It’s just over a year since Brisbane Roar found out they’d be contesting the AFC Champions League and the moment of truth has finally arrived.
It-s just over a year since Brisbane Roar found out they-d be contesting the AFC Champions League and the moment of truth has finally arrived.
Tomorrow night, Brisbane Roar host their first ever AFC Champions League match at their home stadium Brisbane Stadium against FC Tokyo, who qualified after winning Japan-s Emperor-s Cup on New Year-s Day.
It is also the Japanese side-s maiden foray into the ACL as well and both teams have the honour of competing in the competition-s opening fixture for 2012.
For Brisbane Roar Head Coach Ange Postecoglou, his excitement was hard to contain when posed the opening question at today-s official pre-match press conference at Brisbane Stadium.
“It-s the first time the club has been involved in the Champions League and it-s the first time we-ll see it here,” he said.
“It-s exciting, we-ve known we-re going to be in it for a while so you-ve got to try and suppress that excitement because there-s a little thing called the A-League to look at.
“We-re travelling along okay there but certainly, we-re looking forward to tomorrow night.
“It-s a bit of an adventure for us, for the players and the club itself – that-s the most important thing.”
FC Tokyo touched down in Brisbane in the early hours of this morning without captain and playmaker Yohei Kajiyama and striker Lucas Severino.
The duo were left behind after pulling up sore from the club-s Super Cup loss to Kashiwa Reysol on Saturday – Serbian coach Ranko Popovic deciding not to risk his key players with their impending busy schedule, including the kick-off of their domestic campaign this coming weekend.
Brisbane are themselves without one of their star players with midfielder Mitch Nichols failing to recover after a groin complaint sustained in Friday night-s 1-1 draw with Melbourne Heart but will welcome back Brazilian livewire Henrique, who will play against Tokyo in between his two suspended A-League matches.
Postecoglou was keen to highlight the positives and was confident his team would do the Australian football community proud with their performance tomorrow night.
“For us, the focus has been all along on making sure that we represent ourselves really well in this competition,” he said.
“Because it-s not just about Brisbane Roar, you represent your whole country and more particularly, the league you play in.
“From our point of view, our focus has been all along that we represent ourselves the same way we do in the A-League week in week out.
“That is to play the type of football we-ve become known for, have the same type of discipline, attitude and respect for the opposition that we have in the A-League and carry these traits through to this competition.”
The Roar coach knew it wouldn-t be easy against the newly promoted J-League club, who recorded a goal difference of +45 in their domination of the Japanese second division last season and finishing eight points clear of their nearest challengers, but he assured all present he had given it plenty of thought.
“In terms of challenges, there are many,” Postecoglou said.
“We know FC Tokyo will be a tough opponent and a different opponent to what we-re used to in the A-League but even that-s exciting.
“It keeps me thinking, it keeps me from sleeping and from doing all those other great things that everyone else does.”
Brisbane Roar face FC Tokyo in their first ever AFC Champions League fixture on Tuesday, 6 March 2012. Kick-off at Brisbane Stadium is at 7.30pm. Tickets available through Ticketek.
Tuesday, 6 March
Brisbane Roar v FC Tokyo
Venue: Brisbane Stadium
Local kick-off: 7:30pm
Referee: Kovalenko Valentin