Brisbane Roar aim to make the Grand Final for the second consecutive year - can they win the A-League? (AAP Image/ Patrick Hamilton)

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In possibly the biggest anti-climax in football since Fernando Torres’ disastrous transfer to Chelsea, Brisbane Roar kicked off their Asian Champions League campaign in the worst way possible, failing to live up to the hype in a disappointing 0-2 loss to FC Tokyo in Brisbane overnight.

Playing on their home turf Brisbane entered the match as overwhelming favourites.

Excitement was in the air. Roar coach Ange Postecoglou spoke confidently of his aspirations to win the thing and dreamt of lining up against the top clubs in Europe.

People were salivating at the imperative question of the night – how would Brisbane Roar, widely regarded as the best ever A-League team, stack up against international competition? Betting markets gave them short odds of $1.60 while FC Tokyo were given little hope of victory at $5.50.

Then slowly but surely the reality check sunk in.

Each making their debut in the Asian Champions League, both teams took a while to warm up in the early stages with a handful of chances going either way.

The styles of play were similar but the execution from Tokyo was far superior than the efforts of the home team.

It was as the first half came to a close however, that FC Tokyo really came into their own and began to exploit Brisbane’s weak points in defence. A poor effort from the back four men in orange allowed a Tokunaga cross which was aptly put away by Yazawa in the final minute of injury time.

The Emperor’s Cup Champions then doubled their advantage through Hasegawa not long into the second half, leaving a mountain to climb for Brisbane to get back in it.

After the game, Postecoglou put the first half capitulation and overall performance down to nerves, proving that even for seasoned professional footballers, testing your skills against an international outfit can still be daunting.

“We’re obviously disappointed with the result. As expected it was a tough game,” he said.

“Our pressure wasn’t what it should be to be honest. We didn’t win the ball back pretty quickly as we do in the A-League.

“It’s challenging, but from a team point of view I think the experience will do us good.”

Brisbane never really played to their potential.

In defence there were many lapses, with towering fan-favourite Mohamed Adnan having a particularly difficult night.

In attack, the likes of Thomas Broich, Henrique and Besart Berisha were never afforded enough room to work some of their magic while facing the stealthy Tokyo backline.

There were long balls, something not seen very often from Brisbane in the A-League. The Roar appeared fragile and slow in possession, bumped off time and time again by the strong Tokyo men, who would then break away with incredible speed.

Brisbane played deep for long periods of the game, pressing too infrequently and unable to keep up with Tokyo’s quick tempo, which gave the visitors plenty of time on the ball in the attacking half.

Not that they needed it.

Their one touch passing through midfield was beautiful to watch and saw them toy with the Roar in a way we’re used to seeing Brisbane toy with other A-League teams.

Serbian FC Tokyo coach Ranko Popovic was beaming post-match at the display from his players.

“This game, we played very smart. I think we were one step ahead of Brisbane,” he said.

“Big respect to Brisbane, and I’m not someone to give out compliments for no reason.

“They are doing very well but I’m happy. Today we were a little bit better and we won the game.”

Whether you were one of the 12,037 ACL fans in wet conditions at Brisbane Stadium (Suncorp Stadium) or one of the many keen ACL followers watching from home, it’s hard not to feel a little deflated at the result.

FC Tokyo are a great side who were never worthy of playing in the second tier. They are rightly back in the top flight of Japanese football and showed all their class against Brisbane.

Despite little game time, they never looked flustered by the reigning A-League champions. Even without two key players they proved to be miles ahead of Brisbane at almost every stage of the match.

The best side won it; no-one can argue with that.

Still, even though Brisbane now sit at the bottom of Group F on goal difference following Ulsan Hyundai’s win in the other match, from all accounts Postecoglou and the team remain positive about their chances of advancing through to the knockout round.

However, you can’t help but think that if they play like they did tonight, it’s hard to see them getting very far.

It’s harsh, but true.

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The Crowd Says (134)

  • March 7th 2012 @ 6:57am
    JohnL said | March 7th 2012 @ 6:57am | ! Report

    Hi Mel

    Last night was definitely a learning experience for us, and have no complaints about the final result. Disappointing – yes, but Tokyo were worth the win. From a spectator point of view, it was a great match to watch, and dare I say, was nice to have some quality opposition up here to watch. (This is not a dig at anyone or the a-league, but we are steps behind the top countries in Asia.)

    A couple of things that I noted during the game which hopefully we can improve on starting this weekend, is increasing the speed of our ball circulation, and looking to get our midfielders in positions behind their strikers to give us penetration beyond their first defensive line.

    For the people that are laughing and making fun of the Roar because Tokyo FC were in the J2 last season – seriously? A bit more respect needs to be given. Where were Kashima Reysol before they won the J-League? (J2 champions) Where were Roar before we won the double last season? (9th). A teams position/history means nothing. It’s how you perform on the night.

    To the Adelaide supporters, congratulations on your win last night. And to the Mariners supporters, all the best tonight. I will be cheering you guys on for a win.

    • Roar Guru

      March 7th 2012 @ 10:37am
      Griffo said | March 7th 2012 @ 10:37am | ! Report

      Some disappointment is natural but the Roar’s ACL campaign is by no means over after just one game.

      Sure there are improvements needed as some excellent posters have indicated, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that Tokyo were a couple of levels above the Roar.

      How they respond on the road for the next two games will be interesting, with the first game behind them and improvements made.

      • Roar Guru

        March 7th 2012 @ 10:38am
        Griffo said | March 7th 2012 @ 10:38am | ! Report

        ah…this was suppose to be a general comment, not one at you JohnL, although while I’m here:

        Your last paragraph gets the thumbs up from me.

        As a Jets supporter I’ll be cheering on the Mariners tonight.

  • March 7th 2012 @ 7:51am
    marlie chiller said | March 7th 2012 @ 7:51am | ! Report

    The disappointing thing is that the roar did not play badly but were outclassed and looked unlikely to score. They played much better than the draw with Heart on Friday. The Tokyo supporters outsang the den by a lot more than 2 – 0.

  • March 7th 2012 @ 8:19am
    West Sydney said | March 7th 2012 @ 8:19am | ! Report

    Brisbane didnt play bad, You were just carved up and outplayed, by a J2 team without their big star LUCAS. im not suprised.

    The roar carve up A-league teams because the A-league is a very poor league, everyone keeps raving on about they cant wait to see the U17’s, U/19’s and olympic team play in the WC tournaments and then they were all flops, just like Brisbane roar.

    since the a-league started there have not been any quality exports to Europe, and the presense of aussies in the EPL is diminshing.

    if you are a good young player try get out of the country as soon as possible! if you want to make it.

    • Roar Guru

      March 7th 2012 @ 9:00am
      Fussball ist unser leben said | March 7th 2012 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      No exports to Europe?

      1. Mitch Langerak to Dortmund (Bundesliga champions)
      2. Matthew Leckie to Mönchengladbach (currently 3rd in Bundesliga and have beaten Bayern twice this year)
      3. Nikita Rukavytsya to Berlin (Bundesliga)
      4. Mustafa Amini to Dortmund

      This has all occurred in the space of 6 years. If the HAL can develop just 1 player every year that is good enough to be signed by the big teams of Europe, then we’re doing fine.

      • March 7th 2012 @ 9:19am
        West Sydney said | March 7th 2012 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        1. 2 games in 2 seasons

        2. Not playing, doesnt feature, average 2 minutes a game, they might be 3rd but Leckie has contributed nothing

        3. has scored his first goal this season, currently in relegation trouble

        4. Amini to dortmund, ok watch this space lets see what he does, prediction, one season and he will be back to australia

        all this in the space of 6 years, the NSL developed alot more players than this.

        sorry fussy i love your posts but alot of the time you over ex-aggerate

        • Roar Guru

          March 7th 2012 @ 9:34am
          Fussball ist unser leben said | March 7th 2012 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          West Sydney

          How about you name some of these players, who developed in the NSL and went straight to top Europe teams in top European Leagues.

          E.g. Schwarzer played 6 games over 2 years for unfashionable clubs in 2nd Division Germany when he left the NSL; Timmy & Lucas went to one of the most thuggish anti-football teams, Milwall, and played 2nd/3rd English Division, Viduka went to a good Euro club, but in the Croatian league.

          Ned Zelic & Paolo Okon are the only guys I can think of who went to top quality European teams in top quality leagues early in their career. Farina & Krncevic went to top Euro clubs in the Belgian league.

          • March 7th 2012 @ 11:10am
            West Sydney said | March 7th 2012 @ 11:10am | ! Report

            I would have named Okon and Zelic, Bosnich and Breciano, Grella, Emerton, theres many more.

            just look at the EPL and tell me who is left? there is no one but Shwarzer playing regularly

            • Roar Guru

              March 7th 2012 @ 11:22am
              Fussball ist unser leben said | March 7th 2012 @ 11:22am | ! Report

              Agree with Bozza.

              Bresciano & Vinnie played majority of their first 4 years in Serie B for Empoli before they made their mark on Serie A.

              It took all the big name Aussies 3-4 years grinding out a living at lowly Euro clubs or sitting in the reserves for bigger Euro clubs before they got noticed. So, how about we give this generation a chance before we dismiss them?

              Don’t forget we have 5-7 yrs gap – from the early 2000s as NSL was dying to 2006 when HAL started – when football in Australia was at a low ebb.

    • March 7th 2012 @ 9:09am
      Pete #205 said | March 7th 2012 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      Aww… someone didn’t get their Coco Pops this morning. Look, you make some good points, but the negativity is blinding. There have been no massive exports from the A-league (Viduka style), yet, but please enlighten us as to who was the last “quality export” was before that.

      I’m disappointed Brisbane didn’t make a better go of it, but the test will be (as Fuss says below) how they respond in the next game, after what was their very first venture in an intercontinental competition.

      Oh, and …always look on the bright side of life..da da, da da da etc. etc.

    • March 7th 2012 @ 9:42am
      Nathan of Perth said | March 7th 2012 @ 9:42am | ! Report

      You’re an idiot, they’re a J1 team because they obliterated J2 and were able to beat out all the other J1 teams to win their FA Cup and as good as the A-League is, the Japanese leagues are the strongest in Asia.

      • March 7th 2012 @ 11:07am
        West Sydney said | March 7th 2012 @ 11:07am | ! Report

        i love the name calling i get just because i critisize the a-league or an a-league, bring it on Nathan if you can handle critizism or negativity go home.
        before the game there were people gloating how the roar will clean sweep the ACL teams like Tokyo and its good to see egg on everyones face.

        so now your praising Tokyo FC with their achievements and trying to to justify why the roar lost

        • March 7th 2012 @ 12:00pm
          Nathan of Perth said | March 7th 2012 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

          Oh no, I wasn’t calling you names over the A-League part. It was characterising Tokyo FC as a J2 team after it won promotion and the Emperor’s Cup part that I was calling you an idiot for.

          Because that was stupid of you.

          Also, “so now” implies I was at some stage denigrating Tokyo FC or the J-Leagues, which I never have.

    • Roar Guru

      March 7th 2012 @ 12:41pm
      Melanie Dinjaski said | March 7th 2012 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

      Marlie & West Sydney. They didn’t play bad, no. Definitely not what I’m saying. They were worthy opponents for sure. They just never reached the level expected of them. Well that most expected of them!

      Hoping that was just them warming up to the occasion and they’ll improve in their next match. I really want them to do well in the ACL!

  • Roar Guru

    March 7th 2012 @ 8:33am
    Fussball ist unser leben said | March 7th 2012 @ 8:33am | ! Report

    As someone, who has watched 9 ACL matches played in Melbourne, I was not at all surprised by last night’s result. The only surprise was I expected BRI to score but Tokyo to score more. In reality, BRI didn’t really trouble the Tokyo GK.

    For me, last night’s result is not a reflection on any disparity between the J-League & HAL (of course there is a disparity – J-League is 13 years older than HAL & many J-League teams player wages equal that of 10 HAL clubs).

    Rather, for me, last night’s result was a reflection on the pig-headed and, perhaps, arrogant attitude of Ange Postecoglou that “BRI will play their own game regardless of the opponent”. BRI is not Barcelona and, until Ange realises this, his team will cop a hiding in the ACL.

    AUFC went to UZB, played on an awful pitch in freezing conditions and won the game. There was nothing pretty about AUFC but they got the result.

    BRI fans have always been crowing about “style over results” – but, in the ACL, pragmatism will always trump lofty ideals. Let’s see if Ange learns from Game 1 and adopts a more pragmatic approach to future games – especially on the road. Alas, it may be too late for BRI in this ACL campaign. Losing at home in a 6 game Group is close to catastrophic and, unless BRI gets a win in Beijing next month the ACL is over for them.

    • March 7th 2012 @ 8:40am
      West Sydney said | March 7th 2012 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      Spot on as always Fussball,

      too much arrogance and disrespect, it is embarrassing

      • Roar Guru

        March 7th 2012 @ 12:49pm
        Melanie Dinjaski said | March 7th 2012 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

        Fuss & West Sydney, I think you’re both confusing arrogance for confidence and a willingness to dream. It’s the type of comments similarly heard from coaches like Miron Bleiberg and we love them for it! That they dare to punch above the weight and expect success!

        Postecoglou was generous in his comments regarding Tokyo. There was plenty of praise to the efforts of Tokyo in pressers before and after the fixture. He knew they would be tough competition, but if Brisbane played to their potential they could have won the game. As you say, at the very least we expected goals from Brisbane.

        But you’re right, they’re defence was never troubled. Gonda the goalkeeper was excellent. He was always in the right position reading play exceptionally well. And unlike Theoklitos he more often hung onto the ball when saving, which was impressive in such soggy conditions!

        • March 7th 2012 @ 1:18pm
          Nelson said | March 7th 2012 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

          FC Tokyo simply didn’t let Brisbane play to their potential. Not only that, but they far out-played Brisbane at their own game, in conditions not suited to that style of play. At no stage after the first couple of minutes did Brisbane look like they were going to win. Until the first goal came, a hold-out draw was at best I could see them getting, unless they lucked a goal against the run of play.

          • March 7th 2012 @ 3:22pm
            Nathan of Perth said | March 7th 2012 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

            Agree with that, FC Tokyo definitely played the style better and Brisbane will hopefully learn a lot from it.

    • March 7th 2012 @ 9:17am
      Qantas supports Australian Football said | March 7th 2012 @ 9:17am | ! Report

      The Roar were naive last night and cop a hiding—or a lesson in football perhaps a better description—fantastic result as far as I’m concerned their supporters have been brought back down to earth and deservedly so…

      • March 7th 2012 @ 9:22am
        West Sydney said | March 7th 2012 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        Hopefully the comaprisons people are making between the roar and barcelona will fade away now

    • March 7th 2012 @ 9:21am
      JohnL said | March 7th 2012 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      Fuss, I’m curious as to why you think Roar’s possession game isn’t practical but a lofty ideal. In reality, the team with the ball has more chance of scoring then the team that doesn’t. (I am sure that when Tokyo scored both their goals that had possesion of the ball). So the Roar play a possession game to give them more chance of scoring. That to me sounds practical. I am yet to see a team win a game when they have had no possession of the ball.

      Where the Roar needs to improve is their usage of that possession. We need to move the ball faster – Smith, Adnan and Paartaluu last night were not moving the ball fast enough and having too many touches for my liking. Secondly, we need to start playing the ball more beyond the opponents to penetrate the space between each defensive line. Quite often Paartaluu and Murdocca where receiving the ball in front of Tokyo’s front men. This was doing nothing to get the ball into midfield and further.

      So, the Roar dont need to give up their possession game, they need to adjust how they use that posession.

      Even teams that sit back and play counter attack, know that to score, they need to use the possession they do have, wisely. We can’t rely on the opposition to score own goals for us now, can we?

      Ange has just seen first hand what a team playing possession football can do – Tokyo. They played very similar to the Roar in keeping possession, moving the ball around the park. But they were more effective with their possession. I doubt there would be many supporters in aust complaining if their team played a possession game like Tokyo week in, week out.

      • Roar Guru

        March 7th 2012 @ 9:48am
        Fussball ist unser leben said | March 7th 2012 @ 9:48am | ! Report


        The Roar’s possession game is a fantastic ideal and I want all HAL clubs and our NT to adopt such a style.

        However, when the opposition is top quality, possession football requires excellent technical players, who are capable of keeping possession and, in my opinion, BRI does not have such players.

        In particular, BRI’s defenders have poor 1st touch (Adnan may be the exception but he’s a bit too casual at times) and their passing accuracy greatly diminishes when they’re under pressure.

        The Roar’s biggest strength is their impeccable match fitness – they’re the hardest working team I’ve seen in 7 years of HAL football. This means they are constantly running into open spaces & if the opposition cannot maintain the pressure on the BRI ball player then BRI can play its passing game b/c their poor 1st touch is not a burden and their stray passes will not punished.

        However, Tokyo matched BRI for the whole 90 mins and BRI showed how brittle their game is when they are pressured.

        BRI style produces bountiful rewards and lots of risk and, in the ACL competition, risk minimisation is the key to success – particularly in the knock-out stages and playing away from home in the Group stages.

    • March 7th 2012 @ 9:21am
      jmac said | March 7th 2012 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      yeah I tend to agree. it was clear that both broich and berisha were being looked after comfortably, but ange appeared to do nothing to try and change this. without those two getting space, bris will go nowhere in attack. and so it was.

  • March 7th 2012 @ 8:39am
    MVFC said | March 7th 2012 @ 8:39am | ! Report

    Not as easy as you thought, hey Brisbane.

  • Roar Guru

    March 7th 2012 @ 9:15am
    The Bush said | March 7th 2012 @ 9:15am | ! Report

    I just wish I’d put some money on FC Tokyo – did anybody see the odds before the game started? $1.50 to the Roar and $5.50 to FC Tokyo…. Still gambling against my own team is not something I am usually into…

    Difficult game for the Roar, they never really looked like scoring and when FC scored in the last minute or so of the first half it didn’t come as a surprise to me or my brother.

    Unfortunately our key players never really looked that threatening, my brother passed comment that Broich was playing to wide and even to my less-trained eyes, he didn’t look up to it last night.

    The flurry of yellow cards towards the end of the game was disappointing too.

    One thing that was impressive was the number of travelling FC Tokyo fans – they added a great element to the atmosphere.

    P.S. Brisbane City should be congratulated for coming out in such great numbers on such an average, Tuesday Night, especially with the Rugby seasons back on and a Cricket final just last weekend.

    • Roar Guru

      March 7th 2012 @ 12:54pm
      Melanie Dinjaski said | March 7th 2012 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

      Agree! 12,000 on a weekday with the other codes kicking off already, was a good turnout!

      I have a feeling Broich will step it up in the next match, but he was very well marked by Tokyo. Gave him such little room to move. Guys with international experience like Berisha and Broich I reckon will kick into gear soon enough though.

    • March 7th 2012 @ 1:40pm
      Nathan of Perth said | March 7th 2012 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

      Very good turnout, hopefully they can keep it up as well!

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