Sunday, November 27, 2011

Brisbane 4 v Perth 0 Wowzers

The game was over by half time. And all Ferguson had to do then was protect his career. Before the game he had said the pressure was all on Brisbane. That did not ring true. The week before he had admitted his job was on the line, and 8-0 would have done that.

The combination of half time changes in Andrezinho and  Steve McGarry plus Brisbane switching down a gear in the humidity saved coach Ferguson's career. Pity Andrezinho he has come here to dive in the box, Matt Smith got a yellow card for telling him so.  Steve McGarry took control of Perth and sometimes the game. The best for Perth was their fan base who were well behaved (and over zealously were told to be so by security) and vocal throughout.

The first photo was taken in the 2nd half after I had gone up top with the Roar running away from my favoured end. It shows how static Perth are with a flat back 4 and diamond in front, broken only by Andrezinho in the far top. Contrast this to Brisbane who are spread and mobile. Left back Steffanotto is almost as advanced as the Berisha and so wide that he is actually off the pitch. Franjic is as high and wide on the other side. When a team is some goals up, this type of move limits the other team's risk taking. Brisbane's back 3 is spread and yet it is clear that the Perth diamond can be covered if needed.

I scored Bahraini Mo Adnan man of the match for his first half performance. Perth relied on the long ball game to hit on the counter and his tackling was well executed and coverage fantastic. Mo obviously likes the humidity, while Broich was brilliant in the first half and set up most of the goals, in the second half he wanted to be everywhere but his body couldn't get him there. Adnan made Smeltz look like he was just jogging round the park rather than a rival for Besart Berisha's shot at golden boot. Adnan covers everything in the air as well was demonstrated skills with his feet. The nerves of last week's first half were gone. Even in this week's second half he showed his leadership skills, talking to each players before the re-start and acting as a second playmaker to Broich much of the time.

Ange has given the instructions on dealing with 'parking of the bus.' That is: cross field switching, and rapid movement in the final third with lots of running off the ball as decoys and targets. And go forward, attack.

I would like to see Jack Hingert get more than 18 minutes. Ivan Franjic was not bombing forward as freely by the second half and I think Jack is highly motivated. Luke Brattan has more to do to cement his spot once Mitch, Matt Jurman and Kofi return from the Olyroos.

And the talking point, apart from the record and the fireworks, was that the ref missed a penalty in the first few minutes. We were behind it and it looked goal bound and deliberate.

Crowd of nearly 20,000 kept low by lots of rain building up through the day and starting just before the game.

Oh and can some get Optus to fix their 'live scores' and stats. This 'match centre' thing doesn't work that well.

Each week you can vote for Brisbane's top 3 players here (at the bottom of the page).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Brisbane v Perth Saturday 26 - 6:45pm November

If you don't have a ticket, arrive at least 30 minutes before kick off - say 6pm - could take that long to get in.

It is starting to feel like a very big crowd. People are talking about it who never do. 20,000? more?

Why not.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Newcastle 1 v Brisbane 2... sets up the big one Brisbane v Perth Saturday 26 - 6:45pm November

Early in the first half Brisbane had crazy misses. Besart found himself clear twice. The first time he fell over. The second he took too long. Then Issey failed to take his chance.

Then Newcastle settled into their 3-4-3 formation with Ruben Zadkovich outpacing Erik Paaratlu, Broich having his quietest half of football ever with a few well timed elbows in the head from Kasey Wehrman, and Newcastle playmaker Ryan Griffiths occasionally looking dangerous.

Humidity was high - 85% - but this should have favoured the Roar. 
Massimo Murdocca was the only player to run all day through the heat and he was clearly Man of the Match, dominating the midfield and setting up the goals with great lead up passes. Not quite Mitch, but he stepped up. 
Mo Adnan had his first full game for the Roar - should have got some game time last week - and was very, very shaky in the first half. Plus Ivan Franjic was playing injured and didn't break forward with speed. But the problem turned out to be Matt Smith playing while sick and he came off at half time. But not before Griffiths had scored for the Jets - with Mo out of position.

The first 10 minutes of the 2nd half were bad for the Roar. And Newcastle will be disappointed they did not seal it. 

But then Brisbane, Ange had been yelling for them to play forward, surged. The turning point was the 52nd minute when Newcastle keeper Ben Kennedy had his nose broken in a scramble with one of his defenders. 

Massimo pushed forward and the ball reached Issey on the right. Our man Besart Berisha ran across the 6 yard box left to right and drew a defender and the keeper, while the ball raced across from right to left from Issey and Henrique won the race with a Newcastle defender to push in. From there Brisbane lifted. Instead of Newcastle playing high and dominating possession, Brisbane played their own game. 

For the last 30 minutes of the game, Brisbane always looked like scoring. Murdocca played a key role racing away with the ball from the wrong side of half way and pushing through to Broich, Henrique, Issey and Besart and later Luke Brattan and James Meyer.

Besart had a tough game and ended up arguing with the ref a few times. He will have to watch that. It isn't going to go his way all the time.

As soon as Brisbane got back to their game, Newcastle could not keep up and their game plan fell away.

Jack Hingert had his first time for Brisbane coming on at half time as right back and looked very strong and pushed forward like we would expect from Franjic. This allowed Mo Adnan to move to centre back where he looked very comfortable and dominated the air and much more relaxed and made some critical tackles. The move freed up Shane Stefanutto and then Erik Paaratlu and the midfield started to move off the ball. In the 2nd half, this brought Broich back into the game from the left. But he was hampered by the heat and passed, rather than shot, at key moments. But Ange has directed that they get a small number of high percentage shots rather than a high number of very low percentage shots. And Newcastle didn't get there because they shot too early, or shot when there was no goal to be had, or just missed 50-50 shots and headers. On the other hand, James Meyer can shoot from distance and may be the answer when teams 'park the bus'. Meyer first timer from a cross from a short corner 3 minutes after coming on for Henrique in the 83rd minute, sealed the game. Newcastle were not coming back. Even with 7 minutes of extra time.

As a side note, the colours of the two teams, Newcastle home and Brisbane away were very close and the ref seemed to get them mixed up making wrong calls on fouls and hand balls.

Note to FFA, 6:45pm next Saturday - these times are all over the place making it hard to remember or plan.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Away Newcastle v Brisbane sets up record for Brisbane v Perth?

Brisbane Roar will be hoping to not loose to Newcastle so that they get the payoff at the game for their next home game - 26 November - next Saturday night.

16,400 for Wellington will look minor if they can get to Brisbane to battle for the record.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Brisbane 1 v Wellington 1

At 16,400 the crowd was best on ground.

The Roar were a mile better than Wellington in the first 20 minutes. Then some really crap referring
 changed the game to favour Wellington. How could the ref make rulings that were opposite to ben Williams last week?

Issey was found out badly in this game. He is not at the same quality as the rest of the sam. Neither is Kofi. Both missed open goals in the second half.

Roar played tip and run. Wellington played hoof and run - park the bus, foul Broich. Simple as that.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Record there to be equalled - Sunday 13 November 4pm v Wellington

It you have never been to an A-League game this is the one.

Anything could happen. They could lose. Against a team struggling away and struggling to get a team on the park, they could win 10-0.

Eric needs to practice kicking from distance. Just in case.

Whoops - Qatar wins ACL

This says it all:

'Qatari club... failed to qualify for the tournament and was only granted entry after a Vietnamese team was barred for failing to submit the correct documentation... Al Sadd lost both legs in the quarterfinals but still made it to the last four. After losing, 1-0, at home to Sepahan, the Asian confederation gave the losers a 3-0 win after discovering that the Iranian team had fielded an ineligible player. Sepahan won the second leg, 2-1, but it was not enough.
There was more controversy in the first leg of the semifinal at South Korea’s Suwon Bluewings. Al Sadd won, 2-0, but video of the second goal, and its aftermath, were seen around the world. With Suwon pushing forward for the equalizer, the team allowed the ball to roll out of play to give injured players time to receive medical treatment. The South Koreans expected to receive the ball back, as is the custom, from the opposition but instead Kader Keita of Ivory Coast and the Senegalese striker Mamodou Niang combined to score as the shocked Suwon players stood in the Qatari half. The ensuing melee made headlines around the world.'

So no suspicion there then.

Melbourne 2 v Brisbane 2: now that was a little disappointing...

OK so there was a lot of action in the first 30 minutes or so. But by the 2nd half the game had flatlined. Everyone was exhausted including the referee.

Someone wrote of one of my blogs, probably in season 1, 'don't read this if your name is Ben Williams.' Now I can see a bit more of what Williams is trying to achieve as a ref. But that will not make it any easier for the 25,000 people that came to watch what they might have thought was to be game of the season. Some years ago Ben Williams sent off a striker in a minor Oceania match, the guy punched Williams on the way off the field. FIFA backed Williams and banned the guy, probably for life.

As for the Foschini tackle on Broich, I think it is about time Thomas got more protection. And if you look at Ben Williams' record, the tackle had more intent - studs up and made contact with Broich's leg - than the send off he gave Chad Gibson in the early years of the A-League - stretching studs down and aiming at the ball - that send off virtually ended Chad's career. Chad was the face of the Roar in the first season and a half, when he stopped playing, a lot of kids stopped asking their parents to take them to the game.

But yeh, if every time someone makes a tackle like Foschini's, cynical and designed to limit Broich later in the game, let's send them off, I would support that. That would change the A-League again.

Just a few more things. Melbourne got 6 cards, 4 yellows (some for tackles on Broich dominate) and two straight reds. So that should be a fine and a warning. Or was that only because the FFA didn't like Frank Farina?

And another. Kevin Muscat attempted to exert undue influence on the Ref at half time. On the pitch, in the tunnel and more, and after the game. He is not Melbourne's coach and he is not their captain. Even captains and coaches have limited rights to question refs. Muscat has none. By the FFA's own precedents he should be fined and banned. His disciplinary track record should be taken into a account as well.

Melbourne's coach spoke out after the game, saying the 2nd red was 'unacceptable'. When the coaches at Fury, assistant McClaren and coach Straka, both said on Fox that they thorough the refing was unacceptable, both were banned. The banning of McClaren and Straka turned many people in North Queensland off the A-League. However, just how much can Muscat get away with.

Perhaps a bigger concern is that Melbourne's brave and forced adoption of a 9-0-0 formation could be adopted by other teams against Brisbane. This could challenge the game as a spectator sport.

Credit to Melbourne's second keeper, Thomas, he saved the game for them.