Brisbane Roar will face ladder leaders Melbourne City this Sunday away at AAMI Park in Round 20 of the Isuzu UTE A-League.
Melbourne City are undefeated in their last 16 games against Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park and Brisbane will be looking to put a halt to this winless streak at the venue this weekend.
City are on the cusp of their 150th win in the Isuzu UTE A-League and they have not won more games against any other team than they have against Brisbane.
The Roar will be looking to win back-to-back games in Victoria for the first time in competition history after picking up a 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory in their last game in the state.
Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City last played each other on January 21 in Round 13 of the Isuzu UTE A-League in a match that ended 0-0 at Kayo Stadium, but was full of goal chances on both ends.
The first bit of action was seen in the 22nd minute where Marco Tilio crossed the ball for a header from Jamie McLaren that Jordan Holmes got his hands to comfortably.
A few moments later, Jay O’Shea took a corner that sparked opportunity, seeing Scott Neville attempt a header and Tom Aldred taking a shot off a half volley that was saved by City’s Thomas Glover.
Joe Knowles came close to putting Brisbane on the board in the 35th minute when he carried the ball through the 18-yard box and delivered a piercing shot to the bottom right corner that went wide of the post.
Henry Hore stripped the ball from Melbourne City defence and laid the ball off to Carlo Armiento for a shot with his left foot to the top left corner that was saved once again by Glover in the 65th minute.
After a challenge by Jordan Courtney-Perkins in the 77th minute that regained Brisbane possession, he sent a ball through to Henry Hore who passed into the box for Carlo Armiento, who was unable to direct it into goal.
Chaos in the goal area found the ball at Henry Hore’s feet in the 88th minute seeing him shoot to the near post in what was the last opportunity for the Roar.
The last chance for Melbourne City was in the third minute of added time when Andrew Nabbout put a long ball through to Jamie McLaren whose shot goes wide of the left post.
Melbourne City have won six of their last eight games against Brisbane Roar, keeping clean sheets in each of their last two meetings and there is no doubt that the Roar will be determined to change that.
The Roar have made 60 long passes per game this Isuzu UTE A-League season, the most of any team in the competition and nine per game more than Melbourne City.
Jay O’Shea has played nine passes into the box per game this Isuzu UTE A-League season, the second-most of any player in the competition behind only Adelaide United’s Craig Goodwin.
Interim Head Coach Nick Green is putting plans in place for the Roar’s Melbourne City clash and believes with every quality team there are always areas to capitalise on.
Green understands that Melbourne City have Socceroo no.9 Jamie Maclaren in their forward pack and believes it will present the Roar with a good challenge, but nothing they cannot handle.
“He’s a quality striker, he’s a quality player. It’s really important that our units are all in sync, and we’re working together as a team, and we’ve got that unity about what we’re trying to achieve,” Green said.
“I think with that, we will hopefully limit the opportunities Jamie can get this weekend,” he added.
Green knows his squad will need to be at their best against the ladder leaders and is confident in his approach going into the match.
“They’re a quality team, and they’ve been there for a couple of years now and there’s a reason for that. They’ve got a consistency, and I think every team in the league is looking to find some consistency,” he said.
“We’re sort of in week three of what we’re trying to do. It is down to what we do and how we can affect the opposition.”
Green remains positive in the pursuit of a finals spot, saying “nothing is impossible” as there are still 21 points to play for, and will take each game as they come.
Veteran defender Scott Neville is anticipating a good challenge from the game against Melbourne City and looks to implement positives from their last match this Sunday.
“They’re a good team, they’ve been up the top for a few years now, but it presents a good challenge for us. We came into the game well last week, and we’ll look to continue the back end of that performance,” Neville said.
He believes that Maclaren will be a good test to Brisbane defence after being in contention to surpass Besart Berisha’s record of 142 A-League goals, sitting on 138 currently.
“He’s a goal threat, he’s up there, he’s going to break the all-time record, it’s inevitable that he will. He’s a great striker and he’s part of the Socceroos, he’s the main no.9 in the league,” Neville said.
“We take every game by game, this week’s probably a very tough challenge down at AAMI Park but we go there full of confidence. All the boys are excited to get down to Melbourne and play on a great pitch, and hopefully we can come away with the three points.”
Catch the action on Paramount+ and 10Bold. KO 2:00pm at AAMI Park.
Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s Squad: 1. Macklin Freke, 2. Scott Neville, 5. Thomas Aldred, 7. Rahmat Akbari, 10. Nikola Mileusnic, 11. Jez Lofthouse, 12. Taras Gomulka, 13. Henry Hore, 15. Noah Smith, 16. Josh Brindell-South, 17. Carlo Armiento, 19. Jack Hingert, 21. Marcel Canadi, 22. Stefan Scepovic, 23. Jordan Holmes, 26. Jay O’Shea, 27. Kai Trewin, 32. James Nikolovski, 35. Louis Zabala, 40. Cardiff Pond, 99. Ayom Majok.
Outs: 3. Jordan Courtney-Perkins (Suspended), 14. Robbie Kruse (Injured), 28. Joe Knowles (Injured)