Hyundai A-League - 2010/2011 - Season 6

Roar a genuine chance
By Andrew Demack

2010/2011 Hyundai A-League - Round 11
7:45pm, Saturday 23 October, 2010
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 2
(Mitch Nichols 26, Jean Carlo Solorzano 77')
Melbourne Victory FC 1
(Robbie Kruse 48)

(Linked from FFA site)

For the first time in eight years as a BOTN reporter, I am confident that the national competition's Brisbane-based team is a genuine chance to take the title this season.

Brisbane Roar toughed out the last 10 minutes against Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium last night, but were generally the better side on the night, and were good value for their 2-1 win.

There is many a stumbling block and surely quite a few twists and turns between now and the end of the season, but right now this Brisbane Roar side play the best football in the league, and with the addition of Jean Carlos Solorzano, may just have found the last piece in the puzzle.

Solorzano got the winning goal like a good striker should, being on hand to gobble up the scraps when a defender makes a mistake. But before that moment, there were significant contributions (in the game, not just the lead-up to the goal) from Luke DeVere, Erik Paartalu and Thomas Broich.

All three named were excellent for the whole match, as indeed was Michael Theoklitos in the Roar goal. Melbourne showed much more skill, team-work and footballing nous than any other visiting team to Suncorp this season, but in the end it wasn't enough to match the Roar.

If there is a potential weakness in the Roar, it is the lack of depth in the squad. Shane Stefanutto limped off holding his hammy on Wednesday evening against Central Coast, so it was no surprise when Matt Mundy took the field in his stead. Mundy toiled hard, but Stefanutto is a far superior player in both attack and defence, and he was badly missed.

Injury to Milan Susak also gave Rocky Visconte a spot on the bench. In the couple of appearances Visconte has made off the bench for the Roar, he has not impressed. He also failed to impress in this game.

Brisbane and Melbourne looked pretty well matched at the start of the game. Victory always look a composed side, with the likes of Brebner, Muscat and Pondeljak controlling the tempo when in possession, and a very exciting frontline including former Roar youngster Robbie Kruse and the creative spark of Carlos Hernandez.

Victory's Brazilian striker Ricardinho also was given another chance to impress Ernie Merrick, and it was he who had the first two half chances for the visitors, in the 11th and 21st minutes. On both occasions the Roar keeper and defence snuffed out the danger.

A minute later Petkovic in the Melbourne goal pulled off a fine reaction save, getting low to save as Reinaldo beat Muscat to a low cross from the marauding Ivan Franjic.

But it was only three minutes later that Brisbane took the lead. Broich swung in a corner from the left. Erik Paartalu was the target at the near post, and his flick-on was perfect for Mitch Nichols to volley home. The effectiveness of the corner was demonstrated by the sight of four Melbourne defenders all rooted to the spot, side by side on the six-yard line, as three Roar attackers adjusted to Paartalu' header.

The Roar's growing threat from set-pieces was demonstrated by further headers from Paartalu and Reinaldo in the 30th and 32nd minutes, one bringing a good save from Petkovic and the other shaving the top of the cross-bar.

The home side held a 1-0 advantage at the break. But almost immediately on resumption, Robbie Kruse levelled the score. He was fed the ball on the edge of the box, and being under no immediate threat from the defence, looked up and picked up his spot with a delightful right-foot shot that beat the defence and Theoklitos.

Robbie Kruse then gave the Den some of their own medicine, running towards the home fans to celebrate, and pointing out his own name on the back of his shirt. Egotistical, no doubt, but at that moment in time he had earned the right to celebrate.

The game was locked up at 1-1. Both teams continued to attack, and although Roar had chances to Franjic, and Nichols (set up by a lovely Broich pass), so did Melbourne, with Celeski and Kruse both drawing saves from Theoklitos.

Postecoglu brought on Solorzano and Barbarouses for Reinaldo and Nichols, just after the hour. A predictable move, but there was no counter-move from Merrick. And it turned out to be the right move.

It was Roar's adventurous central defender Luke De Vere who made the play that led to the winning goal. With Roar in possession, De Vere looked for runs from his forward line. Both Barbarouses and Solorzano made runs in the same direction, and dragged defenders with them. De Vere saw the opportunity and surged forward into the space, as he is wont to do. He beat two, but hesitated as he got to the penalty area and the shooting chance was going to be on his left foot.

De Vere's hesitation was just enough for Leijer and Broxham to dispossess him. But somehow with two defenders on the job, the ball bobbled free, and Solorzano smashed it home. Left-footed.

The remaining 15 minutes were tense, and the Roar looked nervy. But Melbourne couldn't find their way past Theoklitos, and the predictions of my fellow BOTN writer for south-east Queensland came true. He had tipped a 2-1 win for this game, and seven points from the three-game home series for the Roar. I await his future predictions with interest.

2010/2011 Hyundai A-League - Round 11
7:45pm, Saturday 23 October, 2010
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 2
(Mitch Nichols 26, Jean Carlo Solorzano 77')
Melbourne Victory FC 1
(Robbie Kruse 48)

    Crowd: 9,425


    Brisbane Roar FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH, 3. Luke DEVERE, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 11. REINALDO (9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO 64), 12. Matthew MUNDY, 15. Matt McKAY (c), 17. Mitchell NICHOLS (7. Kosta BARBAROUSES 64), 22. Thomas BROICH (14. Rocky VISCONTE 83)

    Substitutes not used: 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (rgk)

    Coach: Ange Postecoglou

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards: Nil

    Melbourne Victory FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2. Kevin MUSCAT, 3. Mate DUGANDZIC (6. Leigh BROXHAM 31), 8. Grant BREBNER (11. Marvin ANGULO 81), 9. RICARDINHO, 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 14. Billy CELESKI, 15. Tomislav PONDELJAK (27. Geoff KELLAWAY 81), 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ, 21. Robbie KRUSE, 23. Adrian LEIJER

    Substitutes not used: 20. Sebastian MATTEI (rgk)

    Coach: Ernie Merrick

    Yellow Cards: Robbie KRUSE 28, Michael PETKOVIC 83 '
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Peter Green 8/10
    Assistant referees: Brad Hobson, David Walsh

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Erik Paartalu (BR) (crucial in the first goal, and excellent throughout)
    2. Thomas Broich (BR) (at the heart of Brisbane's best play)
    1. Robbie Kruse (MV) (super goal from a talented young man)

    Pitch rating: 9/10

    Game rating: 8/10

    Match Report and ratings: Andrew Demack

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. FFA has not this season accredited any Photographers for BOTN, so any photos used here, unless attributed, are as supplied by FFA and used by permission.

Crafted lovingly by hand
By fans, for fans
© Magic Llama 2000 - 2010