Yellow card peril for Roar in Asia


Five Roar players will walk a yellow card tightrope as the club looks to keep alive its AFC Champions League dream by chasing two wins in its final two Group Stage matches.

And four of them are defenders – an area where the Roar is already battling to cover for injuries.

Corey Brown, Luke DeVere, Daniel Bowles and Matt McKay were shown yellow cards in last night’s 3-1 Match Day Four loss to Suwon Samsung FC in South Korea. Jack Hingert was booked against Urawa on Match Day Three.

A second yellow card for any of the five would see them miss the next game as the Roar chases maximum points in its final two Group Stage matches in an outside bid to finish in the top two of its group and advance to the knockout Round of 16.

The bottom line of last night’s shock loss was the Roar’s fate in this year’s competition is now out of their hands. While they must win their last two games to have any chance of advancing, they also have to rely on other results to fall their way.

The Roar can finish the Group Stage with a maximum of only 10 points – the same as group leaders Beijing Guoan already have with another six points still on offer for them.

While either Beijing Guoan or Suwon (seven points) are likely to win the group, there is still one scenario where the Roar, Beijing and Suwon could all finish on 10 points with the group winner decided on goal difference.

The Roar could also finish tied in second on 10 points with Beijing Guoan if Suwon goes on to win the group, as many observers are now tipping.

The Roar plays Beijing Guoan at Beijing Workers Stadium on Tuesday, 21 April, and Urawa Red Diamonds on the Gold Coast on Tuesday, 5 May. Suwon plays Urawa next and finishes against Beijing Guoan.

Roar coach Frans Thijssen said last night’s defeat at Suwon’s Big Bird Stadium, in front of 6771 fans, was hard to take after his side dominated the first half with 59 per cent of possession.

The South Koreans sealed the game with three goals in 14 minutes early in the second half before DeVere pulled back a consolation for the Roar by heading home a pinpoint free kick from Thomas Broich.

“Just like the game against Beijing (which the Roar lost 1-0 on an injury-time free kick), we were the better team for long periods but mistakes cost us and we came away with no points,” Thijssen said.
“We need to show more discipline and perhaps the four yellow cards reflected that.”

The threat of suspension in the final two AFC Champions League Group Stages matches is another burden on a Roar defensive unit which has been battling for more than a month to cover injuries and international call-ups.

Central defender Jade North did not travel to South Korea as he recovers from a groin strain while right fullback Jerome Polenz is battling a quad tear and faces at least another two weeks on the sidelines.

Two more blows were delivered to the Roar defence last night when left fullback Shane Stefanutto (calf) withdrew in the warm-up and central defender James Donachie (hip) was substituted in the 65th minute.

Both will travel from Suwon to Adelaide with the Roar squad and a decision on their availability for Saturday night’s Hyundai A-League clash with the Reds will not be made until after their arrival tomorrow morning. Midfielder Adam Sarota is rested as Thijssen looks for more cover in defence in his final 16.

Striker Jean Carlos Solorzano, who is not one of the Roar’s permitted three visa players for this stage of the AFC Champions League, will fly from Brisbane to Adelaide tomorrow to bolster the squad.