Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

Roar bounce back
By Adrian Demack

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 13
7:30pm, Saturday 31 December, 2011
at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 3
(Mitch Nichols 44’, Rocky Visconte 50’, Ivan Franjic 53')
Melnourne Victory FC 1
(Harry Kewell 3')

(linked from FFA web site)

Brisbane have returned to form with a 3-1 win against Melbourne Victory, with the champions finishing the night with a performance to match the rest of their year.

Brisbane’s recent run has been a huge reality check for the entire club, and to see how much this win meant to them you had to look no further than the top.

The usually calm, seated, reserved Ange Postecoglou ran onto the field when the third goal went in. He was excited. It was a proper Roar goal. They weren’t possibly just scrapping this win, in that second half, Brisbane were back.

And you’d have to say, the manager could have felt a fair bit of satisfaction, with his formation tweak contributing largely to the win. Brisbane have played their traditional 4-3-3 during the losing streak, with Stefanutto and Franjic pushing on from the wings. Almost all the goals scored against the Roar have just been breaks into the space left when the two fullbacks go forward.

This week Brisbane tried something different, lining up in a 3-4-3. Adnan, Smith and Jurman all capably controlled the back and Paartalu, Franjic, and Stefanutto were able to be more positive midfielders, particularly the two on the wings.

But you could have been forgiven for thinking Ange had made a huge mistake 3 minutes in when Australia’s favourite son, Harry Kewell, grabbed his first goal from open play in the A-League.

A wayward pass back to Smith was nabbed by Kewell who ran, touched it onto his left and unleashed a bullet from 20 out to the near post. A stunning strike as the man, who you wouldn’t think should be needing to win people over, showed just what he can produce.

And again, an error at the back has cost the Roar an early goal. And you can see the nervousness, you can smell it. The Roar’s system requires confidence and they just seemed drained of the stuff. The passes weren’t zipping, the movement wasn’t in front of them, the dribbling was going in circles, but not in a good way.

But they kept passing, keeping the ball. The Victory do almost invite this, and why not, with a team with Archie Thompson, Hernandez and ‘HK’, just to name a few, playing for the counter can be very lethal.

But the Roar grew in confidence, particularly the two former full backs, now turned out right wingers. Just before half time, after Paartalu scraped in the box to draw two defenders(again, something unheard of in the system played a week ago) he was able to knock it wide to Stefanutto, who delivered a rather ordinary cross.

Nichols however was in the right area, and dived across his defender to perfect deliver the ball into the far corner, evening the game before half time.

Sure it was Stefanutto and Paartalu involved in the opener, but the real beneficiary of this tweak was Ivan Franjic.

Franjic has been electric all season, but without the chain of defensive work (which he does well also) he was able to take the game on, one defender at a time.

Franjic has that potential, that has been missing from the Roar recently. The ability to take defenders on, be it just skinning them with pace down the wing, or cutting back inside and linking the play through the centre.

He was always threatening on the ball, and his goal was magnificent, but the one proceeding it was just as good.

On the 49th minute Berisha, who had been his usually pestering self, nipped on a ball just in the opposition half. He was able to just give the pass to a soaring Rocky Visconte through the middle. Heading down the left of the box, and not particularly known for his finishing, it looked like Rock was going to square it to Nichols, but in all likelihood fizzle to nothing.

Instead, he has a look, and drives the ball past Ante Covic and into the far corner. You couldn’t ask for a better finish from that position. Covic should have had it covered, but second guessing Visconte proved a vital error.

And Brisbane were in front. For the first time in over a month, the champions had the lead. Could they hold on for the next 40 minutes?

Well, yes, quite comprehensively. Once they had the lead, everything was clicking again. As was previously said, the Brisbane system requires confidence. Confidence needs goals and results. This group of players had found the goals, and were on their way to a result.

Brisbane announced they were back with a Roar on the 52nd minute mark, when Franjic combined with Berisha for the third. Franjic started his run on the half way line, and looked menacing as he had all game. With defenders hanging off him he took the ball through the middle. He fired the ball forward seeing Berisha’s run on the edge of the box. The striker was able to hold the ball up and wait for Franjic to continue his central run, slid a well timed ball into his path who obligingly buried the ball deep. Brisbane probably haven’t scored a better goal this season.

They still had plenty of time left, and continued to threaten. Melbourne occasionally nabbed the ball, but Thompson and Kewell were both well off the mark after starting brightly, and Hernandez, much to his disgust, was substituted at the 63rd minute mark.

Thompson, who had the armband after the withdrawal of usual skipper Leijer, had a few chances, the ones where you wouldn’t be too frightened, except its Archie Thompson. He did appear to leave his astonishing finishing boots at home however, with all his shots homing straight into Theoklitos.

So Brisbane took, you’d almost say a vital three points from the game, still without talisman Thomas Broich. He is still being missed. When the stadium screen showed him in the stands one of the biggest cheers of the night came from the 15,000 strong crowd. The German managed a poorly concealed smile. Not even the humble star could now deny how much better this side is with him in it.

But Brisbane have found a tweak. They were lacking up front and have had three good standard centre halves battling for two spots, it seems logical to kill two birds with one stone now. Whether it will now be Brisbane’s standard remains to be seen.

Melbourne were unfortunately quite poor. With all this greatness up the front, you kind of feel the link isn’t there from defense to attack. The quality of ball those attackers get, is workable because the front talent is good enough to deal with it, but giving them so much work to just get the ball, it won’t always work out, and today it didn’t.

Hernandez played dismally. One of the key points in the last month has been the attacking midfielder shutting down Paartalu. Hernandez was just uninterested, always three steps behind, so Paartalu was able to do what he liked. And in attack, one fails to recall a significant play of the ball.

So the real question is can Brisbane keep this confidence. Two away games, Perth midweek and then Adelaide would be winnable for the Roar of old, and this Brisbane is more than capable of doing it still, after all, it has only been a month. Results breeds confidence, and Ange won’t let them forget what they’re able to do if they keep moving.

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 13
7:30pm, Saturday 31 December, 2011
at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 3
(Mitch Nichols 44’, Rocky Visconte 50’, Ivan Franjic 53')
Melnourne Victory FC 1
(Harry Kewell 3')

    Crowd: 14,852


    Brisbane Roar FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH (c), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO (19. Jack HINGERT 80’), 4. Matt JURMAN, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Besart BERISHA, 14. Rocky VISCONTE, 16. Mohamed ADNAN, 17. Mitch NICHOLS (8. Massimo MURDOCCA 55’), 18. Luke BRATTAN (11. Issey NAKAJIMA-FARRAN 69’)

    Substitutes not used: 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (rgk)

    Coach: Ange Postecoglou

    Yellow Cards: Mohamed ADNAN 33’
    Red Cards: Nil

    Melbourne Victory FC :
    Player listing:
    21. Ante COVIC (gk), 2. Matthew FOSCHINI, 3. FABIO, 4. Petar FRANJIC, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 10. Archie THOMPSON (c), 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diego FERREIRA (8. Grant BREBNER 64’), 14. Billy CELESKI (19. Isaka CERNAK 76’), 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ (18. Daniel ALLSOPP 64’), 22. Harry KEWELL

    Substitutes not used: 20. Lawrence THOMAS (rgk)

    Coach: Mehmet Durakovic

    Yellow Cards: Rodrigo VARGAS 20’, Billy CELESKI 44’, Daniel ALLSOPP 78’
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: 8/10
    Assistant referees: Ashley Beecham, Brad Hobson; Fourth official: Adam Kersey

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Ivan Franjic (BR) - Best game of his career, hopefully it’s the new role and not just a one off
    2. Besart Berisha (BR) - Didn’t get a goal himself, but set both up in the second half and just doesn’t give up on the ball
    1. Harry Kewell (MV) - Lovely strike. Continued to try all game, but he can’t do it all himself. He is really trying though, and for some reason that seems surprising. I think he knows he’s not above it now, he’s really going to have to dig, but when he does, he is in another class

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    Game rating: 8/10

    Match Report and ratings: By Adrian Demack

Nil photos

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. Any photos used here, unless attributed, are as implicitly supplied by FFA and used by assumed permission.

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