Brisbane Roar will take the confidence and character of last season’s epic Hyundai A-League Grand Final into this Saturday’s record-breaking clash against Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium, according to midfielder Erik Paartalu.
Brisbane Roar will take the confidence and character of last season-s epic Hyundai A-League Grand Final into this Saturday-s record-breaking clash against Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium, according to midfielder Erik Paartalu.
The Brisbane club are heading into the round eight fixture aiming to claim the all-time Australian undefeated streak across any football code.
Paartalu, one of only three Roar players to take part in all 35 matches across the undefeated run alongside captain Matt Smith and goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos, said the tremendous character shown by the side during the 120-minute thriller on March 13 was sure to serve them well yet again on the weekend.
Two goals down in extra time with just four minutes left on the clock, Brisbane kept pushing up the park, reducing the deficit through Henrique before Paartalu himself rose highest to meet a Thomas Broich corner and equalise with the last play of the game.
From then on, the Roar players never looked back and momentum took them forward to win the decider 4-2 on penalties.
“We had the same thing when we made the grand final,” he said.
“There was a lot of pressure on us then because we-d done so well all season but people weren-t willing to give us the tag of being the best team until we-d won the grand final.
“We-re used to pressure and especially playing at Suncorp, we-re quite comfortable there.
“It-s a big, nice pitch where we can knock the ball around and we-ll go out there and play our usual football.”
The Roar equalled the 74-year-old record last Saturday with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory against Newcastle Jets at Ausgrid Stadium.
The Hyundai A-League Champions were made to work hard for their three points, especially when a stomach bug forced Smith off the park, welcoming the make-shift central defensive pairing of Mohamed Adnan and Ivan Franjic.
This allowed former North Queensland Fury defender Jack Hingert to make his debut for the club at Franjic-s usual right-back position and at the full-time whistle, Brisbane were without up to five of their regular starters.
Paartalu admitted to nerves after his skipper was replaced but hailed the players who stepped in to make their contributions count.
“I personally felt more pressure last week against Newcastle because it was a very difficult game going away from home,” he said.
“Circumstances went against us at half-time, 1-0 down and Smithy had to come off and there were a few things thrown at us.
“We reacted really, really strongly and I was very, very proud of that performance last week.
“It was great character shown by the boys and definitely I don-t feel any pressure this week compared to last week.”
Brisbane Roar vs. Perth Glory Saturday, 26 November 2011 Venue: Suncorp Stadium Local Kick Off: 6:45pm (7:45pm AEDT)
Referee: Jarred Gillett / Assistant Ref 1: Alex Glasgow / Assistant Ref 2: Nathan McDonald / 4th Official: Adam Kersey
TV Broadcast: Fox Sports 1
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 18): Brisbane Roar wins 11, Perth Glory wins 3 (4 draws)
Brisbane Roar Squad: 1. Michael Theoklitos (gk), 2. Matt Smith (c), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paaratlu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 10. Henrique, 11. Issey Nakajima-Farran, 16. Mohamed Adnan, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 21. James Meyer, 22. Thomas Broich, 30. Matt Acton (gk).
In: Nil Out: Nil Unavailable: 9. Kofi Danning (International duty), 4. Matt Jurman (International duty), 17. Mitch Nichols (International duty), 20 Andrew Redmayne (abdominal injury - 3 weeks)
Perth Glory squad: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2.Josh MITCHELL, 3.Bas van den BRINK, 4.Billy MEHMET, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 8.Adam HUGHES, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 14.Steven McGARRY, 15.Tommy AMPHLETT, 17.Todd HOWARTH, 18. Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 19.Josh RISDON, 25. Trent McCLENAHAN, 27.ANDREZINHO, 30. Lewis ITALIANO (gk) *one to be omitted*
In: 15.Tommy AMPHLETT, 18.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 25.Trent McCLENAHAN (all promoted) Out: 10.Liam MILLER (suspended - 1 week), 21.Mile STERJOVSKI (wife giving birth) Unavailable: 5.Steve PANTELIDIS (Achilles), 10.Liam MILLER (suspended - 1 week), 11.Victor SIKORA (hip - long term injury list), 12.Scott NEVILLE (knee), 13.Travis DODD (hamstring- 3 weeks),16.Evan BERGER (hamstring - 6-weeks), 20.Neil YOUNG (abdominal), 21.Mile STERJOVSKI (wife giving birth)