goalkeeper under considerably more pressure than the Jets did last week. The home team are also better equipped to deny Mulvey's side time and space on the ball. It all adds up to a likely home win, possibly by a comfortable margin.comments