Aloisi hits Roar nerve with his call to arms
BRISBANE Roar coach John Aloisi has urged his depleted team to rise to the challenge of beating the A-League's hottest side Sydney FC at Suncorp Stadium on Monday night.
On paper, the Roar seem no chance of a win over the Sky Blues, the reigning A-League champions who have lost just once this season and are eight points clear at the top of the ladder.
Brisbane's woes continued on Friday night when they suffered a 2-0 home loss to Western Sydney Wanderers.
It was the Roar's seventh defeat from 14 games this season, with their chances of playing finals football for an eighth successive year fast eroding.
Adding to Brisbane's problems were injuries suffered by Danish midfield enforcer Thomas Kristensen (hamstring) and emerging left back Connor O'Toole (concussion).
Already missing on Friday night were suspended pair Matt McKay and Avraam Papadopoulos, and the injured Eric Bautheac (hamstring), Ivan Franjic (quad), Brett Holman (calf), Jade North (groin), Joe Caletti (foot), Michael Theo (finger) and Nick D'Agostino (ankle).
McKay and Papadopoulos are again banned on Monday night, and perhaps only one of Brisbane's injured brigade will be available.
Despite the dire situation, Aloisi expects his side to punch above their weight against the Sydneysiders.
"If you can't get excited about playing against a team like Sydney FC at the moment, then you shouldn't be playing football," Aloisi said.
"These are the occasions that you play the game for.
"We need to be more disciplined than we were against the Wanderers. The way we gifted them both their goals was unacceptable."
The Roar will again don their impressive maroon kit, continuing the "State of Origin" Queensland versus New South Wales theme from Friday night.
If ever the Roar needed that famous Origin spirit so often evidenced at "The Cauldron" since the start of rugby league's marquee series in 1980, it's Monday night.
In some much-needed good news for the Roar, key striker Massimo Maccarone is free to play despite Wanderers coach Josep Gombau saying the veteran ltalian marksman should have been sent off for an incident that left Western Sydney striker Brendon Santalab bloodied and floored on Friday night.
A Football Federation Australia spokesman told The Sunday-Mail that the incident would not be studied by the A-League's match review panel because referee Shaun Evans and video assistant referee Jarred Gillett had seen it and decided no action should be taken against Maccarone.