Stronger Brisbane Roar squad ready for Beijing

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Kosta Barbarouses of the Victory takes on the defence of George Lambadaridis of the Roar. Photo: Bradley KanarisFrans Thijssen rang in the changes on Saturday night but it will be a far stronger Brisbane Roar outfit that heads to Beijing tomorrow.

The interim Roar coach made eight changes to his side to face the Melbourne Victory for the second time in four days.

Thijssen said he was pleased with the promise the younger generation showed in the 1-0 loss to the Victory.

As well as two debutants in Abrahim Yongo and Luke Pavlou, the Roar fielded one of their youngest sides of the season Jerome Polenz, Adam Sarota, George Lambadaridis, Jade North, Daniel Bowles, Kofi Danning, Patrick Theodore, Shannon Brady and Samuel Sibatuara coming into the side.

Thijssen expects almost all the players left out for selection to play in the side, bar the injured Luke DeVere, who will miss the rest of the season.

He said the recent injuries to Luke DeVere (thigh), Shane Steffanutto and Jerome Polenz made made err on the side of caution with his selection.

“It’s not possible to play with the same players all the time,” he said.

“I decided now to especially after the injury to Luke DeVere again that happened 10 minutes before the end.

“These players have got muscular problems and you see in the end, it’s all to do with fatigue.”

The side battled well and their admirable effort was denied by a controversial penalty in the dying seconds of the first half.

Melbourne Victory’s Carl Valeri went down in the six-yard box, with George Lambadaridis behind him and the linesman called the penalty.

Replays appeared to show that Valeri kicked a tuft of grass and fell and that Lambadaridis may not have made contact with the Victory forward.

Brisbane travels to Beijing on Sunday morning ahead of Tuesday’s Asian Champions League clash with Beijing Guoan, before their final A-League regular rounds match against the Newcastle Jets on Friday night.

The Victory’s second win in Brisbane this week put them in the primary position to claim the Premier’s Plate but coach Kevin Muscat said he wasn’t popping the champagne just yet.

Melbourne take on Central Coast next Saturday with a win and a goal difference of 23, seven more than second-placed Sydney FC, meaning there’s still a mathematical chance of being knocked off their perch.

“There’s nothing handed out tonight,” Muscat said.

“We’ll enjoy that victory without doubt, but in terms of receiving any silverware ,we’ve still got to get the job done next week.”

Muscat said the Roar’s swag of changes didn’t affect their approach to the match.

“I think the expectation from anyone that it was going to be easy to win against a young side would have been naive.

“That being said, I thought we dominated and thoroughly deserved the three points.”

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