Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7 Finals Series

Broich's happy feet tie Mariners in knots
By Andrew Demack

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - 2v1 Major Semi Final (1st leg)
4:30pm, Saturday 31 March, 2012
at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 2
(Henrique 8, Erik Paartalu 86)
Central Coast Mariners FC 0

Having conceded the 'Premier's Plate' to Central Coast Mariners only last weekend, Brisbane Roar came storming back to remind the Mariners that they are still Champions, putting in a convincing performance to take a 2-0 lead into the second leg of the A-League major semifinal.

In front of more than 15,000 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane turned on their best performance since the turn of the year, winning with goals to Henrique in the 8th minute and Erik Paartalu in the 86th minute.

And in the nearly one hour and twenty minutes between the two goals, Brisbane were the better team right across the park. A defiant Matt Ryan kept the visitors in the game in the first half, and superb defending from Patrick Zwaanswijk kept Brisbane at bay for almost all the second half.

But it was the magic feet of Thomas Broich which finally set up the second goal, giving the Roar a very strong platform for the second leg in Gosford next weekend.

Both sides lined up at full strength for this clash. There can be no excuses.

Central Coast were spearheaded by Bernie Ibini, with Mustafa Amini and Thomas Rogic just behind him. But the diamond-type attacking formation means that the Mariners' excellent wide midfield players Oliver Bozanic and Michael McGlinchey operate from deeper than you would like, because they need to provide defensive coverage.

Brisbane managed to keep the Mariners fullbacks Josh Rose and Pedj Bojic entirely occupied with defending for just about the whole game. Rose got forward for one counter-attacking breakout, but the dominance of possession and territory for the home team meant that the Mariners could rarely commit many players forward in attack.

The game started with Brisbane in a hurry. The Mariners could never settle for a second on the ball, with Brisbane swarming all over them. Berisha was especially tigerish, defending from the front.

Wilkinson, Zwaanswijk and Hutchinson were under the pump and often had to pass it back to Ryan to get out of trouble, resulting in the long hopeful ball forward.

Brisbane settled quickly into their rhythm, and it was Berisha who fed the ball through to Henrique in the box in the 7th minute. Rose could only foul the flying Brazilian.

However, Matt Ryan stood tall for the penalty, guessed right and saved low to his left. That is the second penalty miss by Henrique in two weeks, and the third unsuccessful penalty for Brisbane this year (Adnan also having one saved by Clint Bolton against Melbourne Heart). Surely Berisha or Nichols must now take over as the penalty taker.

But Ryan couldn't keep Brisbane out from the resulting corner. Broich put it right on the head of Matt Smith. Ryan saved the header but Henrique cleaned up the scraps.

Brisbane created three more really good goal-scoring chances in the first half. Broich fed a perfect ball through to Berisha in the box. Berisha thought he had rounded Ryan, only to find as he was about to tap the ball into the net, that he no longer had it. It was in Ryan's hands.

Then Berisha miraculously wriggled free of two Mariners defenders and fired off a left-foot snapshot from the edge of the box. Ryan tipped it over, a fine save.

And then Thomas Broich, put into space by Berisha, missed the target at the near post, hitting his shot first time when there might have been time to steady.

By the end of the first half, McGlinchey and Bozanic were having to drop very deep to get the ball, but they were still having trouble creating chances further up the park. Mariners finished the half strongly though, with two corners in the last minute of the half.

The momentum swung the way of the visitors early in the second half, and a ball across the face of goal wasn't dealt with by three Roar defenders, leaving Rogic with the chance to head it into the net. An off-balance Michael Theoklitos made a great stop, to retain his side's lead.

For a short period Central Coast decided to take the Roar on, and committed players forward in attack. This gave Brisbane more space to attack into, and Broich especially was a constant creative threat.

At the hour mark, Nick Fitzgerald and Luke Brattan replaced Henrique and Murdocca. Fitzgerald must be a strong chance of displacing Henrique in the starting line-up soon, because he has been excellent in his last two outings off the bench.

On this occasion he worked a series of passes with Franjic and Paartalu which led to him setting up a great chance for Mitch Nichols. However, Nichols could only poke it wide with his left foot.

Then Paartalu was set up for the shot himself, and made the crossbar twang with a mighty drive.

It seemed that Brisbane were destined not to add to their lead. 1-0 would have to be enough to take down to Gosford.

And then Broich, set free down the left, teased and tormented Bojic and McGlinchey and Wilkinson, driving and turning and stopping and propping, and finally sliding it to Paartalu who buried a low shot from the edge of the box.

That was the 86th minute, and that was a big big blow to the championship hopes of the Central Coast Mariners.

Brisbane's big-match dominance of the Mariners continued. These two teams are far and away the best in the competition. But it seems from the evidence of tonight's encounter, that an on-song Brisbane Roar is still too much for Central Coast Mariners to handle.

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - 2v1 Major Semi Final (1st leg)
4:30pm, Saturday 31 March, 2012
at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 2
(Henrique 8, Erik Paartalu 86)

Central Coast Mariners FC 0

    Crowd: 15,081


    Brisbane Roar FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH (c), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Besart BERISHA, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA (18. Luke BRATTAN +62), 10. HENRIQUE (24. Nick FITZGERALD +62), 16. Mohamed ADNAN, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 22. Thomas BROICH
    Substitutes not used: 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (rgk), 4. Matt JURMAN, 19. Jack HINGERT

    Coach: Ange Postecoglou

    Yellow Cards: HENRRIQUE 8, Matt SMITH 37
    Red Cards: Nil

    Central Coast Mariners FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mathew RYAN (gk), 3. Joshua ROSE 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 9. Bernie IBINI (12. Troy HEARFIELD +76), 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 17. Tomas ROGIC (2. Daniel McBREEN +67), 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 22. Mustafa AMINI (23. Adam KWASNIK +83)
    Substitutes not used: 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 20. Justin PASFIELD (rgk)

    Coach: Graham Arnold

    Yellow Cards: Josh ROSE 6, Alex WILKINSON 23, John HUTCHINSON 73, Patrick ZWAANSWIJK 80
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Srebre Delovski 8/10
    Assistant referees: Scott Edeling, Ryan Gallagher; Fourth official: Alan Milliner

    BOTN Player Points:
    Such an even contest the points have to go to the best midfielders and the goal keeper at each end:

    3. Thomas Broich (BR) is all class
    2. Patrick Zwaanswijk (CCM) best defender going round
    1. Mathew Ryan (CCM) prevented a rout

    Pitch rating: 8/10 - holding up well despite the start of rugby league season

    Game rating: 8/10 - high quality, exciting stuff

    Match Report and ratings: By Andrew Demack

A-League: 2011-2012 Season
BOTN Team Podcast - No.2
'Round 27, and into the Finals'


No photos this time

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