An undermanned Melbourne City face a resurgent Brisbane Roar side on a high after stunning Shanghai Shenhua in an ACL qualifier in China on Wednesday night.
Saturday, 11 February 2017
Melbourne City FC v Brisbane Roar FC
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 7:50PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))
Referee: Alan Milliner
Assistant Referee 1: George Lakrindis
Assistant Referee 2: Wilson Brown
Fourth Official: Jonathan Barreiro
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.45pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Radio Melbourne, ABC Radio Brisbane, ABC Radio Vic/Qld, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, 1116 SEN (Melbourne)
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MCYvBRI
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk), 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 8.Neil KILKENNY, 9.Nicolas COLAZO, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 12.Nick FITZGERALD, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 18.Paulo RETRE, 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 29.Braeydn CROWLEY, 34.Denis GENREAU, 35.Christian CAVALLO, 36.Dylan PIERIAS, 40.Yaren SOZER (gk), 41.Yusuf AHMED
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Josh ROSE (promoted), 12.Nick FITZGERALD (promoted), 14.Daniel ARZANI (promoted), 29.Braeydn CROWLEY (promoted), 34.Denis GENREAU (promoted), 35.Christian CAVALLO (promoted), 36.Dylan PIERIAS (promoted), 40.Yaren SOZER (gk) (promoted), 41.Yusuf AHMED (promoted)
Outs: 2.Manny MUSCAT (suspended – 1 match), 6.Osama MALIK (suspended – 1 match), 17.Tim Cahill (suspended – 1 match), 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk) (suspended – 5 matches), 23. Bruno FORNAROLI (suspended – 1 match), 26.Luke BRATTAN (suspended – 1 match), 27.Fernando BRANDAN (suspended – 1 match)
Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (ACL – season), 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (ACL – season)
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Daniel BOWLES, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 11.Tommy OAR, 15.ARANA, 17.Matt MCKAY (c), 20.Shannon BRADY, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 26.Nick D’AGOSTINO, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 46.Cameron CRESTANI, 50.Dane INGHAM
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 20.Shannon BRADY (promoted), 26.Nick D’AGOSTINO (promoted), 28.Brandon BORRELLO (returns from suspension), 46.Cameron CRESTANI (promoted), 50.Dane INGHAM (promoted)
Outs: 13.Jade NORTH (suspended – 1 match), 19.Jack HINGERT (ankle – 2 weeks), 23.Dimitri PETRATOS (international transfer to Korea)
What plays a bigger role - losing seven key players to suspension or a short turnaround after a midweek trip to China?
City versus Roar will provide some insight into both clubs' strength in depth and ability to overcome adversity as fourth hosts third.
With third spot being the lowest position a club can finish to qualify for the 2018 ACL, both Roar (28 points) and City (26) will be desperate for three points as they look to keep fifth-placed Perth Glory (24) at bay.
Glory host cellar-dwellers Adelaide United on Friday night and could have leapfrogged City by the time Saturday night's game at AAMI Park kicks off.
City coach Michael Valkanis will have spent a lot of time fiddling with his line-up as he looks to overcome the loss of Dean Bouzanis, Tim Cahill, Bruno Fornaroli, Fernando Brandan, Luke Brattan, Osama Malik and Manny Muscat, all to suspension.
All but Cahill started in last week's 2-1 derby loss to Melbourne Victory.
With centre-back Michael Jakobsen doubtful with a calf injury, Valkanis has added nine players to his squad.
Thomas Sorensen is a certainty to start in goal but with so many young and relatively untested players in City's squad, the complete XI is difficult to predict.
Meanwhile, Roar may be rushing to Melbourne from Shanghai but their impressive ACL exploits should give them a boost.
Brisbane defeated Shanghai Shenhua 2-0 on Wednesday night to qualify for the ACL group stage and will hope to carry that momentum into their clash with City.
Coach John Aloisi will make changes to his starting XI with Brett Holman and Arana amongst the more experienced players not to complete the midweek travels to the Middle Kingdom.
Roar will be without Jade North (suspension) and Jack Hingert (ankle), while attacking midfielder Dimitri Petratos has transferred to K League club Ulsan this week.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Without Fornaroli and Cahill, Valkanis has few obvious options to start up front against Brisbane.
That duo have scored 19 of City's 28 goals in 2016-17 and their absence could see former Newcastle Jets striker Braedyn Crowley earn his City debut, while Bruce Kamau is almost certain to start on the wing.
How Valkanis and his staff sort out City's midfield and attack will play a critical role in deciding this fixture.
Roar will hope Brandon Borrello recovers well enough from the win over Shenhua as the 21-year-old has notched six goals and two assists in his past four matches in all competitions.
Borrello scored the opener on Wednesday and set up Tommy Oar's goal to continue his scintillating form.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Michael Theo. The 35-year-old goalkeeper put on a show with his fellow gloveman Danny Vukovic during Roar's 0-0 draw with Sydney FC last week as both pulled off some ripper saves. Little wonder the Roar hero was in the www.a-league.com.au Team of the Week.
Melbourne City: WLWLL
Brisbane Roar: LLWWD
Melbourne City 0-1 Brisbane Roar