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Melbourne Victory - Brisbane Roar Preview

Goal.com logo Goal.com 27-04-2017

For the third time in the 2016-17 A-League finals there will be a rematch from last year, with Melbourne Victory looking for a maiden win over Brisbane Roar in the post-season.

SQUADS

Melbourne Victory squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Marco ROJAS, 8.Besart BERISHA, 10.James TROISI, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.James DONACHIE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Stefan NIGRO, 23.Jai INGHAM, 40.Matt ACTON (gk) **two to be omitted**

Ins: 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI (returns from suspension), 19.George HOWARD (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

Brisbane Roar squad: 3.Luke DEVERE, 5.Corey BROWN, 6.Avram PAPADOPOULOS, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 11.Tommy OAR, 13.Jade NORTH, 15.ARANA, 17.Matt MCKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 26.Nick D'AGOSTINO, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 29.Joe CALETTI, 43.Tomislav BILIC (gk) **two to be omitted**

Ins: 15.ARANA (returns from injury), 17.Matt MCKAY (returns from injury), 19.Jack HINGERT (returns from injury), 43.Tomislav BILIC (gk) (promoted)

Outs: 1.Michael THEO (gk) (knee – 4 weeks), 46.Cameron CRESTANI (not selected)

Unavailable: 4.Daniel BOWLES (knee – season)

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

Brisbane head into this Sunday's A-League semi-final against Victory with a major question mark regarding their goalkeeping options for the clash at AAMI Park.

Michael Theo shone for 98 minutes in Roar's elimination final against Western Sydney Wanderers last week but a knee injury forced him off in extra time and will ensure the five-time A-League champion won't line up against his former club.

Jamie Young replaced Theo at Suncorp Stadium and produced a couple of noteworthy saves himself, including on the decisive penalty from Jumpei Kusukami, as Brisbane advanced to the last four.

COMMENT: Stunning start to A-League finals

Young then suffered a freak injury in Wednesday night's 3-0 AFC Champions League (ACL) loss to Muangthong United, cutting his elbow on a broken net hook after colliding with a goal post, with the wound reportedly requiring 26 stitches.

It is unclear whether Young will be able to start against Victory, meaning third-choice gloveman Tomi Bilic - who made his senior debut by coming on against Muangthong - could anchor Roar's defence.

Young has been named in John Aloisi's extended squad, while injured duo Matt McKay (knee) and Jack Hingert (cheekbone) return - with Cameron Crestani, who started against Muangthong, dropping out alongside Theo.

Arana made his return from a hamstring injury in midweek and stays in the squad.

Victory hope to exploit tired Roar

Aloisi will regain the services of Corey Brown and Avram Papadopoulos, who were suspended for the ACL fixture, plus rested quartet Jade North, Thomas Kristensen, Brett Holman and Jamie Maclaren.

Roar defeated Victory in an elimination final last term, with Thomas Broich's stoppage-time header deciding the match, while in their only other post-season meeting, Brisbane triumphed 1-0 in the 2013-14 semi-finals thanks to a goal from Besart Berisha.

Now with Victory, Berisha will be looking to help the Big V maintain their almost perfect finals record at home.

The 2010 grand final, which Sydney FC won at Etihad Stadium, is the only one of Victory's 10 home finals they have lost and that came after a penalty shootout.

Borrello reveals Aloisi's penalty advice

The home side - who have limped into the finals with two wins in six matches - regain Daniel Georgievski from suspension, while George Howard is also added to an extended squad.

Across three meetings so far in 2016-17, Victory and Roar have been effectively impossible to split with both teams securing one win after their opening round clash finished level - the aggregate score in those matches is 4-4, while the game at AAMI Park in January ended 3-2 in favour of the Big V.

ROUTE TO GOAL

This clash will see the A-League's joint Golden Boot winners go head to head.

Roar striker Maclaren edged ahead of Berisha last week with his equaliser against the Wanderers taking him to 20 goals for the campaign.

While that goal doesn't count in deciding the Golden Boot, there's no doubt Berisha will want to at least match Maclaren's effort in front of the Victory faithful.

Berisha makes history with A-League century

The Kosovo international reached 100 A-League goals in the final round of the regular season.

The hosts have a slight edge defensively having conceded 31 goals to Brisbane's 37 across 27 rounds, and with Broich likely to start on the bench following the midweek trip to Thailand, Victory boss Kevin Muscat will back the likes of Alan Baro and James Donachie to keep Roar quiet.

If Broich can't start, Aloisi will be putting the responsibility on Brett Holman and Brandon Borrello to give Maclaren the support he needs to open up Victory's defence.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

© Provided by Goal.com

Jamie Young. Having replaced Theo in extra time versus Western Sydney, the 31-year-old goalkeeper's first action was a brilliant save to deny Brendon Santalab. Young was Roar's shootout hero after he parried Jumpei's spot-kick away but may be sidelined this week following his unfortunate injury in Thailand.

FORM GUIDE (all competitions)

Melbourne Victory: WLLDW

Brisbane Roar: LWWWL

PREDICTION

Melbourne Victory 2-1 Brisbane Roar (aet)

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