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Updated: 55 min 15 sec ago

Arnold exploited Young weakness

1 hour 34 min ago
Austrian import Marc Janko latched onto a Young clearance in the first half before chesting the ball down and smacking a spectacular volley into an open net from 40 metres, before Milos Dimitrijevic curled in a stunner from outside the box in the second half to seal an impressive 2-0 win for the Sky Blues at Suncorp Stadium. Sydney looked the more dangerous side throughout, even though a lacklustre Brisbane controlled much of the possession, but it took Janko’s wonderstrike to break the game open. Arnold was full of praise for the Austrian national team captain, promising that he will only get better as the season progresses. “We haven’t seen anywhere near the best of him,” Arnold said of the 31-year-old. “If you see what he does at training, he’s frightening at times. “We probably learnt a lesson off Melbourne Heart last year with (Orlando) Engelaar. “So he’s not training at full tilt yet, we’re trying to nurse him through training and he’s probably training at about 60 percent. “But his qualities are enormous and that goal tonight was fantastic, and that shows the skills that he has.” The Roar are missing first-choice goalkeeper Michael Theo through injury, and poor positioning by his replacement played a part in both of Sydney’s goals. Video analysis of Brisbane’s 3-2 loss to Perth Glory in Round 2 showed a flaw in Young’s technique, which Arnold told his players to be aware of, he said. “Look, he’s a fair way off his line,” Arnold said. “We noticed it against Perth Glory last week because we analysed that. “And I spoke to Dimitrijevic and (Terry) Antonis before the game about if they get the opportunity from 30 yards, just try and clip the crossbar, because he’s always a good seven or eight metres out off his line, and if he’s not going to expect it then that’s going to happen.”
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Preview: Melbourne Victory vs Melbourne City

5 hours 22 min ago
Saturday, 25 October 2014 Melbourne Victory Double Header Melbourne Victory v Canberra United Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Kick-Off: 4:45 PM (Local) (4:45 PM AEDT) Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City FC Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Kick-Off: 7:30 PM (Local) (7:30 PM AEDT) Referee: Strebre Delovski Assistant Referee 1: Luke Brennan Assistant Referee 2: Jonathan Barreiro Fourth Official: Shaun Evans TV Broadcast:Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 3HD 3 from 7.15pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand) Radio Broadcast:774 ABC Melbourne, Local Radio VIC, 936 ABC Hobart and ABC Northern Tasmania, 891 ABC Adelaide, Local Radio SA, Grandstand Digital, ABC Grandstand Online/A-League Live Mobile phone app Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag#MelbDerby Melbourne Victory squad:1.Nathan COE (GK), 5.Mark MILLIGAN (c) 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.Connor PAIN, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 18.Dylan MURNANE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21.Carl VALERI, 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 23.Adrian LEIJER, 24.Scott GALLOWAY| **Two to be omitted** Ins: 18.Dylan MURNANE (returns from international duty), 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS (promoted), 24.Scott GALLOWAY (returns from international duty) Outs: 2.Jason GERIA (ankle) Unavailable: 4.Nick ANSELL (foot – 2-3 weeks) Melbourne City FC Line-Up: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3.Robbie WIELAERT, 5.Erik PAARTALU, 6.Aaron MOOY, 7.Iain RAMSAY, 8.Massimo MURDOCCA, 9.David VILLA, 11.Damien DUFF, 14.James BROWN, 15.David WILLIAMS, 17.Jason HOFFMAN, 18.Paulo RETRE, 20.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 23.Mate DUGANDZIC, 24.Patrick KISNORBO (C), 25.Jacob MELLING, 26.Marc MARINO, 27.Ross ARCHIBALD **Two to be omitted** Ins:25.Jacob MELLING (promoted), 26.Marc MARINO (promoted) Outs:Nil Unavailable:10.Robert KOREN (calf – 4-6 weeks), 13.Jonatan Germano (1-4 weeks) Bluffer's guide It's a first look at the Melbourne derby in a new guise, with the club formerly known as Melbourne Heart transforming themselves, bankrolled by Manchester City's Abu Dhabi billions and claiming to mean serious business in the Hyundai A-League Season 2014-15. It hasn't gone according to plan so far though, with John van't Schip's team yet to win and rocked by the news this week that David Villa will leave for over a month just four games into his guest stint, while international marquee Robert Koren - yet to make his debut - has been ruled out until December due to a calf problem. Victory have been flying by comparison, thumping the Wanderers in Round 1 and earning a valuable draw away to bitter rivals Adelaide last time out. Kevin Muscat's men will be favourites to claim the bragging rights in front of what is expected to be a sold-out Etihad Stadium. Opta Data stats Victory demonstrated their capacity to blend steel with silk at Adelaide Oval last Friday night. The visitors had more of the ball (51.8 percent), played more passes (348 to 318), played fewer passes long and passed with more accuracy, both in general and in the opposition half. However, they weren't afraid to rough up the Reds when required, putting in more tackles, winning a higher percentage of their challenges and duels, as well as completing more interceptions. Those stats indicate that City will have to be at their very best on Saturday, both to deny Victory possession and to have a chance of hitting the back of the net. Route to goal Victory's major flaw in their 1-1 draw with Adelaide was their failure to carve out clear cut opportunities. Besart Berisha was a frustrated figure up top, the Reds' fluid 3-4-3 formation helping to swamp midfield and reduce the effectiveness of Archie Thompson, Kosta Barbarouses and playmaker Guilherme Finkler. City meanwhile had plenty of the ball in the final third during their own 1-1 draw with the Newcastle Jets, but struggled to create clear-cut chances. Much will depend on who wins the midfield battle between Mark Milligan and Carl Valeri on one side and Aaron Mooy, Erik Paartalu and Massimo Murdocca on the other. Who's been in the spotlight this week? David Villa hit the headlines for the wrong reasons this week, with news the former Barcelona and Atletico Madrid superstar will leave after Round 4 and may not return until mid December at the earliest, if it all. Form lines Victory have made a strong start to the season with a 4-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers FC in Round 1 and a hard-fought 1-1 draw away to Adelaide United on Friday. They defeated Tuggeranong United 6-0 away from home in the Westfield FFA Cup round of 16 and tackle Perth Glory, also on the road, in the quarter-finals next Wednesday. City drew 1-1 in Sydney against FC during the opening weekend and were held at home to the Newcastle Jets by the same scoreline on Sunday. Van 't Schip's team bowed out of the Westfield FFA Cup at the hands of the Sky Blues in the round of 32, but did sign off on their pre-season with two successive wins, against Pascoe Vale and Perth Glory. Did you know? If, as expected, the derby sells out on Saturday, it will be one of the biggest crowds for a football match at Melbourne's Docklands venue since the Hyundai A-League grand final in season 2009-10 between Victory and Sydney FC, a game the Sky Blues won on penalties. Prediction Melbourne Victory 2-1 Melbourne City With Villa still among their ranks for now, City have the firepower to trouble Victory, but can their defence stand up to its first real test of the campaign? When the Jets had a tilt in the second half at AAMI Park they found a few holes in the home side's rearguard. Muscat's men are more generously equipped with attacking talent than the Hunter outfit, so it's hard to see City keeping out Finkler, Berisha, Barbarouses and co. The best hope for Van't Schip's team is if Paartalu and Mooy can deny Milligan and Valeri the possession Victory require to dictate terms, although the Big V can still be a potent threat on the counter. Either way, we think the odds are stacked in favour of those in navy blue and white.
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Mulvey: Were far from our best

5 hours 32 min ago
The Roar were convincingly beaten by Sydney FC at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night thanks to a pair of brilliant goals from Marc Janko and Milos Dimitrijevic. Despite enjoying a substantial amount of possession and a pass count of 744-319 in their favour, the home team lacked incisiveness in the attacking third, in large part thanks to a solid and well-drilled Sydney defence. Mulvey said he could not fault his team’s effort, but there were problems in execution. “The number of passes is not important, it’s what you do with the possession that counts,” he said. “There was times when we had some success, when we built through the lines, but it wasn’t often enough. “We know we’re not getting the results that we want. “Before tonight I was very happy with the performances. I was happy with the effort tonight in terms of trying to achieve things, but it didn’t quite come off, we were a couple of degrees under.” Jamie Young, the injured Michael Theo’s replacement, was caught off his line for each of the Sky Blues’ goals. Though Mulvey stopped short of criticising the new signing, he did concede that Theo is a bit loss. “You always miss somebody with Michael’s experience,” Mulvey said. “So we’ve asked Jamie to come in and to help us continue playing out from the back, to be part of that. “We can’t do anything about those who are not here, we have to concentrate on the guys that are here, and we’ve got great faith in the squad that we’ve got.” The Roar gaffer had words of praise for the brilliantly executed strikes which downed his side. “To be fair, we lost to a team that scored two wonderful, wonderful goals. “Marc Janko’s goal, you can watch it over and over again. “For a guy to chest the ball down like that and volley it back into the goal was just immense, and the second goal was pretty special too."
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Brisbane Roar 0 Sydney 2: Janko scores wonder goal

13 hours 52 min ago
Marc Janko scored a stunning long-range goal in the first half before Milos Dimitrijevic curled in a screamer of his own to hand a third straight loss to Mike Mulvey's side, who lacked ideas all night. While Brisbane are now bottom of the table, Sydney are top after securing seven points from their opening three games.  When Janko broke the deadlock at Suncorp Stadium after 28 minutes, it was a moment of magic from the Austria international.  Roar goalkeeper Jamie Young attempted to clear the ball, but Janko got to it first and unleashed a tremendous left-footed effort into the empty net. Not to be outdone, Dimitrijevic opened his account for the season in style as his curling, dipping effort sailed into the top corner following some neat interplay with Alex Brosque.
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Brisbane Roar vs Sydney FC: Player Ratings

14 hours 38 min ago
BRISBANE ROAR JAMIE YOUNG – 4 His poor clearance led to Sydney’s opening goal. Was off his line for the second. Costly errors. MATT SMITH – 6 He was ok but two goals against at home is concerning. JADE NORTH – 6 Again he was part of a defence that conceded at home. SHANE STEFFANUTO – 6 Didn’t do too badly. Goals weren’t to blame on his end. JAMES DONACHIE – 5 Didn’t’ show a lot. Abbas got too much delivery on his side. HENRIQUE – 6 Didn’t get many opportunities to run at players. Quiet. STEVEN LUSTICA – 5.5 Quiet and was chasing shadows too much. DIMITRI PETRATOS – 6 Work rate is good in the final 3rd. Was Brisbane’s best attacking option but didn’t threaten. LUKE BRATTAN – 6.5 Always looking to find players in attack and linked the best for Brisbane. Got subbed in the 63rd minute. THOMAS BROICH – 6 Things weren’t going his way tonight. MENSUR KURTISHI – 5 Non-existent JEAN CARLOS SOLORZANO – 5 Came on in the 69thminute. Showed glimpses but needs more time. BRANDON BORRELLO – 6 Came on 63rdminute. Attacking option when 2-0 down. Had some balls in the final 3rdbut unable to get anything dangerous on target. SYDNEY FC VEDRAN JANJETOVIC – 7 Quiet match but kept a clean sheet. PEDJ BOJIC – 7 Needed a Cup start during the week but showed better fitness tonight. Sound. ALI ABBAS – 8 Provided well down the left. Good cross early to Janko. Another good delivery to Gamiero. SASA OGNENOVSKI – 7.5 Controlled the back four well. SEBASTIAN RYALL – 7 Did well tonight. MILOS DMITRIJEVIC – 7.5 Saw Young off his line and was a deft hit to score. Otherwise busy in midfield. BERNIE IBINI-ISEI – 6 Played out on the right. His defensive duties were better than his attacking duties. TERRY ANTONIS – 7.5 Made some good interceptions and was dominant in the midfield. ALEX BROSQUE – 7 Involved in some good build up. Quieter night than usual but not too bad. COREY GAMIERO – 7 Decision making in the first half wasn’t good. Always a threat in the final third but his shots didn’t come off tonight. MARC JANKO – 7.5 Superb control and strike to punish a Brisbane mistake. CHRIS NAUMOFF – 6 On in the 78thminute. Came on for more defensive cover to protect lead. HAGI GLIGOR – N/A Came on with a minute to go.
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Sydney FC heap more misery on Brisbane Roar

15 hours 43 min ago
Marc Janko scored a stunning long-range goal in the first half before Milos Dimitrijevic curled in a screamer of his own in the second term to hand a third-straight defeat to Mike Mulvey’s side, who lacked ideas all night. The Sky Blues can continue their hectic week in high spirits while the Roar have a huge amount to think about before their next fixture on November 8. Goals Janko (28) Simply one of the most outstanding goals we’ve seen in the Hyundai A-League. Roar keeper Jamie Young attempted to clear the ball but Janko got to it first, and the big Austrian walloped a tremendous left-footed effort into the empty net from a good 40 metres out. Dimitrijevic (54) Following the earlier Austrian Opus, it was always going to be hard to come up with a similarly spectacular goal, but Dimitrijevic had a fair crack at matching it. His second half strike was a gorgeous, curling, dipping effort which sailed into the top corner following some neat interplay with Alex Brosque. Opta Data Key Stats Brisbane made 744 passes to Sydney’s 319, which demonstrates how fruitless it is to ping the ball around endlessly without any real incision. The Sky Blues were lethal, even from distance, and in the end that’s all that really counts. Highlights reel It will take something special over the rest of the weekend to beat the highlight from this game; Janko’s audacious chested-down volley from way downtown. The Final Word Sydney residents recently turned their clocks forward an hour for summer while Brisbanites opted to stick with the status quo, and the Queensland team on this occasion looked to be lagging well behind their counterparts in terms of tactics and imagination. Graham Arnold out-foxed Mulvey on this occasion, and it may be time now to start talking about a crisis situation for the defending champs. Teams Brisbane Roar:Smith (c), Stefanutto, Kurtishi (Solorzano 68), Lustica (Borrello 62), Henrique (Miller 78), North, Donachie, Brattan, Young (gk), Broich, Petratos. Sydney FC:Ryall, Ognenovski, Bojic, Gameiro (Gligor 89) Dimitrijevic, Ibini-Isei, Brosque (c), Antonis, Janjetovic (gk), Janko (Naumoff 78), Abbas. Scorers:Janko 28’, Dimitrijevic 54’ Yellow cards:Ibini 18’, Lustica 52’, Brattan 62’, Janjetovic 76’ Conditions:22 °C, dry. Attendance:14, 141
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Cahill and Bresciano in Citys sights

20 hours 40 min ago
Melbourne City coach John van 't Schip has revealed the club hope to make an announcement about their vacant Australian marquee spot in the coming weeks. City still have room in their squad for a domestic player to be paid outside the salary cap, with goals a pressing need for the revamped club. Van 't Schip's side have struck twice in two games so far this season, with both of those goals coming from David Villa, who is set to leave for New York after Round 4. The Dutch coach told reporters on Friday he is looking to remedy that issue by signing a home-grown player with the ability to put the ball in the back of the net. "We have still have that spot left for the Australian marquee, so we'll look around and try to get someone who can score goals," he said. Van 't Schip stopped short of confirming it is vital City's vacant Australian marquee berth goes to a striker. "It doesn't have to be, but it's important that it complements what we need and what we are looking for," he said. "It's not only the Australian marquee - we have the money there more, but we still have a visa spot left as well. "We're planning and we're hoping we can announce something in the coming weeks." A pair of Socceroos veterans, midfielder Mark Bresciano and centre-forward Josh Kennedy, have been two players frequently linked with City, although Van 't Schip was giving nothing away this week. "We're looking at a lot of options," he said. "Mark (Bresciano) is one of the players that we've had in here training with us last year, we already were talking with him to maybe get him. At that moment it was not possible. But in football, things change. It could be a possibility but you have to have patience." Capturing New York Red Bulls forward Tim Cahill, linked with a return to the Premier League and both Sydney clubs in recent months, would be a stunning coup for any A-League club, with Van 't Schip admitting City have discussed a possible move for the 34-year-old. "Looking at Tim, what he's doing with the national team. Of course he's coming to the end of the career but he's still fit, he's still adding a lot of value. He's a player of course that we talk about as well."
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Sydney Clasico: Fans go back to back in the Poznan

Fri, 24/10/2014 - 10:19
It pains me to say it as a Sydney FC fan but as neutral football writer RBB’s Poznan has become an iconic visual feast. And just in case you wish to pour scorn at the scene thousands of Western Sydney Wanders fans and the back of their heads they will respond to any ridicule by enlightening you with his active fan titbit: “Did you know only five football clubs around the world do the Poznan? It’s historic man!” Well did you know that only one football club around the world does an ironic Poznan? It’s Sydney FC man! [Actually, ummm, there are quite a few others... Ed] Ohhhh the ironic humanity! Irony and sports - they go together perfectly. Like wine and cheese, like Tony Abbott wearing a size too small Speedo for a shameless photo op. We are all familiar with ironic cheers and boos in sports but the ironic Poznan is a football first. For Australian football anyway, I’m sure you Euro snobs will know many other occurrences. But who cares about euro football anymore, the Sydney Clasico is its own unique showcase. Sure the onfield action may not always rival the tactical and technical purity of some of world football’s bigger league derbies but off field we more than match them. It’s Australiana on display. It’s where the banter of well-educated football multiculturalistas and ancestral convicts, pissed-three-sheets-to-the-wind, unite. It’s where loyal Sydney FC fans who come from Western Sydney that didn’t jump ship when the Wanderers came into being sing along with the Sydney FC chant: “Fark Off Western Sydney Scum Ole, Ole” without any hint of irony (there it is again) and not a care that it’s very offensive and slightly geo-fascist. Something about those two “Oles” at the end of that chant just cracks me up. Sure at times Sydney FC’s the Cove can’t rival the RBB’s childlike manic enthusiasm. But the Cove doesn’t need to, they’ve been around since the beginning, they don’t need to prove anything to these Western Sydney upstarts. The Cove is in its tenth season. They don’t need to actively support for 90mins. They choose their moments. They leave room for spontaneous pitch invasions and booing Mark Bridge. There would be no RBB without the Cove. Some fan footage of the two active supporter groups engaging in a battle of the Poznan made the rounds on social media... It’s a great showcase of the Sydney Derby featuring an amazing sequence of events that go from the sublime to the ridiculous to the ironic. The footage starts around the 78th minute of play with a packed Cove in full flight, then pans back to the on field action. The ball is spread across Sydney’s midfield where there is more space to pass and move after the Wanderers’ L'enfant terrible, Vitor Saba was sent off, which has got to be my second favourite moment in the history of the A-League. The midfield sends the ball to 17-year-old left back Alex Gersbach (who should have been studying for his HSC). He cross/chips to Corey Gameiro in the box, who in turn cross/chips to Brosque and then – the move ending crescendo – the Sky Blue captain shot/chipping the ball into the net. Cue delirium and what the media calls a pitch invasion, but I call a casual stroll on the green which leads to a group sprint and group hug. One of the alleged pitch invaders breaks from the group and starts to sprint to the halfway line like a fully clothed streaker, he reaches Sydney FC midfielder Terry Antonis and man hugs him, Antonis repays the hug with a hug and a pat on the back. The fully clothed streakers then streaks his way to the stand and jumps into the crowd. A punter in the front row congratulates him for his fine effort but then security comically mistakes the punter in the front row for the streaker and the fully clothed streaker steals away from the authorities to make the second great escape of the evening after Sydney FC made the first one by coming back from two goals down. The punter who was privy to an unfortunate case of mistaken identity then remonstrates with security to highlight that he didn’t like the rough-man handling of the keystone stewards. The camera then zooms to the Western Sydney Wanderers fans and the RBB is in full Poznan mode - “it’s the 80th minute time for us to show the world the back of our heads!” yells the RBB Capo. The camera then zooms to the Cove end and there is my favourite moment in the history of the A-League: The Cove mocking the RBB with their own spontaneous version of the Poznan, a perfect visual definition of football fan irony. Almost as good as late comedian George Carlin’s definition of it: Football fan irony is "a state of affairs that is the reverse of what was to be expected; a result opposite to and in mockery of the appropriate result.” No matter which team you support, to sum up the Sydney Clasico in modern day parlance: It was amazeballs! Con Stamocostas is a football writer. Check you afootballstory.blogspot.com.au
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Preview: Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC

Fri, 24/10/2014 - 09:15
Something’s got to give when these traditional state rivals lock horns for what looms as a ripper clash of Hyundai A-League big guns. Friday, 24 October 2014 Brisbane Roar FC v Sydney FC Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Kick-Off: 7:00 PM (Local) (8:00 PM AEDT) Referee:Peter Green TV Broadcast:Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 1HD 1 from 7.30pm (AEDT), live coverage on SBS One from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand) Radio Broadcast:612 ABC Brisbane, Local Radio QLD, 702 ABC Sydney, ABC Local Radio NSW, Grandstand Digital, ABC Grandstand Online/A-League Live Mobile phone app Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag#BRIvSYD Brisbane Roar FC Squad: 2.Matt SMITH (c), 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 7.Mensur KURTISHI, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 10.HENRIQUE, 11.Liam MILLER, 12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 13.Jade NORTH, 15.James DONACHIE, 18.Luke BRATTAN, 19.Jack HINGERT, 20.Kofi DANNING, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 30.Matthew ACTON (gk) ***one to be omitted*** Ins: 28.Brandon BORRELLO (returns from international duty) Outs:Nil Unavailable:1.Michael THEO (wrist – six weeks), 4.Adam SAROTA (knee – four weeks), 5.Corey BROWN (rib – one week), 6.George LAMBADARIDIS (knee – four weeks), 17.Matt McKAY (suspension – one week) Sydney FC squad:1.Ivan NECEVSKI (GK), 2.Sebastian RYALL, 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 4.Pedj BOJIC, 7.Corey GAMEIRO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12.Hagi GLIGOR, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 17.Terry ANTONIS, 19.Nick CARLE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK), 21.Mark JANKO, 22.Ali ABBAS, 24.George TIMOTHEOU, 25.Aaron CALVER ***two to be omitted*** Ins:11.Bernie IBINI, (promoted), 12.Hagi GLIGOR (promoted), 16.Alex GERSBACH (promoted), 24.George TIMOTHEOU Outs:6.Nikola PETKOVIC (suspended – 1 week), 18.Peter TRIANTIS (calf – 1 week) Unavailable:23.Rhyan GRANT (knee – 1 week), 5.Matthew JURMAN (knee), 9.Shane SMELTZ (groin) BLUFFER’S GUIDE Who would have thought Brisbane would still be searching for their first point heading into round three? But that’s exactly the scenario for Mike Mulvey’s side after losses to both Adelaide United and Perth Glory over the first fortnight. It’s not exactly panic stations just yet but the Roar will be conscious of not giving the leading pack not too much of a head start. However Roar have a strong record against Sydney FC, having lost just one of their last seven Hyundai A-League matches between the two sides. Mulvey has kept the faith despite their slow start, just adding youngster Brandon Borrello to the squad for this one. Matt McKay is still suspended while Adam Sarota (knee) and Michael Theo (wrist) remain sidelined through injury. The big question surrounding the Sky Blues will centre around whether they can pick themselves up less than 72 hours after their energy-sapping 3-1 Westfield FFA Cup defeat to Adelaide United on Tuesday night. Graham Arnold’s side not only had to play 120 minutes but had to get through more than a quarter of that with just 10-men after Nikola Petkovic was sent off. Sydney can at least draw something from the fact they remain unbeaten in the league and showed tremendous character to fight back from two goals down to win the Sydney Derby 3-2 last weekend. Defender Sasa Ognenovski is available after serving his one-game ban in the Cup, but fellow centre-back Petkovic will miss the clash through suspension. Sadly, former Roar man Matt Jurman is out for up to six weeks due to a knee problem, while Shane Smeltz is still a week away from a return from a groin problem. OPTA DATA STATS Dimitri Petratos has only scored five goals in 28 Hyundai A-League appearances, but three of these came for Brisbane against his former side Sydney FC last December in a 5-2 win. Sky Blue Milos Dimitrijevic has completed more passes than any other Hyundai A-League player so far this season (128). Roar have scored in all but one of their last 19 Hyundai A-League meetings with Sydney FC. ROUTE TO GOAL If Roar are to get a positive result they will need to ensure they are strong defensively down their right-hand side. Not only has right-back James Donachie scored a couple of own goals over the first two rounds but most of Sydney’s most potent attack comes down that channel. All four of the Sky Blues’ goals from the first two matches have come down the left, with skipper Alex Brosque and Corey Gameiro at the centre of most of their good work. WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK? Sasa Ognenovski. The veteran defender was involved in everything in the derby last week, not only scoring the equalizing goal but getting in a few skirmishes with Wanderers players. Despite copping some criticism and a one-game ban for his antics – which he served in the Westfield FFA Cup on Tuesday night – there’s no doubt Ognenovski inspires those around him with his actions. The former Roar man is a fantastic leader and Sydney will need that on Friday night. FORM LINES Brisbane are in unchartered waters. Two defeats from two games, with only Western Sydney Wanderers FC below them on the ladder. Roar have never lost the first three matches in the history of the Hyundai A-League. Arnold suffered his first competitive defeat as Sydney FC boss against the Reds on Tuesday night. But he will be keen to maintain his unblemished league record, especially as the Sky Blues have never gone unbeaten over the opening three weeks of a season in Hyundai A-League history. DID YOU KNOW? None of Brisbane’s last 19 home matches in the Hyundai A-League have been drawn (14 wins, 5 losses). PREDICTION Brisbane Roar 2-1 Sydney FC In recent seasons this would have been an easy one to call. Brisbane have had the wood over Sydney FC and have come out on top more often than not. But much has changed since. Roar are struggling without injured goal-keeper Michael Theo and now-Victory striker Besart Berisha. Sydney are also looking a more formidable outfit under Arnold. But with the Sky Blues possibly fatigued after a tiring week and with Brisbane determined to get their season rolling, the home side should just get over the line and secure their first points of the campaign.
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Caravella: Jets strike force just waiting to click

Fri, 24/10/2014 - 08:56
Caravella made his first start of the season coming off the bench in the second half against Melbourne City. The 31-year old helped to the Jets to turn the game and grab a 1-0 lead before Spanish superstar David Villa struck late to secure a 1-1 draw. In round one the Mariners scored in injury-time of the F3 derby to snatch all three points in a 1-0 win. “It was good to be back playing again,” Caravella said after the City match. “It was a good crowd and it was just a good feeling to be out there and getting back into it again. “I thought the first half we were soaking up, they have a lot of good players obviously, so were just soaking up their pressure and in the second half I felt that we controlled a good part of the game. “We probably should have got the three points.” Caravella had a great opportunity to score in the second half but sent his shot over the posts. “To be honest, I had to score that chance in front of goal,” he admits. “If you’re 2-0 up with 10 minutes to go, you’re a good chance to win the game. We have to be more clinical in front of goal and we have to put away our chances. “I think we’ve got a very good side and a good strike force as well with (Marcos) Flores, Jonny Steele, (Joel) Griffiths, the South Americans in Jeronimo and the Ecuadorian (Edson Montano). “There’s a lot of goals in those kind of players. It’s just a matter of getting it all to click and I think we’re pretty solid so far.” Villa’s strike was his second goal in two matches and Caravella described the World Cup winner as amazing. “So sharp, such beautiful touches,” he said. “It’s funny, he doesn’t look like he’s going to score and then he gets a chance - not even half a chance. “He’s just clinical, he put it away and that’s what they do. It’s very easy to get punished.” Caravella left Newcastle in the off-season to focus on a family business but had a change of heart and rejoined the Jets a few weeks ago. The former Gold Coast United midfielder, who missed virtually all of pre-season training, is happy to be back. “I love it,” Caravella said. “It’s always I’ve ever done my whole life is play football. “To come back and play again it’s beautiful, it’s a beautiful feeling. I’m just enjoying every day and having a good time out there in the pitch. “I’m not 100% fit but slowly getting there, just building into games. Hopefully I can build from the Melbourne City game and not go too crazy either. “I don’t want to get injured or anything like that. At the moment I’m just trying to find a bit of a balance.” Newcastle has its first four games of the season away with Hunter Stadium being resurfaced in time for the Asian Cup. The Jets face Wellington in New Zealand this weekend and then play Perth Glory at nib Stadium before their first home match against Melbourne Victory on November 8. “It’s always nice to play in front of your home crowd but in the A-League it’s a good experience playing away as well,” Caravella added. “I think a lot of the boys enjoy playing away, different crowds, it’s tough but also enjoyable.”
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Valeri takes pre-derby dig at Villa

Thu, 23/10/2014 - 20:40
City's polished new public image has been rocked this week by the revelation that their Spanish superstar will leave Australia for New York after Round 4, with his return date unknown. That PR own-goal was compounded by a significant injury setback to international marquee Robert Koren, who is yet to appear for the club. Speaking to the media after training on Thursday, Valeri was caught unawares by news of Villa's imminent departure, but was quick to put a tongue-in-cheek spin on the situation. "I honestly didn't know that - you've got to read the fine print in the contracts," he said. "He's bought a spotlight to the A-League and good on him. He's got to make his personal decisions regardless of what happens in Australia. I think they (City) knew before hand, I can't comment too much because I don't know." All jokes aside, Valeri and his team-mates knows Villa will pose a significant threat to Victory's hopes of claiming local bragging rights on Saturday night. But the 52-cap Socceroo says Kevin Muscat's men won't be focusing too much on the FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League winner. "There's responsibility on every player to keep an eye on everyone," he said. "Obviously he's one to look out for because in and around the box he's fantastic at getting shots on goal. But we study every player, every team, just as much as we're studying Melbourne City." Saturday's match will be Valeri's first taste of one of the biggest games in Australian football, with the 30-year-old eager to sample the frenzied atmosphere of what is expected to be a sold-out Etihad Stadium. "I've seen highlights of a few, but never actually been to one," he said. "It's an exciting time for myself and especially the club. The fans, I know they're pumped, and it's great to play in front of my family and friends who are coming down to watch."
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Young keeping the faith at Brisbane Roar

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 20:07
Brisbane was beaten 2-1 by Adelaide United in round one and then suffered a last-minute 3-2 loss away at the hands of Perth. It has been a difficult start for the defending champions, who host Sydney FC at home on Friday. “The main thing is there are very experienced players in this team who’ve gone and achieved things in this league, and other leagues as well,” Young told FourFourTwo. “And we’ll keep wanting to put in the right performances, and play the game the right way, because that’s what’s got success for this club in the past. “I think if you keep knocking on the door and doing the right things eventually the screw will turn for you. “You can certainly judge a team when things aren’t going well and you’ll see how we react. “We’re a very determined, resilient team and you don’t get the success we have had without that. “We’ll be attacking every game, every training session with that same positivity and striving for excellence and that’s all we can do.” Against the Glory, Brisbane were in front twice before Andy Keogh pulled the home side back into the contest with two goals and then headed in the injury-time winner. Young, who joined the Roar in the off-season, believes Brisbane deserved at least a point from the match. “We controlled the possession and the tempo, which is one of our strong points,” he said. “You look at the goals we conceded. One was a penalty, which obviously was disappointing in that respect, but they didn’t really open us up. And the other one was a deflection so the rub of the green has gone against us. “The third goal there in the last minute is the one we’ll probably be most disappointed about because you’d like to see the game out and at least get a point from the game. “We were in the lead twice during the game so you’d like to think you’d at least get a point because of that. But it wasn’t to be on Sunday. It feels like we’re doing all the right things but it’s not quite paying off at the moment. “You don’t become a bad team in two games. I think if you look at the history of the club, the success it’s had is extremely high. “So we keep faith with that in mind because there’s some bloody good players in our dressing room.” In round one Adelaide United defeated the Roar after Matt McKay was sent off and James Donachie scored an own goal. Young agrees there’s a tendency to say Brisbane have been down on their luck this season. “There’s probably aspects in our game that we need to have a look at and improve on as well,” he said. “(But) you look at some things and they’ve had a bit more luck than us at the start of the season. It’s only two games but it’s just one of those things that happens in sport.” Young returned to Australia this year after 13 years in the UK with Reading, Rushden Diamonds, Wycombe Wanderers, Aldershot Town and Hayes Yeading United. The 29-year old, who represented England at Under-18, Under-19 and Under-20 level, was born and raised in Brisbane. “I’d spent a long time in England, I’d finished my degree and I thought the time was right,” Young said about his return. “I could have gone further in football there and I was offered a PHD in research but I thought the time was right to come back to Australia for some decent weather and some attractive football, because the competition here is an up-and-coming league. “Looking at the crowds this year, and the quality of football played, is a fair indication of that. The time was right, and this was a perfect opportunity to come back.” Young, who made his A-League debut against Adelaide, has been pleased with his first two performances and is keen to keep his first-team spot when Michael Theo returns from injury. “You look at what you’ve done well and what you could do better,” he added. “I think I’ve acquitted myself well playing out from the back and certain saves I’ve made. Playing against quality opposition you’ve got to be able to perform when called upon, so there are many positives to take from that. “Being from Brisbane and representing your hometown is fantastic. For me it’s brilliant. On a footballing note I’ve joined a team that’s extremely successful and as a player you want to be involved with these organisations. So it’s a like a double bonus for me. “I want to be playing games and I’m aware Michael’s an extremely credentialed goalkeeper in this league. But I think if I’m going to be pushing myself to be an exceptional footballer then I’m aiming to be play every game and be in that number one spot. “That’s what it’s about, it’s not about resting on laurels and being happy to coast along - I really want to push myself and improve as a player. And I think, despite the results we’ve had in the last two games, I can personally take a lot of confidence out of it.”
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Melbourne City blow as Koren ruled out for six weeks

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 14:21
The international marquee is yet to make an appearance for his club after picking up a calf injury ahead of the first round of the A-League season. Head coach John van 't Schip revealed on Sunday that Koren had suffered a setback in training and days later confirmed it could sideline him for up to six weeks. News of Koren's significant setback comes after City's winless start to the campaign and follows quickly after revelations that Spanish star David Villa - at the club as a guest player from New York City FC - will not complete his maximum 10-game spell in Australia. The injury to Koren is strangely reminiscent of the fate to befall last season's international marquee, Dutch midfielder Orlando Engelaar, who broke his leg in pre-season and did not make his competitive debut until late January. Villa, who has scored both of the club's goals this season, is likely to start again when City meet second-placed Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium on Saturday. The outing looks set to be his second last for City, who have needed equalisers from Villa to draw their opening two games. Kevin Muscat's Victory enter the clash as favourites and are one of the title fancies. Elsewhere in round three, the team with the only perfect record – Perth Glory – travel to Adelaide on Sunday. Glory striker Andy Keogh is the league's form player and has already scored four times, including a hat-trick against Brisbane last time out. Last season's grand finalists – Brisbane and Western Sydney – are the league's only point-less outfits. Roar host Sydney FC on Friday, while Wanderers are taking on Al Hilal in the AFC Champions League final first leg. The winless Newcastle Jets face a tough trip to Wellington as Phoenix eye back-to-back wins on Sunday.
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A-League Preview: Another blow for Melbourne City ahead of derby

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 14:21
The international marquee is yet to make an appearance for his club after picking up a calf injury ahead of the first round of the A-League season. Head coach John van 't Schip revealed on Sunday that Koren had suffered a setback in training and days later confirmed it could sideline him for up to six weeks. News of Koren's significant setback comes after City's winless start to the campaign and follows quickly after revelations that Spanish star David Villa - at the club as a guest player from New York City FC - will not complete his maximum 10-game spell in Australia. The injury to Koren is strangely reminiscent of the fate to befall last season's international marquee, Dutch midfielder Orlando Engelaar, who broke his leg in pre-season and did not make his competitive debut until late January. Villa, who has scored both of the club's goals this season, is likely to start again when City meet second-placed Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium on Saturday. The outing looks set to be his second last for City, who have needed equalisers from Villa to draw their opening two games. Kevin Muscat's Victory enter the clash as favourites and are one of the title fancies. Elsewhere in round three, the team with the only perfect record – Perth Glory – travel to Adelaide on Sunday. Glory striker Andy Keogh is the league's form player and has already scored four times, including a hat-trick against Brisbane last time out. Last season's grand finalists – Brisbane and Western Sydney – are the league's only point-less outfits. Roar host Sydney FC on Friday, while Wanderers are taking on Al Hilal in the AFC Champions League final first leg. The winless Newcastle Jets face a tough trip to Wellington as Phoenix eye back-to-back wins on Sunday.
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Santo, Sam and Ed join Australian FourFourTwo!

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 14:10
No pay TV? No problem because now for the first time, even if you don't have Fox Sports, you can enjoy the hilarious show with our clip which is not available online anywhere else. So sit back and enjoy - and ponder what you were doing when you were 17 (although it was probably the same as Ed...) Enjoy! You can catch up with the boys on Fox Sports every Tuesday at 7.30pm (FFA Cup allowing...!)
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Fans still have a Heart for City

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 12:34
The opening matches for Melbourne City have brought about some interesting observations from a fans' perspective. Red and white in the crowd A bumper crowd witnessed Melbourne City’s first home game on a warm Sunday afternoon. This was our biggest ever non-derby crowd and even had spectators on the top tiers, again not seen before in a non-derby game. Were there lots of new fans or bandwagoners? How many were there just to see David Villa? Red appeared to slightly outnumber sky blue in the crowd which could be seen as a supporter base not happy with the change or an indication that new jerseys are expensive. The answer will become clearer in coming weeks if red continues to dominate when a likely attendance plateau occurs. The City Football group will undoubtedly want the red to eventually fade away but the scarves of the new active support group Melburnians are predominantly red, indicating a gulf between the club and at least some supporters. The same old story on the pitch Possession and territorial dominance but too few clear-cut chances created from them, and a seemingly inevitable goal conceded against the run of play. Sure it is often great to watch a team work the ball over all over the pitch but it seems like the team want to walk the ball into the net. At times City players need to be more selfish. Instead of making that extra pass to a teammate equally surrounded by defenders take a shot, test out the keeper and potentially cause a rebound. It sounds simple and when shots were taken we looked like scoring. In the 5-10 minutes around the time David Villa did find the back of the net, Newcastle were locked into their own box because we were shooting. David Villa’s goal certainly wasn’t the prettiest of his stellar career but it proves what can happen when you put pressure on the defence and test out the keeper. Playing out from the back? It was noticeable that full-backs Jason Hoffman and Iain Ramsay spread very high and wide when centre-backs Patrick Kisnorbo and Rob Wielaert were in possession. Ramsay was even withdrawn late in the game for James Brown. These gaps were often exploited and resulted in most of Newcastle’s chances, a couple of which should have been taken. Against a Melbourne Victory line-up with Archie Thompson and Besart Berisha this week we can’t afford to concede so much space. Fans are hoping that John van ‘t Schip has an alternative game-plan in mind.
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Melbourne City confirm Villa departure

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 11:21
The capture of the Spanish forward on a temporary basis from parent club New York City FC was heralded as a major coup for the revamped franchise, despite his stay being limited to the maximum 10 games allowed for a 'guest' player. However, it has now been revealed Villa will be unavailable for at least several weeks from November 1 onwards when he travels to New York to fulfil marketing and commercial obligations, as well as helping his family to settle in the United States. "We would obviously want a player of his calibre to represent the club in as many games of the guest allowance as possible between now and the commencement of MLS pre-season training in January," City said in a statement published by News Corp. "The precise number of A-League games that David will play will be determined by the best interests of the player and his now New York-based family and the prioritisation of the requirements of both New York City FC and Melbourne City FC. "That means that his playing and training schedule will be the product of all of those factors and subject to ongoing assessment." City will reportedly seek to secure Villa's return in time to finish his guest stint in the second Melbourne derby of the season on December 20, with the Spaniard unlikely to stay for the home match against Perth Glory six days later.
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Stubbins: We should have beaten City

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 01:11
The Jets went ahead through Edson Montano on 62 minutes after being on the back foot for most of the first half. But Melbourne City hit back on 87 minutes through marquee man David Villa, denying Newcastle the three points. The week before the Jets looked to have secured a draw against the Mariners before Mitchell Duke struck in injury-time to seal a 1-0 win. Stubbins told FourFourTwo the City clash was a mixed bag from his side but he was pleased with the improved display in the second half. “After a fairly shaky start from the boys I'd summarise to say that the game ultimately concluded with a pretty positive performance from us,” he said. “Although, we allowed Melbourne City a lot of the ball in the first half an hour, we held a good structure throughout this period whereby Melbourne found it difficult to break us down and we progressively grew into the contest as halftime approached. “The break allowed us the opportunity to offer some tactical adjustments and the message was one of finding more ways to get on the ball and affect the game against Melbourne City by dictating the play more on our terms. “To a good degree we achieved this. We were much more effective than the opening exchanges of the game, and managed to score the opening goal, and really should have closed the contest out with a couple of very good opportunities, which fell our way prior to them scoring late on through a certain by Mr Villa. “That's not taking anything away from Melbourne City who we all know have some wonderful players on their books now and they did play some appealing football. “However, the confidence and belief in our group is growing each week and to be able to say we probably should have won the game with so many good players representing Melbourne City is a testament to our playing group’s improvements and the actual abilities of ourselves too. “We're disappointed to have conceded so late which cost us the win but buoyed by the improving efforts of the team.” Newcastle is on the road again this weekend with a fixture against Wellington Phoenix on Sunday. The Jets do not play at home until November 8 with the pitch at Hunter Stadium being resurfaced. Newcastle has a terrible record in New Zealand but Stubbins believes his team is up for the challenge. “We've also had the draw of having to play our first four games all away from home but the boys have shown tremendous spirit to carry the flag as they have done thus far,” he said. “It's going to be a another stern test in Wellington next week, but another battle the boys will go into with even further resolve and most importantly the knowledge of knowing that we want to be braver and more productive with the ball as we showed in the second half in particular versus Melbourne City.”
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Gombau sidesteps ref row in afterglow of Reds win

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 00:21
Bruce Djite struck twice in extra time to guarantee the win after Sergio Ciro had opened the scoring in the first half for the Reds only for Alex Brusque to come off the bench at half-time and equalise. But the game turned midway through the second half when referee Ben Williams sent off Nikola Petkovic for a challenge on Fabio Ferreira in a decision that incensed Sydney and their fans. After the match though, Gombau said he never commented on referees, but said that Ferreira had “a contusion” on his leg. “But whether it was a red card or not? I am not a referee, I am a coach,” he said. “The job is very difficult, their job. I always say the same… if we had the whistle, we’d make a lot of mistakes.” Ignoring the controversy, he said he was delighted with his side’s performances which saw a handful of players coming back from injury for the clash. “When we played 11 against 11, it was very equal,” he said. “And after, when Sydney was 10 men, it was more easy and in that moment, we controlled the game.” He admitted he was happy with his side’s start to the season, but added: “It is a long way to the finish. “We have to keep working. Of course, I am happy we won away, we won at home, today we had this result. “But this weekend against Perth Glory who are top of the table, will be a big game for us and an important one and we need to try to get three points.”
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FFA Cup pics: Sydney v Adelaide QF

Tue, 21/10/2014 - 23:40
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