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Reds hoping to build on three-match unbeaten run

Adelaide United squad
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Three matches unbeaten including successive come-from-behind draws, Adelaide United will be desperate to get back to winning ways away to Brisbane Roar on Sunday.

The Reds have been a resilient outfit all season and twice fought back against Melbourne City last weekend to draw 2-2.

However, Carl Veart and his side know they need to start collecting maximum points from matches if they are to compete for a finals spot.

One win and five draws after eight games has Adelaide currently situated in seventh place.

The two teams have already crossed paths this season back in Matchweek 3 with the contest ending in a goalless stalemate.

As for the hosts, they notched their first victory of the campaign with a 1-0 triumph over Perth Glory on Wednesday night.

Team news

Apart from the long-term absentees, Carl Veart’s squad has been given a clean bill of health. The boss has a full squad available, highlighted by the return of Isaías from suspension and Michael Jakobsen and Mohamed Toure recovering from COVID-19.

What the experts say

Gyawe Jonas Salley: It is a massive game for Adelaide United after a late comeback against Melbourne City to earn a draw last weekend, they need a win to be in the top six.

On the other hand, it has not been the best start for Brisbane Roar since the beginning of the season. But after getting their first win of the season on Wednesday night against Perth Glory, they will be looking to build on that.

Rob Greenwood: Adelaide United enters the clash on the back of a three-match unbeaten run in the league. But the unpredictable Reds have won just once in a campaign littered with missed opportunities. Brisbane has endured a similarly patchy season and only notched its first victory in a midweek success over Perth Glory. The fixture looms as an important test of both sides’ top six credentials.

Campbell Johnson: Both sides will come into this game high on confidence following late goals to gain points. New signing for the Reds, Hiroshi Ibusuki, was able to score his first goal for the club in the 84th-minute to level things against the reigning Izuzu Ute A-League Men’s champions in Melbourne City.

Brisbane on the other hand were able to grab their first win of the season through a first ever Izuzu Ute A-League Men’s goal from NPL product, Henry Hore. Coming off two straight draws, Adelaide will be looking to get back to winning ways after adding new additions and firepower to a squad ravaged by injuries and outgoing stars.

The main question mark for the Roar this season has been goals and where they’re going to come from. Argentine import, Juan Lescano, has failed to impress thus far for the men in Orange, only scoring one goal, that coming in his club debut in the FFA Cup against NPL QLD side, Peninsula Power in the Round of 32. With the side only putting the ball into the opposition net on three occasions this season, the Roar must try something different if they want to get something out of the game on the weekend. With a well-deserved call up to the Socceroos, Craig Goodwin may be joining the national team before having the chance to take on Brisbane. If so, that will be a huge omission for the Reds.

One to watch

Gyawe Jonas Salley: It has been delightful watching Bernardo. He’s young, and not afraid to take on the defender in the final third. Each game he is getting more confident.

Rob Greenwood: He salvaged a point for the Reds with a late equaliser just 13 minutes into his A-League debut against Melbourne City last week. Now Japanese signing Hiroshi Ibusuki will look for more game time to further demonstrate his predatory instincts and make the No.9 berth his own.

Campbell Johnson: It’s exciting times for Reds fans as the club adds attacking reinforcements in the form of Hiroshi Ibusuki and the returning Lachy Brook. Whilst the exciting Kusini Yengi may be sidelined, Reds fans will still have plenty to cheer for with George Blackwood returning from his time at Oldham Athletic.

Despite playing just over 20 minutes in last week’s fixture, excitement is starting to build around Adelaide’s new Japanese forward, Hiroshi Ibusuki. His vast experience overseas will bring a new dimension to the Adelaide strike-force. It’ll be especially exciting to see how big of a role he plays heading into this week. Keep your eyes peeled!

Key battle

Gyawe Jonas Salley: Nikola Mileusnic vs Ryan Kitto, both have speed. Kitto has been good so far this season and Nikola an ex-Adelaide United player, has got a lot to prove so he will be great to watch.

Rob Greenwood: Craig Goodwin and Nikola Mileusnic know each other’s games inside out, having spent the 2018/19 campaign terrorising defences on opposite flanks for the Reds. The battle of the SA-born flyers might prove crucial, as Adelaide star Goodwin bids to bounce back from last Saturday’s penalty miss and Roar recruit Mileusnic looks to get one over his hometown club.

Campbell Johnson: If Craig Goodwin makes the trip and plays, his creativity demonstrated by having the most key passes in the league with 27 will be crucial to slicing through a Brisbane Roar defence that has conceded seven goals in six games this campaign. However, I’m particularly intrigued in the midfield battle. Specifically, between the two captains, Adelaide’s Stefan Mauk and Brisbane’s Jay O’Shea.

It’s always fun to watch players play against their former teams and this matchup is no different. A battle which has started to be coined as the Stefan Mauk derby, Sunday will prove a big opportunity for the 14-time Roar player.

Mauk has been integral for the Reds over the past few seasons, becoming a mainstay and evolved his game to become a goalscoring box-to-box midfielder fuelled by his high motor and relentless engine. Adelaide’s second youngest captain ever will have a lot to prove against his former side as he comes up against of the league’s best creative midfielders in Jay O’Shea.

The Irish midfielder has been so consistent since coming to the league being the chief creator for the Roar since arriving in Queensland. Despite perhaps not having the strongest supporting cast in his time at the club, O’Shea is still putting up strong creative numbers from midfield with 196 passes into the opposition half ranking him fourth in the league.
It’ll be a fiery one as always, with tempers flaring late last time these sides met, Javi Lopez being sent off in the dying stages for a tackle on Juan Lescano only adding to the drama.

One change you’d like to see

Gyawe Jonas Salley: I would like to see Lachlan Brook starting in the midfield, he has an attacking mind so it would be beneficial to Craig Goodwin, George Blackwood, Hiroshi Ibusuki, Bernardo and Nestory Irankunda.

Rob Greenwood: Lachlan Brook showed glimpses of his rich potential in a half-hour cameo against City, following his loan move back to Adelaide from English Premier League outfit Brentford. The Australian youth international would be worth a start and could go some way to filling the creative void left by recently-departed attacker Ben Halloran.

Campbell Johnson: From an Adelaide perspective, it’ll be interesting to see how they adapt to life without the attacking talent they started the season with. If Craig Goodwin is unable to play due to national team responsibilities, I’d love to see Bernardo Oliveira or Yaya Dukuly get into the game and cause problems for the Roar defence. If James Delianov is still injured as well, It’ll be interesting to see how Joe Gauci, the West Torrens Birkala product, steps up.

As for the Roar, it may sound simple but they just need to score. They have to be more clinical in the final third. In their game with Perth Glory mid-week they took 28 total shots with nine on target for a return of one goal in contentious a fortunate fashion. That is simply not good enough. The two players with the most shots in the squad this season are central midfielder Jay O’Shea (14) and the very talented Alex Parsons (13) who has only started two games this season and spurned a chance from right in front with an empty net against Perth. The opportunities are there for the Roar, they just need to step up and take them.

Head-to-head

Played: 52
Wins: 23
Draws: 10
Losses: 19

Last five meetings

0-0 draw (A)
1-2 win (A)
1-0 win (H)
3-1 loss (A)
0-1 win (A)

Predictions

Gyawe Jonas Salley: It won’t be an easy game but I expect Adelaide United to win 1-0.

Rob Greenwood: A win for goal-shy Brisbane, which has found the net on just three occasions this campaign, would draw it level on points with United, despite having played two games less. But Carl Veart’s charges will take positives from consecutive come-from-behind draws over the past fortnight and should have just enough quality to edge a tight encounter. Prediction: Brisbane Roar 0 – Adelaide United 1.

Campbell Johnson: The last time these two sides faced off was in Brisbane’s first home game of the year that resulted in a goalless stalemate. Prior to their last meeting earlier this season, Adelaide United had won seven of their past nine A-League Men’s games against the men in Orange.

However, a rejuvenated and revived Warren Moon Roar side may be able to turn the tides following an inspiring mid-week win at home. Their last home game prior to their Wednesday night win over Perth was the nil-all draw in Round three back in December. The Roar did excite fans against the Glory, dominating throughout but lacking that clinical edge.

With the side getting back into the swing of things, I’m predicting an exciting 2-2. The same result as the sides may share the points once again. Their round three meeting earlier in this campaign also spelled three draws on the bounce for Carl Veart’s side. But will they be able to fight against a Roar side reborn? You’ll have to tune in this Sunday to find out.

Match details:
Sunday, 23 January vs Brisbane Roar
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 11
Kick-off 6.15pm ACDT
Venue: Moreton Daily Stadium
Stream: Paramount+