Hyundai A-League Season 6

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Roar makes it two from two at home
By Andrew Demack

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 4
8pm, Friday 27 August, 2010 - Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 1
(Kosta Barbarouses 73')

Wellington Phoenix FC 0

(Linked from FFA site)

Brisbane Roar's good start to the Hyundai A-League season six continued with a 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium last night.

A goal to Kosta Barbarouses in the 73rd minute gave the home side the win they deserved. Roar coach Ange Postecoglu's work in re-shaping the Roar in the off-season has produced immediate results, but surely there is much more improvement to come.

With SBS analyst Craig Foster raving over the Roar's midfield passing and movement in last week's win over the champions Sydney FC, it was inevitable that their fluidity suffered a bit this week. The Roar midfield are good, but they're not Spain.

Wellington were competitive in this game without ever playing their best football. Paul Ifill looked super-sharp, and tested Michael Theoklitos in the Roar goal on a number of occasions. Unfortunately for Wellington, Ifill is also their best creator of chances, and as a result, their best goal-scoring opportunities fell to Dylan McAllister and Leo Bertos, neither of whom was able to beat the in-form Theoklitos.

It is true that Postecoglu has rebuilt the Roar this season. But sensibly he has built the team around its heart and soul, skipper Matt McKay. One very astute signing by Postecoglu was to negotiate the return to Brisbane of Shane Stefanutto, who was a dashing left-back for the Brisbane Strikers in their wilderness years at Perry Park in the old NSL.

This writer remembers those fans (the singing section back then called itself 'Torcida Banana') singing (to the Cuban folk tune 'Guantanamera'): “Snowing in Norway, it's always snowing in Norway”, to Stefanutto on his last home game for the Strikers. Six years in the Norwegian top flight with Lillestrom and FC Lyn made him a more complete player and ,free from the injury that dogged him last season with North Queensland, Stefanutto's pace and penetration on the left has already been a bonus for the Roar.

McKay and Stefanutto's understanding on the left was legendary in their younger days with the Brisbane Strikers and although its early days, this season looks promising for the renewal of that partnership.

Kosta Barbarouses and Thomas Broich likewise are also finding their feet. Both are skilful on the ball, but lack the physical threat of a big centre forward like Reinaldo. If the Roar are going to score lots of goals in this campaign, they will by necessity have to play good one-touch football to create the chances they need.

Brisbane started well in this game, but were not able to sustain fluid midfield passing in the first half. Wellington were solid defensively and resisted being drawn out of shape by the Roar's midfield movement, and gradually made the game a contest for the ball.

The best chances in the first half hour fell to Wellington. In the 33rd minute, McAllister's header from a corner was goal-bound, but Theoklitos managed to parry it up in the air, and Mitch Nichols headed it away to safety. McAllister had another chance from an Ifill cross in the 38th minute.

Just before half-time the Roar sprang into life, with a couple of counter-attacking moves. In the 41st minute Kosta Barbarouses played an outstanding pass to put Mitch Nichols in the clear, but Mark Paston came out to save at Nichols's feet. Then Henrique's surging run and pass put Broich one-on-one with Paston, but the keeper was again up to the task. To be truthful, both Nichols and Broich should have made life more difficult for Paston, but the keeper's swift and decisive work deserves credit.

Paul Ifill and Leo Bertos had shooting opportunities from outside the penalty area, but Theoklitos covered them comfortably.

The second half took almost 25 minutes before it really ignited as well. A snap-shot volley from Ifill gave Theoklitos some work in the 54th minute.

Both coaches produced attacking substitutions on the hour. Reinaldo came on for Mitch Nichols for the Roar, and Pavlovic for McAllister to bolster the Phoenix.

Although both super-subs had a role to play, Reinaldo's contribution proved the more decisive.

On 72 minutes, Reinaldo battled Sigmund for the ball and dispossessed him. He played it back to Stefanutto who knocked it square to McKay. McKay to Barbarouses to McKay to Barbarouses and the young Kiwi was in position to slide it past Paston into the right corner of the goal.

It was a high quality goal in all aspects, and worthy to win the game.

Pavlovic carved out a couple of chances for himself late in the game, but on each occasion Theoklitos was there for the save.

Two 1-0 wins does not make the Roar world-beaters, or even top contenders for the A-League. The form in defence of Matt Smith and Michael Theoklitos has been just as big a contributor to the early success as those further up the field.

But Roar fans are certainly hopeful. Massimo Murdocca's return to full fitness will further improve the passing and mobility of the midfield, and we are still yet to even get a glimpse of the Costa Rican striker Jean Carlo Solorzano.

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 4
8pm, Friday 27 August, 2010 - Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 1
(Kosta Barbarouses 73')

Wellington Phoenix FC 0

    Crowd: 7,339


    Brisbane Roar FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH, 3. Luke DEVERE, 4. Shane STEFANUTTO, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES (8. Massimo MURDOCCA +88'), 10. HENRIQUE, 15. Matt McKAY (c), 17. Mitch NICHOLS (11 REINALDO +63'), 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Milan SUSAK

    Substitutes not used: 12. Matt MUNDY, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (rgk)

    Coach: Ange Postecoglou

    Yellow Cards: Matt McKay ’
    Red Cards: Nil

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 8. Paul IFILL, 9. Chris GREENACRE (13. Troy HEARFIELD +80'), 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Dylan MACALLISTER ( 14. Mirjan PAVLOVIC +66')
    Substitutes not used: 11. Daniel, 19. Danny VUKOVIC (rgk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Ifill, Lia, Brown, Durante, Pavlovic
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Chris Beath 8/10
    Assistants: tba; Fourth Official: tba

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    Game rating: 7/10

    Best players :

    3. Kosta Barbarouses (Brisbane)
    2. Paul Ifill (Wellington)
    1. Michael Theoklitos (Brisbane)

    Match Report by 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.

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