Despite the heroes welcome they received upon touchdown at Buriram Airport, Brisbane Roar know to expect a tough encounter on the pitch in tonight’s AFC Champions League qualifier against Buriram United.
Despite the heroes welcome they received upon touchdown at Buriram Airport, Brisbane Roar know to expect a tough encounter on the pitch in tonight-s AFC Champions League qualifier against Buriram United.
Locals swarmed the airport on Monday, chanting, cheering and posing for photographs with the Roar players but Head Coach Mike Mulvey expected a different story when the fans were packed in to Buriram-s New i-Mobile Stadium for the play-off match.
The winner of the qualifier will play in Group E the 2013 edition of the AFC Champions League, alongside FC Seoul (Korea Republic), Vegalta Sendai (Japan) and Jiangsu Sainty (China), with the group stage set to kick off in two weeks.
“We have been impressed with the achievements of Buriram in the past few seasons and we recognise they will be a very difficult opponent tomorrow night,” Mulvey said.
“We are aware that Buriram are in pre-season, as the Thai League doesn’t start until March.
“We have managed to watch them in the pre-season, our Technical Director Rado Vidosic went over to Thailand to see them for one game so we are prepared.”
German midfielder Thomas Broich will continue to captain the current Hyundai A-League Champions in the absence of regular skipper Matt Smith, who is at home nursing a hip injury.
Broich echoed the sentiments of his coach but reiterated that the team had their sights set firmly on playing AFC Champions League football for the second year in a row.
“We-re happy to be here, it-s always a great opportunity for a player to play at international level, to represent a country,” he said.
“It-s not my home country but it-s Australia and I am proud to be the captain of Brisbane Roar for tonight-s match.
“I can assure you that will give our all to win the game and make it to the group stage.”
Shame Stefanutto has recovered from a bout of gastro to be available for selection while the rest of the squad got through yesterday’s final session at the venue unscathed.
Buriram United v Brisbane Roar
New i-Mobile Stadium, Buriram, Thailand
AFC Champions League play-off qualifier
Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Kick-off: 6pm local time, 9pm Brisbane time
TV details: Live on Fox Sports 3
Brisbane Roar extended squad: 1. Michael THEO (gk), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 4. Matthew JURMAN, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 7. Besart BERISHA (foreign), 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Stefan NIJLAND (foreign), 11. Ben HALLORAN, 13. Jade NORTH, 14. Steven LUSTICA, 15. James DONACHIE, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Jack HINGERT, 20. Matthew ACTON, 21. James MEYER, 22. Thomas BROICH (foreign), 25. George LAMBADARIDIS, 26. Corey BROWN