A reinvigorated Sydney FC will look to back up their derby win when they face runaway A-League leaders Brisbane Roar on Friday night. With five games to go the Sky Blues are back in the top six, and can go as high as second on the ladder with victory over the Roar.
While they derby win is an obvious high in Sydney FC’s season, the previous game this season against Brisbane at Allianz Stadium was most definitely a low. The Sky Blues were thoroughly outplayed – despite having taken an early lead – and ended up on the receiving end of a 5-2 score line. This followed a 4-0 defeat at Suncorp Stadium in October, giving Brisbane an aggregate 9-2 advantage over Sydney this season.
Sydney FC have only recorded one draw all season, hence the rollercoaster nature of their campaign. Although it might not be great on the nerves of fans, it is actually better to win one and lose one than to draw two. In fact, the likelihood of a draw in this game is pretty low as the Roar only have two this season themselves. All other teams in the A-League have five, six or seven each.
The addition of Sasa Ognenovski has had a great effect for Sydney. It is not just at the heart of the defence where they had previously been leaky, but also through his leadership qualities. With Alessandro Del Piero off the park in the latter stages of the derby Ognenovski took the game – and some of his teammates – by the scruff of the neck. It could actually be a real benefit to Del Piero to have other strong characters in the team around him, allowing the Italian to lead by example with the ball at his feet.
Ominously for Sydney, Beshart Berisha looked in top form for Brisbane last weekend against Adelaide, and he has been a source of much pain for the Sky Blues over the past few seasons. Thomas Broich also made key contributions while having a quiet game, and Sydney FC old boy Dimi Petratos will hope to build on the display he gave against his old club on Boxing Day.
Friday 14th March, Allianz Stadium Moore Park 19:30
Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar