Saturday, October 19, 2013
Brisbane Roar FC vs. Sydney FC
Played 26: Wins: Roar 11, Sydney 7, Draws: 8
Brisbane Roar 3-1 Sydney FC, March 28, 2013
Past five matches:
Sydney FC: LLLLW
Both sides made winning starts to the new season last weekend and should come into this clash full of confidence. Brisbane came from behind to beat an under-strength Wellington 2-1, while the Alessandro Del Piero-inspired Sky Blues saw off Newcastle 2-0. Given their winning form it would be hard to see either coach making too many changes. Sydney coach Frank Farina should have Socceroos veteran Brett Emerton (back) available again while Rhyan Grant, who came off the bench last weekend, is edging nearer to full fitness and a chance to start. The two sides met in the pre-season with Brisbane running out comfortable winners and the Roar have a superior head-to-head record against Sydney and won two of the three clashes last season.
The big issue:
Brisbane – From what we saw in the opening round, Brisbane will again play their open, attractive brand of football under Mike Mulvey. They created a host of opportunities against Wellington and took two to ensure they left the 'Cake Tin' with all three points. While he would have been delighted with the way his side played, Mulvey will want his strikeforce to become more clinical in front of goal, especially when they come up against the stronger sides in the A-League.
Sydney – The Sky Blues answered a host of critics with their win over Newcastle in the season-opener. The challenge for Sydney and Farina now is to keep it going. Consistency in performances was the side's big problem last season, rarely able to string two or three good games together in a row. With a big derby against the Western Sydney Wanderers to come in Round 3, the Sky Blues can ill-afford to take two steps back after starting the campaign on the front foot.
The game breaker:
Besart Berisha – Sydney fans must be getting sick of the sight of the prolific Albanian striker. Berisha is the opposition fans love to hate and the Sky Blues supporters have every reason to given his record against them. Berisha has scored in the last four competitive games he has played against Sydney and looms as the danger man again. Frank Farina's new-look back four acquitted themselves well against the Jets but will need to be just as solid to stop Berisha and his supply from the likes of Thomas Broich, Liam Miller and Ivan Franjic.
Prediction: Roar 2-1 Sydney
After a less than impressive pre-season, Farina would have been relieved to have got off to a good start last weekend. But the in-form Roar will give the Sky Blues boss a much better indication of how they are travelling. Brisbane took a little longer than expected to see off the Phoenix last weekend but they have an enormous amount of firepower in their ranks which is sure to put more heat on Sydney's defence than the Jets managed too. It wouldn't surprise if this early in the season these sides cancelled each other out but with Berisha in form and in front of their home fans, a Roar win appears the most likely result