Brett Emerton should be fit to take on Brisbane. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Getty Images
Sydney FC has the worst home record of any side in the A-League, but just 11 points from the team’s appearances at the Sydney Football Stadium this season masks just how well Frank Farina’s side has been playing in front of their home fans of late. The Sky Blues have won their last three at the SFS, including a 7-1 dismissal of a dismal Wellington three weeks ago.
Not surprisingly for a team which has spent most of the season floundering near the bottom of the ladder, Brisbane Roar has a poor record away from home. Twice in the past month or so, though, Roar has taken advantage of team’s in a form slump, scoring 1-0 victories on the road against Adelaide and Perth. It’s getting to crunch time now, though, and Mike Mulvey’s side needs to start consistently taking points away from matches against teams it’s competing with for a finals spot, and given Sydney FC is level with them on 21 points, this is most certainly an old-fashioned six-point game.
Despite a wonderful individual performance from Alessandro del Piero last time these teams met, Brisbane opened up Sydney at will at Suncorp Stadium recording a 4-2 win , and if Roar’s finishing had have been better, the scoreboard would have ticked over even more frequently. Thomas Broich and two-goal hero Besart Berisha cut the Mariners apart in the second half last week in their 2-2 draw, while new import Stef Nijland showed glimpses of his class in a half-hour cameo at the end of the game.
There have been suggestions in the media that Lucas Neill could move to Brisbane for the rest of the season if the two-time A-League title-holders qualify for the AFC Champions League. Defence is not the area where Brisbane is struggling, though, as only Central Coast, Western Sydney and Perth have allowed fewer goals. Two of Neill’s former Socceroo teammates are expected to line up this weekend for the Sky Blues despite injury concerns; Brett Emerton was rested from the 2-2 draw with Newcastle due to a back problem, while Jason Culina has recovered from a knee injury.
Sydney FC has won just one of the last eight matches between these teams, although that was a 2-0 victory at Jubilee Oval last season. It was the match that brought to an end Brisbane’s stunning 36-game unbeaten streak.
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