In typical Brisbane Roar FFA cup fashion, we displayed 120 minutes of unexciting football, then conceded a goal to a riled-up Bruno Fornaroli, knocking us out in the round of 32, once again.
Fornaroli won gold for diving early on. The crowd were giving it to him every time he got near the ball. Annoyingly this fired him up enough to score a worldie in the dying minutes of extra time, preventing the game from going to penalties. This meant Melbourne City continue to the round of 16. Perhaps lucky for some, there was a mass exodus of the 6151 strong crowd at Dolphin Stadium at the 90th minute mark, so most fans weren’t around to see Brisbane knocked out, yet again.
Daniel Bowles and Jacob Pepper led the backline for Brisbane, with both holding on very tightly to Fornaroli for most of the game. The Uruguayan made a meal of it, going to ground in dramatic fashion every time he made contact with the Brisbane defenders. This actually worked to Brisbane’s advantage a lot of the time, as it broke up City’s attack.
Connor O’Toole started as Left Back for Brisbane, which could be a regular occurrence as he is the most likely replacement for Corey Brown, now a Melbourne Victory man. A shame the ginger-haired defender is gone, since there will be a lot of missed joke opportunities with Buderim Ginger coming on board as Brisbane Roar’s new sponsor.
Fornaroli made a splash as the star for Melbourne City in this FFA cup clash; Daniel Leck was the most exciting player for the Roar providing a much-needed spark when he came on. Unfortunately, the rest of the team couldn’t back him up after already playing a full 90 minutes by the time Leck subbed on replacing Henrique.
Eric Bautheac also put in a good shift for the home team being only half the player he was last season, now number 11 with his 22 jersey going to Danish winger Mikkelson. Good to see the unretired Broich jersey is being treated with respect. The Frenchman clearly ran out of gas partway through the second half, getting the magic pickle juice from a Brisbane trainer. Even with his fatigued body, he still made some key passes and put in a dangerous cross for Leck who unsuccessfully tried to chip Galeckovic who was in goals for City.
Bart Schenkeveld was a rock in defence for Melbourne, shutting down most of Brisbane’s attacking chances and making some important tackles on Henrique early in the game. Schenkeveld used his size and strength to keep Henrique out of City’s box. Henrique provided one of the most entertaining moments of the game when he ended up with Schenkeveld’s leg over his shoulder during a throw-in. Comically, and perhaps exasperatedly Henrique appealed to the referee while holding the leg in place to make his point.
Luke Brattan caused a 35-minute injury delay after Mauk appeared to kick him in the head with the ball in the 38th minute. On a cold Tuesday night in Redcliffe, this led to possibly the longest game of football I’ve ever sat through. Luckily, the delay was just a precaution, Brattan was cleared by doctors after a quick visit to the hospital for scans for a suspected spinal injury. Very good news for Roar fans who resisted the urge to run on to the field and nurse a former favourite Roar player back to health.
Throughout the game, both teams were throwing themselves into tackles, with bodies on the line, something which lead to Luke Brattan’s injury scare. Both teams played quite a stale game, with not
many shots on target and lots of stray crosses into the box. It was a very scrappy game especially during extra time.
New recruits for Brisbane; Tobias Mikkelson, Adam Taggart and Stefan Mauk, haven’t yet shown a significant change for Aloisi’s team. From initial viewing, the season ahead isn’t looking too promising for the Brisbane men. A frustrated John Aloisi was very animated on the sideline, urging his team to play it forward.
Bautheac and Henrique combined well during the game, sharing clever passes but just needed to find that final spark to break through City’s solid defence. Something is still lacking for Brisbane, so far it feels like the same tired team from our forgettable last season. Let’s hope some more preseason hit-outs will build Aloisi’s men into something more exciting come the start of the Honda… ahem, Hyundai A league season in October.
Melbourne City progress to the Round of 16 for a home clash against Newcastle Jets, let’s see if Fornaroli can stay on his feet long enough to pull off another last-minute winner.
By Kianna Aquilina