Hyundai A-League - 2012/2013 - Season 8

Jeremy Ruane also reports
[ More .... ]

Frequent flyers clock up
a rare home win
By Andrew Demack

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 21
4pm, Sunday 17 February, 2013
at Suncorp Stadium

Brisbane Roar FC 2
(Steven Lustica 33’, Besart Berisha 49')

Wellington Phoenix FC 0

OK, so maybe it was 7th vs 10th on the A-League table, and the overall standard reflected that situation, but nonetheless home fans were pleased with Brisbane Roar’s 2-0 result over Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium this afternoon.

It was a trying week for the Brisbane faithful. After yet another A-League loss (the 11th one of the season) last Sunday against Sydney, the team flew to Thailand, and turned in an insipid performance against Buriram United over 120 minutes, only to lose their Asian Champions League qualifier on penalties.

So the team clocked 18 hours flying time this week.

And in the same week, maybe in business class on the plane on the way home, Brisbane Roar’s board made the decision to offer Mike Mulvey a long-term coaching deal. No Roar fan I have spoken to in the last week understands the timing of this event, although more than a few are still willing to be supportive of Mulvey, despite his poor start in charge of the first team.

So the once-champions lined up against Wellington Phoenix, on results the weakest team in the competition, the one with the worst goal difference, the second worst attack, and the second worst defence.

Even with Brisbane’s ordinary form, this surely was one to mark down as a home win?

And yet, it was Wellington which had the ball in the back of the opposition net after 8 minutes. A ball in from the left by Tony Lochhead, and Corey Gameiro got rid of the attentions of Jade North. His first attempt was saved by Michael Theo but he followed up and nodded the ball home.

Gameiro and company’s celebrations were short-lived, as the assistant referee had spotted an infringement. North drew the freekick from his tussle with Gameiro, but the decision could easily have been play on. A very very lucky escape for Brisbane, the team which has not recorded a win yet this season after being behind on the scoreboard.

So the Roar had the chance then to settle into their pattern of play. The midfield of Murdocca, Lustica and Brattan at least has plenty of energy, and was winning the ball well and giving it forward.

Ben Halloran received the ball in space a couple of times in the first 20 minutes, but both times he dithered, and as a result nothing came of the chances.

Then in the 33rd minute, Halloran was involved in the first goal. He received the ball wide right from Massimo Murdocca. Halloran set off on a diagonal run, and eventually fed the ball out to Broich on the left. Broich held up the pass, teasing the defence, and eventually timed it perfectly to the over-lapping Stefanutto.

Stefanutto had time to look up and pick out Steven Lustica in the box. Lustica’s calm finish was nothing more than passing the ball into the corner of the goal. A fine first goal for the club from a player who is thus far easily the best of the newcomers to the club.

So Brisbane were ahead at the break. Wellington were energetic into the tackle, as per usual. But also as per usual the Nix could not pass their way out of a wet paper bag.

The second half’s key moment demonstrated this shortcoming in spades. Sigmund and Durante and Muscat got it all wrong and Luke Brattan emerged with the ball. He sized up the situation quickly and slipped the ball through to Besart Berisha. With ample time and space to work in, Berisha produced a fine left-foot shot to beat Glen Moss and condemn the Phoenix to its 11th loss of the season (equal with Heart, Glory and Roar as the most losses).

It would be a massive stretch (and that’s probably not good for you) to see this as any sort of turning point or milestone for Brisbane.

Mulvey mentioned the frequent flyer miles while praising his team after the game. But there have been more missteps than upgrades since Mulvey took over.

Steven Lustica looks to be a fine addition to the squad, and heopfully Stefan Nijland will also adapt to the A-League. It is obviously Nijland’s lack of pace that has hamperered his career in the Eredivisie, but his skill might be enough to make him a goal threat in the A-League.

Mulvey’s other buy, Jade North, has been terrible in a defence that has been all at sea for a few months now.

Brisbane Roar have major issues to deal with in terms of depth, and lack of outstanding personnel in key roles. If North is the first-choice central defender beside Matt Smith, and Shane Stefanutto, who is now two years past his best, is the first-choice left back, then this is not a defence which is going to win any more A-League titles.

Further up the field the talent and depth is better. With Broich, Nichols and Berisha all suffering major dips in form this season, and Halloran finding it challenging to fit into the Roar system, there is plenty of scope for improvement in the goals-for department, and reason to think that the current players could handle it.

It seems unlikely, even if Brisbane does scrape into the finals series, that this team will play any role in determining the next destination of the toilet seat. But I’m sure that most neutrals would be as delighted as I am with the emergence of the Western Sydney Wanderers. A first-year team winning the title would be an interesting comment on the strength of the A-League.

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 21
4pm, Sunday 17 February, 2013
at Suncorp Stadium

Brisbane Roar FC 2
(Steven Lustica 33’, Besart Berisha 49')

Wellington Phoenix FC 0

    Crowd: 9,282


    Brisbane Roar FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Michael THEO (gk), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 7. Besart BERISHA (29. Kwame YEBOAH 90’), 8. Massimo MURDOCCA (9. Stef NIJLAND 73’), 11. Ben HALLORAN, 13. Jade NORTH (26. Corey BROWN 78’), 14. Steven LUSTICA, 15. James DONACHIE, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Jack HINGERT, 22. Thomas BROICH (c)

    Substitutes not used: 20. Matt ACTON (rgk)

    Coach: Mike Mulvey

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards: Nil

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    20. Glen MOSS (gk), 2. Emmanuel MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Isaka CERNAK (21. Daniel SANCHEZ 27’), 8. Paul IFILL (10. Stein HUYSEGEMS 63’), 12. Tyler BOYD, 16. Louis FENTON, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Corey GAMEIRO

    Substitutes not used: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 7. Leo BERTOS

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Corey GAMEIRO 38’, Ben SIGMUND 74’, Daniel SANCHEZ 83’’
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Alan Milliner 6/10, hard to understand why so many soft fouls were given, in both directions
    Assistant referee 1: Nathan MacDonald, Assistant referee 2: Andrew Lindsay; Fourth official: Adam Kersey

    BOTN Player Points:
    > 3. Corey Gameiro (WP) - a genuine goal threat early, but faded a bit in second half
    2. Luke Brattan (BR) - energetic ball-winning, and his distribution was better than previous game
    1. Steven Lustica (BR)

    Pitch rating: 3/10 - and its getting worse, bare patches, bumpy bits, new sections of turf a different colour

    Game rating: 6/10 - never reached any great heights

    Match report and ratings: By Andrew Demack

No photos this time

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 are as attributed.

Crafted lovingly by hand
By fans, for fans
© Magic Llama 2000 - 2013/font>