Clubs In Crisis Clash In Brisbane

Image courtesy of Pierse/Getty Images
Alessandro Del Piero has been hampered by hamstring issues. Image courtesy of Pierse/Getty Images
There are two teams in crisis at the moment in the A-League, and they just happen to be clashing at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Brisbane Roar, the two-time defending A-League champions , have lost three on the trot, including two in a row at home. It’s an almost unthinkable statistic for a team which a year ago set a record which transcends all professional football codes across Australia by going 36 matches undefeated. New manager Rado Vidosic has openly discussed being concerned about his future, just months after the former assistant took over from premiership-winning boss Ange Postecoglou.

If things are bad in the Queensland capital, they’re somehow even worse in Sydney . The Sky Blues started the season with such promise after the signing of Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero. It has all imploded the past couple of weeks, though. Del Piero pulled out of the match against fierce rival Central Coast a fortnight back, and Sydney FC was on the end of a 7-2 hammering. A week later he left the field with his team holding a 2-0 lead over Melbourne Victory, only to see the visitors storm home with three goals in the final twelve minutes.

The defeat prompted the resignation of manager Ian Crook just six games in to the season, which means the role has now claimed the scalps of six coaches in eight years. Former Socceroos coach Frank Farina has been mentioned as a possible successor, as has ex-Chelsea, Portsmouth and West Ham manager Avram Grant. For now, though, Crook’s former assistant Steve Corica will lead the team in to battle in Brisbane.

Brisbane won the first clash last season 2-0 in at the SFS before Sydney FC reversed that scoreline at Jubilee Oval in round 9. The finish to their third and final encounter of the season at Suncorp Stadium was one of the most extraordinary in A-League history. Brisbane scored twice in stoppage time to steal a 2-1 win, before emotions spilled over with Besart Berisha and Pascal Bosschaart involved in a post-match fracas in the tunnel.

Berisha scored in both of Roar’s wins over Sydney FC last season, but an abdominal injury means he is touch and go for the clash against his idol, Del Piero. Goalkeeper Michael Theo, who hasn’t missed a match since joining Brisbane, is in doubt with a calf strain. 

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