Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne Victory
Hyundai A-League Semi Final
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
5:00pm, Sunday 27th April, 2014
Brisbane finished the season a whopping 10 points clear on top of the table dominating the league, earning a week off and seeing them clear favourites to win through the finals series and claim their third title in four years. Their semi-final opposition had a tougher season, with an inconsistent season landing them in fourth spot and needing to host a tough elimination final against fierce rivals, Sydney FC. Victory won their elimination final 2-1 with a 91st minute winner to Brazilian import Gui Finkler.
The last time these two teams met was in round 24 where the teams fought out what seemingly looked to be a 0-0 draw, before Luke Brattan stepped up for Brisbane in the 92nd minute and stole the show to give his team the 1-0 victory and in turn sealing the premiership plate.
This match asks a few questions of both teams, namely what the break will do for Brisbane, and what the Asian Champions League clash meant to Victory’s chances. Teams can either revel with the week break or it can be a hindrance, especially after a poor performance. That’s where it can get interesting as the final game of the season for Brisbane was a 2-0 loss at home to Central Coast. A match where Brisbane held a whopping 74% of possession but couldn’t capitalise.
Melbourne Victory on the other hand travelled mid-week to Korea to take on Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in their must-win and also last match of the Asian Champion’s League group stage. A hard fought, tight match ended 0-0 which was in the end not good enough for Victory to go through to the knockout stage.
Brisbane will need to capitalise on their chances against a Victory outfit that have shown that they can hold it against the league leaders. Victory will need to break down Brisbane’s play and attempt to limit the passing prowess of the Roar.
This match on paper looks to be a close match, Brisbane are deserved favourites but Victory are just one of those teams that on their day can beat anyone.
The Season so far…
Round Three – Melbourne Victory 1 (Troisi) defeated Brisbane 0
Round Thirteen – Melbourne Victory 0 lost to Brisbane 3 (Miller, McKay, Petratos)
Round Twenty Four – Brisbane 1 (Brattan) defeated Melbourne Victory 0
The Two clubs have never met in a final.
Played: 27. Brisbane Roar: 10. Draw: 6. Melbourne Victory: 11
Brisbane Last 5: DWWDL. Melbourne Last 5: LDDWW
Brisbane Roar: George Lambadaridis (Knee)
Melbourne Victory: Tom Rogic (Groin), Scott Galloway (hamstring)
Brisbane Roar: Theo; Stefanutto, Smith, North, Franjic; McKay, Brattan, Miller; Broich, Berisha, Petratos
Melbourne Victory: Coe; Traore, Ansell, Contreras, Geria; Finkler, Milligan, Broxham, Barbarouses; Troisi, Thompson
KEEP YOUR EYES ON:
James Troisi: The Victory forward has kicked 12 goals this season and has been one of the most crucial players in Melbourne’s run to the semi-finals. His speed and knack of getting behind defenders combined with his passing skills have allowed him to become Melbourne’s main scorer this season. Brisbane will need to negate his game in order to beat Melbourne this weekend.
Editors note: Besart Berisha gets his first opportunity to play against his new team this week, after missing the previous meeting thru (yep, you guessed it) a red card suspension. Berisha will play his favourite hero/villain role this week, but we are still not sure who he will be a hero for just yet. I expect him to score for Brisbane and play a crucial role in attack. He has the ability to make #OrangeSunday a magical day for the fans. Ok, back to the preview
I think this match will be going to extra time, and possibly even penalties. Brisbane will start the game better but if Victory can break down the inevitable Brisbane possession percentages then they will come straight back into it. I’m going with 1-0 to Brisbane at half-time and 1-1 at full time. Extra-time could well be a lottery but I’ll stick my neck out and say Victory will make their fourth grand final 5-3 on penalties.
Brisbane will be looking to become the first team to make 3 grand finals in 4 years. This will be a first in the A-League.
If Melbourne win, they will be only the third club to qualify for the grand final from outside the top 2 in A-League history.