Roar have Bluewings in a flap


They don’t like surprises in South Korea.

Living next door to one of the world’s most secretive regimes could be part of the reason, but knowing what to expect from the opposition also seems to be an important part of the sporting culture here.

“What surprises do you have in store for us this time?” was the first question put to Brisbane Roar coach Frans Thijssen at yesterday’s press conference ahead of tonight’s key AFC Champions League Group G showdown with South Korea’s Suwon Samsung FC.

Clearly the South Koreans were caught on the hop when the Roar raced to a 2-0 lead on Match Day Three at Gold Coast Stadium. And from yesterday’s line of questioning, they also appeared to have no pre-game scouting that day on Young Roar graduate Devante Clut who netted a stunning brace in the Roar’s comeback 3-3 draw.

Even though Thijssen assured the hosts “we have no surprises this time, we are just coming here to win”, Suwon seemingly are taking no chances of being caught by surprise again.

Although yesterday’s training session at Suwon’s Big Bird Stadium was listed as “closed” and away from any prying eyes, the second level of the stadium is office space with large glass windows facing the field.

And yesterday when the Roar trained for an hour from 5.15pm, there seemed to be a number of “office workers” doing overtime, although their productivity may have been questioned as they spent most of the 60 minutes watching the Roar.

Roar coaches were alert to any possible “scouting” and played their cards close to their chest during training. There was no hint of any likely Roar Starting XI in any drills and they also opted not to practise set plays.

Thijssen told the press conference he would be happy to repeat the tactics used when the Roar posted its first AFC Champions League win against Urawa Red Diamonds in Japan a month ago – Brandon Borrello scored in the third minute and the Brisbane side defended stoically from there on for the three points.

“If it is 1-0 to us in this game also I will be happy,” Thijssen said.

“What is important for us is we have to attack as a unit then defend as a unit. There will be no surprises. It’s just going to be a tough game.”

Suwon’s Head Coach Seo Jung-Won yesterday echoed Thijssen’s view earlier this week that tonight’s match will be pivotal in deciding which team goes through to the next round with Group G runaway leaders Beijing Guoan (who play Urawa tonight).

“This is a game we must win and will win,”Seo said yesterday.

The South Koreans have described the Roar as a “physical” team that plays with “good structure”.

And Seo hinted his team could attack the Roar with pace down the flanks as they did to score their first goal just before half-time when 0-2 down in the 3-3 draw at Robina three weeks ago.

“They are very organised as would be expected with a Dutch coach (Thijssen),”Seo said. “But we will use our speed to get behind them.”

The Bluewings did not start their domestic season well, losing 1-0 to the unfancied Pohang Steelers, but have recorded three wins on the trot to move into third place on the K-League Classic table.

All three wins have been courtesy of late winners.

“We have been very lucky in our recent (K-League Classic) games,” a club spokesman said.

“Coach Seo was very angry (after AFC Champions League Match Day Three) that we came from 0-2 down to be 3-2 up against Brisbane Roar and then drew the game 3-3. He says that cannot happen again.”

Suwon are still without injured South Korea Asian Cup squad goalkeeper Jung Sung Ryong. Their danger players tonight are expected to be Brazilians Santos and Leo Itaperuna and North Korea and former FC Cologne forward Chong Te Se.

The match will be telecast live on Fox Sports 4 (Channel 505) from 8.30pm.