Roar look good for Champions League opener

Brisbane Roar captain Matt McKay said his side is full of confidence heading into tonight’s AFC Champions League opener against Chinese Super League club Beijing Guoan at Gold Coast Stadium (7.30pm kick-off).

Despite the postponement of Friday night’s Hyundai A-League fixture against Melbourne Victory due to extreme weather conditions, the Roar squad trained hard on Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon to ensure the current run of form in the domestic competition translates into tonight’s performance.

“It was great for the side to get the three [consecutive] wins in the A-League, obviously that confidence will hopefully carry through to this competition,” McKay said.

“We are really looking forward to it, it’s been a couple of years since we’ve been in it. It’s a big competition and we want to be successful.”

The Roar were winless in their 2012 campaign, with three draws and three losses. Both matches against Beijing Guoan ended in 1-1 draws.

The Australian club only finished ahead of their Chinese opponents in Group F due to their fair play record with both the goal difference, head-to-head results and overall goals scored the same.

Although McKay was playing overseas in South Korea for K-League club Busan I’Park at the time, he knows the squad has learnt from its previous experiences in the continental competition.

“There’s a core group from that first campaign and I think that we’ve learnt we need to be a bit more compact, you’ve seen with the Western Sydney success and the way they played,” McKay said.

“We’re going to still try to play our attacking brand of football, there’s no doubt about that. At this club, that’s what we’re all about and hopefully that pays off for us in the long run.”

Less than a month after winning the AFC Asian Cup with the Socceroos, McKay said the recent national team victory showed that his Brisbane side could be successful in Asia by sticking to their trademark football style.

“That’s a prime example that the belief a side can show in the way they play and that attacking style that can translate into wins no matter what competition you’re in,” the 32-year-old said.

“We’ll believe in ourselves and we’ll go out there and give it a real good go.

“I think every side has to [strike a balance] but we’re going to go and play our football. We are not going to be defensive throughout the whole tournament.

“But we’ll be smart, we’re a smarter side now and we’re more experienced.”

With Jerome Polenz omitted from the club’s AFC Champions League due to the AFC’s 3+1 foreigner rule, interim Head Coach Frans Thijssen will be forced to at least one change in his starting eleven with Jack Hingert and Daniel Bowles both in contention for the right-back spot.

Thijssen also hinted that central defender Luke DeVere, yet to make a senior appearance for the club since re-signing in late January, could be included in the match day squad.

Tickets for the match are still available via Ticketek , with easy free transport  options included in any ticket purchase ($10 adults, $5 children).

The Roar yesterday also unveiled its new home and away kits for the AFC Champions League.

The orange (home) and black (away) kits carry the front of shirt logo of new Champions League Group Stage Principal Partner, Griffith University . The black away jerseys will be on sale at the stadium tonight.  

BRISBANE ROAR AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SQUAD:  1. Michael THEO (gk); 3. Shane STEFANUTTO; 4. Adam SAROTA; 5. Corey BROWN; 6. George LAMBADARIDIS; 8. Steven LUSTICA; 9. Andrija KALUDEROVIC; 10. HENRIQUE; 13. Jade NORTH; 14. Daniel BOWLES; 15. James DONACHIE; 16. Devante CLUT; 17 Matt McKAY; 18. Luke BRATTAN; 19. Jack HINGERT; 20. Kofi DANNING; 21. Jamie YOUNG (gk); 22. Thomas BROICH; 23. Dimitri PETRATOS; 26. Lachlan JACKSON; 27. Ben LITFIN; 28. Brandon BORRELLO; 29 Patrick THEODORE; 33. Luke DeVERE; 34. Shannon BRADY; 35. Mitchell HORE; 36. Fraser CHALMERS (gk); 37. Denver CRICKMORE (gk); 38. Nicholas D’AGOSTINO.