Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 8

Nervy Brisbane overcome clumsy Sydney
By Andrew Demack

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 27
7:00pm, Thursday 28 March, 2013
at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 3
(Besart Berisha 30', Steven Lustica 52', Ivan Franjic 79')
Sydney FC 1
(Allessandro del Piero 84' pen)

A nervy Brisbane Roar finally booked a ticket to the Big Dance, with a 3-1 win over Sydney FC in front of more than 19,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium last Thursday evening.

If Brisbane were nervy, Sydney were just clumsy, gifting two goals to the home team with misplaced passes inside their own half. Beating Brisbane in Brisbane was always going to be difficult, but handicapping yourself by two goals was much more than this Sydney side could overcome.

The result cemented Brisbane Roar’s fifth place after the regular A-League season. The final series provides an opportunity to redeem an otherwise disappointing season, and Brisbane always fancy their chances against fourth-placed Adelaide, wherever the game is held.

There were a couple of sub-plots to this encounter. It was Sydney FC coach Frank Farina’s first return visit to his old club. Farina was the Roar’s second coach, in charge for the better part of three seasons, before getting the boot over a drink-driving offence.

Farina arrived in Brisbane with a team which despite having Alessandro Del Piero and Joel Griffiths in the front line, was nonetheless only equal with Brisbane on points, and needing to win to go to the finals.

And in the early stages of the match, it was Del Piero who was creating the chances for the visitors, usually on the break. One audacious turn and chip was just wide, but so was a blistering low free kick from Thomas Broich. There were at least three chances each way before Brisbane opened the scoring in the 29th minute, Besart Berisha firing home from a Thomas Broich pass.

The goal came from Roar’s ressure on the ball. They always try to win the ball back high up the pitch. Del Piero received a square pass under pressure from both Broich and Brattan, and tried to lay it off to his central defender Tiago.

Tiago wasn’t where Del Piero thought he was, and Broich was far the quickest to react as the ball was between Rhyan Grant and Tiago. In acres of space, Broich had plenty of time to look up and pick out his striker galloping into the box. Berisha met the low cross and swept it left-footed past Necevski.

The goal didn’t seem to ease the locals nerves all that much. Brisbane had more possession for the rest of the half, pining Sydney back, but the Sky Blues were still dangerous on the break. Just before the half-time Break, Joel Griffiths’ header from a deflected Ali Abbas cross was only just blocked by a desperate Michael Theo.

And straight after the break, it was Griffiths again who had a chance with a header, but Theo saved down low to his left.

Since the pairing of Jade North and James Donachie became Brisbane’s regular centre backs, the side has steadied, and given away fewer goals in the second half of the season. Theo was on his game on this night, but North and Donachie were both getting in vital interceptions in their battle against Griffiths and Del Piero.

At the other end of the field, Berisha has the knack of tying up two central defenders himself, leaving space for others to operate in.

It was Steven Lustica bursting through the middle from deep which put the Sydney defence out of whack before the second goal in the 51st minute. The attack was broken up by Rhyan Grant, but his outlet pass was intercepted by Berisha, who was able to square the pass to Lustica, still upfield and now totally unguarded at the far post to score.

And although the mistake by Grant was tragically bad, Brisbane must at least get the credit for committing men forward in attack. It was four versus four in the Sydney penalty box when Berisha made the intercept. Sydney were disorganised, but they were disorganised because they were under pressure.

With the home team 2-0 up, Sydney needed to make changes, but the problem is that there is little they can to to improve or change their side. Sydney’s plan is based entirely on feeding the ball to Del Piero and Griffiths. Bringing Yau and Chianese into the mix only means that Sydney are either leaving themselves short in the bullet-making department, or are playing with strikers as creators.

Sydney’s problems, in this writer’s opinion, are central. Terry McFlynn’s limitations in central midfield — his lack of passing ability primarily — leave the team short of creative options. When McFlynn was substituted finally, it was Rhyan Grant who moved into central midfield. It’s somewhat baffling. If Grant is a better option there than McFlynn (and the last 15 minutes of play in this game would certainly suggest that), why does he not play in that position from the start?

In the 65th minute a perfect Del Piero freekick landed smack on the head of Seb Ryall, but somehow the header was directed the wrong side of the goalpost. The gulf between the Italian and most of his team-mates must be hard for the little maestro to bear sometimes.

Brisbane added a third goal which took the game beyond Sydney, in the 79th minute. Ivan Franjic, along with Luke Brattan, has been one of the Roar’s best players for the last month, creating spark down the right wing. This night was not one of Franjic’s better games, but he finished the game as a contest with a delightful curling strike from the left corner of the penalty box, set up by a Broich pass.

Sydney pulled back a late goal, with a penalty scored by Del Piero, after Donachie and Griffiths’ 20 metre wrestling match ended with the Sydney striker going to ground inside the box. 3-1 wasn’t nearly enough to be a problem for the Brisbane team, and they march on towards April with some excitement.

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 27
7:00pm, Thursday 28 March, 2013
at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 3
(Besart Berisha 30', Steven Lustica 52', Ivan Franjic 79')
Sydney FC 1
(Allessandro del Piero 84' pen)

    Crowd: 19,010


    Brisbane Roar FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Michael THEO, 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 7. Besart BERISHA, 13. Jade NORTH, 14. Steven LUSTICA (8. Massimo MURDOCCA ‘76), 15. James DONACHIE, 17. Mitchell NICHOLS, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Jack HINGERT (11. Ben HALLORAN ‘82), 22. Thomas BROICH

    Substitutes not used: 20. Matt Acton (rgk), 9. Stefan NIJLAND

    Coach: Mike Mulvey

    Yellow Cards: Theo 85'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Sydney FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 8. Adam GRIFFITHS, 10. Alessandro DEL PIERO, 13. Tiago CALVANO, 15. Terry McFLYNN (3. FABIO +62'), 17. Terry ANTONIS, 22. Ali ABBAS (16. Joel CHIANESE +55'), 23. Rhyan GRANT, 26. Peter TRIANTIS (21. Yairo YAU +55'), 29. Joel GRIFFITHS

    Substitutes not used: 20. Vedran Janjetovic (rgk)

    Coach: Frank Farina

    Yellow Cards: Peter TRIANTIS 32', Rhyan GRANT 54', Adam GRIFFITHS 70', Thiago CALVANO 79''
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Peter Green 7/10
    Assistant Ref 1: tba, Assistant Ref 2: tba; Fourth official: tba

    BOTN Player Points:
    > 3. Luke Brattan (BR)
    2. Alessandro Del Piero (SFC)
    1. Thomas Broich (BR)

    Pitch rating: 4/10

    Game rating: 8/10 ... not top quality, but the nervy excitement of sudden death football

    Match report and ratings: By Andrew 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 are as attributed.

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