Roar keep Champions League dream alive

Brisbane Roar’s dream of progressing to the knockout stage of this year’s AFC Champions League is still alive, after an important 1-0 win over Beijing Guoan in Match Day Five at Beijing Workers Stadium tonight.

The result takes the Hyundai A-League side to seven points in Group G, in third spot behind tonight’s opponents (10 points) and K-League Classic club Suwon Samsung FC (10 points). The Roar has to beat fourth-placed Urawa Red Diamonds in Match Day Six in two weeks’ time and rely on Suwon to beat Beijing to go through to the Round of 16 on goal difference.

Roar striker Andrija Kaluderovic, who played for Beijing against Brisbane back in 2012, scored the Match Day Five fixture’s only goal late in the first half. While both sides had chances in the second stanza, his 40th minute strike proved to be the match winner against the Chinese Super League club, who hadn’t lost at home since August 2014 prior to tonight. 

“We’re alive in this competition and will fight hard in the final game and hope the result in the other match goes our way,” Kaluderovic said post-match. 

The home side started the brighter of the two sides with their first real chance coming in the 13th minute. Song Boxuan forced an important save from Roar ‘keeper Jamie Young and sent his rebound just wide of the upright. 

Five minutes later, Brisbane midfielder Devante Clut almost broke the deadlock after he combined with Brandon Borrello on the right and unleashed a dipping shot that flew marginally high of the crossbar. 

Buoyed by their lively home crowd, Beijing continued to press forward but it was Frans Thijssen’s men who took the lead with five minutes left to play in the opening half. 

A clever, one-touch chip forward from Clut found Kaluderovic, who did well to stay onside, and the Serbian striker was clinical in front of goal to give his side an important lead. Kaluderovic respectfully chose not to celebrate in front of his former fans. 

The away side had more chances after the break to extend their advantage, first Brandon Borrello snatching at shot when in a dangerous position and not troubling Beijing ‘keeper Yang Zhe and then Andrija Kaluderovic beating one defender but not the second when he was put through on goal by Thomas Broich in the 66th minute.

At the other end of Beijing Workers Stadium, the Roar were also putting in the hard yards as Young denied Beijing an equaliser with a diving save off a free-kick while the Guoan attack were also finding it particularly difficult to get past the compact Roar back four.

In the 89th minute, Luke Brattan almost put the result beyond doubt with a free-kick that troubled Yang but despite not finding the back of the net a second time, the Roar held on for a valuable set of three points.

Brisbane host Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds – their opponents for the club’s first ever AFC Champions League win – on Match Day Six, Tuesday, 5 May at Gold Coast Stadium (7.00pm kick-off).

The Roar side is back in action in the Hyundai A-League this Friday, 24 April at Suncorp Stadium (7.40pm kick-off) against bottom-placed Newcastle Jets.

Beijing Guoan 0
Brisbane Roar 1 (ANDRIJA Kaluderovic 40’)
AFC Champions League 2015 Match Day Five
Tuesday, 21 April at Beijing Workers Stadium, Beijing
Valentin Kovalenko (UZK)

Beijing Guoan: 2. Li Yunqui, 10. Degan DAMJANOVIC, 11. SONG Boxuan, 13. YU Yunlong (c) (3. LI Lei 46’), 14. JIN Pengxiang, 16. Ha DAESUNG, 17. BATELLA, 19. YU Dabao (29. SHAO Jiayi 82’), 21. Erton FEJZULLAHU (23. CHEN Zhizhao 68’), 22. YANG Zhi (gk), 31. ZHAO Hejing

Substitutes not used:  6. ZHANG Xiaobin, 8. PAIO Cheng, 9. TAN Tiencheng, 12. HOU Sen (gk)

Yellow cards: Ha DAESUNG 56’, YU Dabao 60’, LI Lei 69’,

Red cards: Nil

Brisbane Roar: 5. Corey BROWN, 9. ANDRIJA Kaluderovic, 13. Jade NORTH (14. Daniel BOWLES 79’), 15. James DONACHIE, 16. Devante CLUT, 17. Matt McKAY (c), 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Jack HINGERT, 21. Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22. Thomas BROICH, 28. Brandon BORRELLO

Substitutes not used:  4. Adam SAROTA, 8. Steven LUSTICA, 26. Lachlan JACKSON, 23. Dimitri PETRATOS, 34. Shannon BRADY, 36. Fraser CHALMERS (gk)

Yellow cards: James DONACHIE 29’, Corey BROWN 59’, Devante CLUT 69’, Brandon BORRELLO 85’

Red cards: Nil