Preview: Australia – 2013/14 A-League – Grand Final – Brisbane Roar vs Western Sydney Wanderers
The ninth A-League edition, the highest Championship in Australia, that in 2005 replaced the previous National Soccer League switching to an “American” format, based on franchises, tomorrow morning (Sunday May 4th at 07.00 GMT) will finally come to an end.
Regular Season was composed by 10 teams, that faced eachother 3 times; after 27 matchdays the 6 best ranked teams qualified for the Finals, that were organized in this way: the first and the second placed, this year respectively Brisbane Roar FC and Western Sydney Wanderers FC, had direct access to Semi-finals, while the third and the fourth one faced respectively the sixth and the fifth one in two Elimination-Finals, whose winners played against the first and second placed in the Semi-finals, whose winners will play the Grand Final, usually at the venue of the best ranked team in Regular Season, unless its stadium isn’t big enough.
We remember you the in the League there’s a Salary Cap, that can be derogated just for an International Marquee Player (such as Alessandro Del Piero, William Gallas, Emile Heskey, Shinji Ono, Pablo Contreras and Orlando Engelaar), an Australian Marquee Player (such as Archie Thompson and Matt McKay), and partially for a Junior Marquee Player, who can’t be older than 23, while each team can’t have more than 5 foreign players in its roster.
This year the Grand Final will be played at Suncorp Stadium between Brisbane Roar FC, the home team, and Western Sydney Wanderers FC, but before introducing you this match, we are going to make a quick review about the Finals.
MELBOURNE VICTORY FC – SYDNEY FC 2-1
19′ Thompson, 90+2′ Finkler - 34′ Ryall.
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS FC – ADELAIDE UNITED FC 1-0
BRISBANE ROAR FC - MELBOURNE VICTORY FC 1-0
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS FC - CENTRAL COAST MARINERS FC 2-0
31′Hersi, 81′ La Rocca.
BRISBANE ROAR FC – WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS FC 60%-40%
The match will be played in Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium, between two quite similars teams, that have almost the same average attendance (almost 15.000 per game) and on the pitch are two of the most successful franchises in the League: anyway, according to us, considering that they will play at home and how they dominated the Regular Season, Brisbane Roar FC is a bit favorite.
Both of the teams, together with Central Coast Mariners FC, are already qualified for 2015 AFC Champions League, unless this competition will change its format again.
Brisbane Roar FC has been the most successful team in A-League for the last years, having played 3 Grand Finals in the last 4 years (they won 2010/11 and 2012/13 Edition before tomorrow match), and this year dominated Regular Season, topping it with 52 points in 27 matches, 10 more than the second (Western Sydney Wanderers FC).
BRFC, that wears an orange jersey, plays its home matches at Suncorp Stadium (Lang Park), that can hold 52.5000 people, and has an average attendance of 14.952 spectators per game (the data would be more than 15.000 if Final matches were included), the third highest in the League, behind Melbourne Victory FC’s and Sydney FC’s ones.
The most famous and/or important players in the team managed by Mike Mulvey are:
Jade North, 32, Australian International (41 app.) and former Incheon United FC (SKO), Tromso IL (NOR), FC Tokyo (JAP) and Consolade Sapporo (JAP) defender
Ivan Franjic, 26, right back, Australian International
Liam Miller, 33, former Irish International (21 app.) and former Celtic FC, Manchester United FC, Aarhus GF (DEN), Leeds United, AFC Sunderland, QPR and Hibernian FC midfielder
Matt McKay, 31, Australian International (45 app.), former Incheon United FC (SKO), Changchun Yatai (CHN), Rangers FC and Busan IPark (SKO) midfielder
Luke Brattan, 24, midfielder
Thomas Broich, 33, former Borussia Mönchengladbach, 1.FC Köln and 1.FC Nürnberg German midfielder
Dimitri Petratos, 21, offensive midfielder, at the beginning of this Season he was signed from Sydney FC, in which he didn’t play a lot, and has been one of the biggest surprises of this year and could be an interesting prospect
Henrique Silva, 28, short Brazilian winger
Besart Berisha, 28, former Albanian International (1 goal in 17 matches), former Hamburg SV, Aalborg BK (DEN), AC Horsens (DEN), FC Burnley (ENG), Rosenborg BK and Arminia Bielefeld (GER) striker: he’s been the topscorer of the team since 2011 (he has never scored less than 11 goals per Season), but after the Grand Final he’ll move to Melbourne Victory FC, to whom he scored the goal that eliminated them in the Semi-final.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC, currently owned by Football Federation of Australia, is the youngest team in A-League, but, despite being just at its second season, proved to be one of the most successfull franchises in the League, playing two Grand Final in two year (in 2012/13 they lost to Central Coast Mariners), and qualified for AFC Champions League 2013/14 Round of 16 at its first experience in the continental Competition.
The team, that wears a red and black orizontal striped jersey, plays its home matches at Paramatta Stadium (capacity: 21.500) and proved to have, despite sharing the local fanbase with the “older” Sydney FC, a good success on the stands as well, because, with 14.860 spectators per game, has the fourth average attendance in the League, and registered decent numbers (about 11.000 per game) during AFC Champions League games as well, a competition often “snobbed” by australian fans; moreover WSWFC fans (at the end of the post you can find a video about an away Derby against Sydney FC) are among the loudest in the Country.
The most famous and/or important players in the squad managed by the former Australian International, Anthony Popovic,are:
Ante Covic, 38, former AO Kavala (GRE), PAOK FC, GNK Dinamo Zagreb, Hammarby IF (SWE) and Elfsborg IF (SWE) goalkepeer
Jerome Polenz, 27, former Werder Bremen II, Alemannia Aachen and 1.FC Union Berlin German right back
Matthew Spiranovic, 25, Australian International, former 1.FC Nürnberg and Urawa Red Diamond (JAP) defender
Michael Beauchamp, 33, former Australian International, former 1.FC Nürnberg and Aalborg BK (DEN) International; he’s the Captain of the team
Mateo Poljak, 24, former NK Lokomotiva Zagreb croatian midfielder
Aaron Mooy, 23, former St. Mirren FC (SCO) midfielder
Shinji Ono, 34, former Japanese International (6 goals in 57 matches), former Urawa Red Diamonds (JAP), Feyenoord and VfL Bochum (GER) offensive midfielder
Brendon Santalab, 31, a left winger who played in Belgium, Hungary and China
Youssouf Hersi, 31, former AFC Ajax, NAC, SV Heerenveen, Vitesse, FC Twente, AEK Athens and Aiki Larnaca (CYP) Ethiopian/Dutch right winger
Mark Bridge, 28, striker
Tomi Juric, 22, Australian International, former NK Lokomotiva Zagreb and NK Inter Zapresic striker: with 8 goals in 18 matches (“just” 999 minutes played) he’s the seasonal topscorer.