Roar determined to keep season alive


Brisbane Roar will not allow the disappointment of losing last Friday night’s Hyundai A-League Elimination Final to Adelaide United overshadow tomorrow’s do-or-die AFC Champions League clash with Urawa Red Diamonds at Gold Coast Stadium (7pm kick-off).

Despite overcoming an early goal to equalise before half-time, Adelaide scored a late winner through substitute Awer Mabil at the Adelaide Oval to knock the reigning Hyundai A-League Champions out of this year’s title race.

However, midfielder Luke Brattan said the focus had quickly turned to tomorrow’s Match Day Six clash with the current J-League leaders in a game that currently third-placed Brisbane needs to win to stay in contention for the knockout Round of 16.

Along with a win, the Queensland club also needs to rely on K-League Classic side Suwon Samsung FC to beat Group G table toppers Beijing Guoan in the other MD6 encounter, which will be played at the same time in Suwon, South Korea.

“To be honest, we’re still pretty happy – we’ve always been a happy bunch and we’re a close team,” Brattan said.

“It was tough down in Adelaide but that’s credit to the A-League and where it’s going at the moment.

“We’re disappointed but in good spirits and looking forward to tomorrow night.

“We are out of the A-League now so all focus is on this game.” 

While Urawa is top of the Japanese first division, the Reds has struggled in the current AFC Champions League campaign, recording just one point in the previous five group stage matches in 2015.

The previous meeting with Urawa at Saitama Stadium in the first week of March was the scene of the Roar’s first AFC Champions League victory in three campaigns.

Roar interim Head Coach Frans Thijssen said his team would take the lessons of that historic 1-0 win.

“Of course we’ll use that (experience),” the Dutchman said.

“We had a great result there – they’re a good team but haven’t gotten many points.

“But we’ll have to see what players are playing tomorrow because they have a big squad and a lot of quality players.”

Urawa Head Coach Mihailo Petrovic admitted his squad for tomorrow night game included “fresh players” after the Red’s top-of-the-table 1-0 win over Gamba Osaka on Sunday.

A notable omission at training at Gold Coast Stadium today was Urawa’s Slovenian danger man Zlatan Ljubijankic, who scored his team’s winner at the weekend. Team officials later confirmed Ljubijankic had not travelled to Australia.

Petrovic his new-look team would test the Roar.

“We can’t advance to the next stage but we are playing for our pride, not just in Japan but across all of Asia,” Petrovic said through an interpreter.

Tickets for tomorrow’s match are on sale via Ticketek and are only $10 for adults, $5 children and $25 for a family (two adults/two children) if pre-purchased. Tickets include public transport to and from Gold Coast Stadium.