The A-League returns for a frantic month of football action to belatedly crown a champion for the 2019-20 season. Brisbane Roar are aiming to pick up where they left off against floundering Adelaide United.
History: Played 44: Adelaide 18 V Brisbane 18 (8 Draws)
Last meeting: February 8, 2020: Brisbane 2 d Adelaide 1 at Suncorp Stadium
Final Thoughts: Sunday night’s showdown on the Gold Coast is crucial to the scramble for the playoffs. Fourth-placed Brisbane Roar have won 10 and drawn five of their 22 games. Eight points back in seventh but with a game in hand, Adelaide United have nine wins and 12 losses from 21 outings. Both clubs lost their coach during the coronavirus shutdown.
The A-League season’s suspension was particularly tough on Brisbane. They were in tremendous form, winning five and drawing one of their last seven games.
But the COVID-19 crisis saw coach Robbie Fowler return to England. Darren Davies and Warren Moon will guide the remainder of Brisbane’s campaign – and hopefully maintain the team’s newly-found defensive steel.
The Roar conceded just five goals in their last 10 games.
Adelaide were heading in the opposite direction when the league was shut down. The Reds had lost their last four games by a combined 15-4. They conceded five goals to both Wanderers and Western United, while their last outing was a dismal 3-0 home loss to the Jets.
Carl Veart is the caretaker coach following Gertjan Verbeek’s decision to stay home in the Netherlands. Defence has been United’s chief failing this season, but Riley McGree (10 goals) and Ben Halloran (7 goals) have impressed at the other end of the pitch.
One win apiece in season 2019-20
Brisbane ended a four-match losing streak against Adelaide – including a 1-0 defeat in Adelaide in Week 5 this season, with McGree slotting the 84th-minute winner – via a 2-1 win at home in Week 18. Mirza Muratovic and Tom Aldred scored the goals for the Roar after United’s Halloran had opened the scoring.
The rivals are both stepping into the unknown to a certain extent. But the foundations of a competitive side had well and truly been laid by Fowler in Brisbane, while they are enjoying the benefit of staying at home. Adelaide were a rabble before the break and are adjusting to hub life.
The Roar shape as the clear head-to-head option at generous odds.