Round 15 of the 2015-16 season see’s Brisbane play their first game of the season against Melbourne Victory in what should be an entertaining affair between two of the leagues better sides.
Having waited until the second half of the season, it’s perhaps a bit of a shame that the game will be without some key players on both sides. The hosts are without 5 young players including the likes of Connor Pain and Jason Geria, while Daniel Georgievski is suspended and Carl Valeri is sidelined longer term.
Brisbane meanwhile will be without Olyroos trio Jamie Maclaren, Brandon Borrello and James Donachie.
Last week Brisbane went across the Tasman and played out a 0-0 stalemate with the Phoenix, a result which sent Brisbane 1 point clear at the top of the table. There weren’t too many clear cut scoring chances in the game which is understandable given the attacking talent both sides went into the game without due to injury, suspension and Olyroos call-ups.
Melbourne meanwhile came from three goals down at half time to rescue a point late on against Central Coast last Friday down in Geelong. It was a typical game of two halves, with the Mariners slick counter attacking along with some sloppy Melbourne defending allowing the cellar dwellers a 3-0 lead at the break, before Victory stormed back into the game in the second half and nearly won the game themselves.
This weeks game however figures to be vastly different to the excitement of that encounter, with John Aloisi’s side bringing the leagues stingiest defence to the Victorian capital for the clash, with the Roar having conceded just 12 goals in 14 matches this season- a feat matched by only Sydney FC.
1) Michael Theo, 3) Shane Stefanutto, 5) Corey Brown, 7) Corona, 8) Steven Lustica, 10) Henrique, 11) Jean Carlos Solórzano, 13) Jade North, 14) Daniel Bowles, 16) Devante Clut, 17) Matt McKay, 18) Javier Hervas, 19) Jack Hingert, 20) Shannon Brady, 21) Jamie Young, 22) Thomas Broich, 23) Dimitri Petratos, 33) Luke DeVere
*Two to be omitted.
1) Danny Vukovic, 4) Nick Ansell, 6) Leigh Broxham, 7) Gui Finkler, 8) Besart Berisha, 9) Kosta Barbarouses, 10) Archie Thompson, 13) Oliver Bozanic, 14) Fahid Ben Khalfallah, 16) Rashid Mahazi, 17) Mathieu Delpierre, 18) Dylan Murnane, 19) George Howard, 20) Lawrence Thomas, 22) Jesse Makarounas, 23) Jai Ingham, 32) Stefan Nigro, 33) Joey Katebian.
Expected Brisbane XI
Young, Hingert, Bowles, North, Stefanutto, Corona, McKay, Petratos, Broich, Henrique, Solórzano.
Substitutes: Theo, Brown, Lustica, Hervas, Brady.
Omitted: DeVere, Clut.
Despite dropping two points in Wellington on Sunday, it’s likely that John Aloisi will opt for the same side in this encounter, particularly with doubts over the fitness of Corona removed. That means that both Henrique and Jean Carlos Solórzano will retain their places in the starting line-ups for the clash.
On the bench, Michael Theo is set to replace youth GK Andre Jannese, however Luke DeVere is reportedly going to play another game in the youth league prior to the A-League tonight. Despite the side failing to score or create too much last week, it’s unlikely Devante Clut –who was denied the chance to join Newcastle this week- will get a spot on the bench.
Expected Melbourne XI
Vukovic, Mahazi, Broxham, Delpierre, Murnane, Bozanic, Makarounas, Finkler, Ben Khalfallah, Barbarouses, Berisha.
Substitutes: Thomas, Ansell, Nigro, Ingham, Thompson.
Omitted: Howard, Katebian.
Victory is a harder side to gauge a reading on, with Daniel Georgievski suspension leaving a big hole in the home sides defence for this one. Conventional wisdom would suggest Nick Ansell –who returned via the bench last week- would come into the side at the back, but according to reports he’s not yet match fit so it could be that Rashid Mahazi is asked to perform a job at right back.
On the bench it will be interesting to see which youngsters Kevin Muscat opts for, young Katebian was impressive in the NYL when I saw him here in December, but with so much attacking talent in the side he might find it hard to get a look in. Young midfielder Stefan Nigro might be the man for the final bench spot to provide some midfield cover.
Melbourne: Besart Berisha (10)
Brisbane: Jamie Maclaren (7)
All-Time Record against Melbourne Victory