Brisbane target first M1 Derby win

In a stellar season which has witnessed an array of firsts for Hyundai A-League Premiers Brisbane Roar, the club is eyeing off another tomorrow night in their final fixture of the regular season – a maiden win against M1 Derby rivals Gold Coast United.

In a stellar season which has witnessed an array of firsts for Hyundai A-League Premiers Brisbane Roar, the club is eyeing off another tomorrow night in their final fixture of the regular season – a maiden win against M1 Derby rivals Gold Coast United.

Over the past six months, the Roar have recorded first wins at the Sydney Football Stadium and Dairy Farmers Stadium, as well as finding their feet to beat Adelaide United for the first time at Suncorp Stadium.

Their 4-1 win over Wellington Phoenix in early November ended the New Zealand side-s two year unbeaten streak at Westpac Stadium, with the result also propelling Brisbane Roar into prime spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder – a position they have held since.

The current unbeaten streak of 24 matches without defeat is an Australian club football record, a run which also includes the Hyundai A-League record for unbeaten matches on the road, which presently stands at 12.

With 14 different goal scorers over the course of the campaign, Brisbane Roar also became the first Hyundai A-League team to notch up more than 50 goals in one season.

Fresh from their last training session for the week, Brisbane midfielder Erik Paartalu said a win against Gold Coast United on their return to Suncorp Stadium would be a perfect way to cap off what has been a magnificent season for the Roar.

While yet to record a victory against Miron Bleiberg-s men in five attempts, Paartalu said confidence was high in the Roar camp.

“We haven-t been at Suncorp for a while, it will mean a lot to us playing at our home ground again, especially with a big game against the Gold Coast,” he said.

“We-ll be fired up, it-s a local derby, so I can-t wait.

“We-re going for all three points and having never beaten the Gold Coast before, it-s a massive game for us.”

With the premiership silverware to be presented post-match regardless of Saturday night-s result, Paartalu said the squad had had no intentions of collecting anything but maximum points.

“It will leave a sour taste in our mouths (if we don-t get all three points), we want to keep the unbeaten run as well,” he said.

“Gold Coast is a team that we-ve struggled against in the previous games but we feel like we-re up for it.”

Brisbane-s attacking options have suffered a blow with in-form striker James Meyer out with a toe injury he sustained in Tuesday night-s clash against North Queensland Fury.

With Costa Rican import Jean Carlos Solorzano still recovering from a quad strain, the goal-scoring responsibility will fall heavily on the shoulders of 20-year-old Kosta Barbarouses.

While Barbarouses is goalless in 2011, he has managed to find back of the net on 10 occasions this season and opened the scoring the last time these two sides met on Boxing Day.

Henrique is also expected to start against the Gold Coast with coach Ange Postecoglou tipping him for an hour-long stint on the park.

The quick-footed Brazilian proved a bright spark on Tuesday night, terrorising the Fury defence and popping up to score the decisive goal less than 15 minutes after taking the field as a substitute.

After three matches at Gold Coast-s Skilled Park, Paartalu said the prospect of returning to Suncorp Stadium to play in front of a vocal crowd was an exciting one.

While the venue is undergoing renovations following the flood, the former Greenock Morton midfielder predicted business as normal.

“It will be nothing different once we get on the pitch, that-s the main thing,” Paartalu said.

“It will be good to get the ball down and play our usual passing game, get back to our basic style of play which I think we-ve been missing in the last couple of games.

“I think we can still improve…I think we-ve got another gear in us.”

If the Roar avoid defeat against United, the club will become the first team in Hyundai A-League history to finish a regular season undefeated at home.

Brisbane Roar v Gold Coast United
Saturday, 12 February 2011
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Local kick-off: 8:15pm (9.15pm AEDT)
Peter Green
Assistant referees: Ashley Beecham David Walsh
Fourth official: Jarred Gillett

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 2, FS2 HD and Sky Sports 1 (NZ). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au

Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH, 4. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10. HENRIQUE, 12. Matt MUNDY, 14. Rocky VISCONTE, 15. Matt McKAY (capt), 16. Daniel BOWLES, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Chris BUSH, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Milan SUSAK
*two to be omitted*

In: 19. Chris BUSH (promoted), 18. Luke BRATTAN (promoted), 16. Daniel BOWLES (promoted)

Out: 21. James MEYER (toe injury)

Unavailable: 8. Massimo MURDOCCA (quad injury – 1 week), 9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO (quad injury – 1 week)

Gold Coast United: 1.Glen MOSS [gk], 2.Steve PANTELIDIS, 3.Michael THWAITE (c), 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 8.ANDERSON, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 15.Tahj MINNIECON, 16.Kristian REES, 19.Andrew BARISIC, 20.Scott HIGGINS [gk], 22.Adama TRAORE, 23.Steve FITZSIMMONS, 26.Ben HALLORAN, 27.Chris HAROLD, 31.Josh BRILLANTE, 33.Peter PERCHTOLD, 34.Sung-Kil KIM.
*four to be omitted*

In: 7.Zenon CARAVELLA (return from hip injury), 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK (return from ankle injury), 26.Ben HALLORAN (promoted), 34.Sung-Kil KIM (promoted).

Out: Nil.

Unavailable: Bruce DJITE (hamstring injury – 1 week), John CURTIS (shoulder injury – season), 10.Jason CULINA (knee injury – season), ROBSON (hamstring injury – 4 weeks), Joel PORTER (calf injury – 2 weeks), Daniel PIORKOWSKI (ankle injury – indefinite), Matt OSMAN (knee injury – season).

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