Roar’s Cup shame

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MARCO MONTEVERDE

BRIS­BANE Roar in­sist they treat the FFA Cup as more than glo­ri­fied trial games de­spite their pedes­trian dis­play against a ram­pant Mel­bourne Vic­tory.

The Vic­tory’s 5- 1 thrash­ing of the Roar at Perry Park on Wed­nes­day night con­tin­ued Bris­bane’s dis­mal Cup record.

For three years straight the Roar have been elim­i­nated at the round- of- 32 stage and have reached the last 16 just once.

While the Vic­tory fielded a near full- strength side, in­clud­ing the likes of star striker Be­sart Ber­isha, Soc­ceroos pair Mark Mil­li­gan and James Troisi, ex- Mid­dles­brough man Rhys Wil­liams and Kiwi in­ter­na­tional Kosta Bar­barouses, the Roar 11 had an in­ex­pe­ri­enced feel.

Fringe trio Dane Ing­ham, Shan­non Brady and Nick D’Agostino all started, and reg­u­lar mid­fielder Thomas Kris­tensen was de­ployed un­suc­cess­fully in de­fence.

Roar coach John Aloisi elected not to use two of his first- choice cen­tre- backs in Luke DeVere and Avraam Pa­padopou­los.

Mar­quee man Mas­simo Mac­carone came on with half an hour left with the Vic- tory lead­ing 4- 0, while other off- sea­son sign­ings Fahid Ben Khal­fal­lah and Corey Gameiro did not play due to fit­ness con­cerns.

While it wasn’t a sur­prise the Roar lost, the score­line was em­bar­rass­ing.

Roar foot­ball direc­tor Craig Moore yes­ter­day said Aloisi had a “sleep­less night” as he went over the match video.

“We’re all dis­ap­pointed,” Moore said.

“It’s still early in the pre­sea­son but there’s no doubt they had the edge on us.”

There’s no doubt the Roar’s re­luc­tance to field full- strength teams in the Cup’s four- year ex­is­tence has cost them, but Moore is adamant his club takes the com­pe­ti­tion se­ri­ously.

“We’ve been knocked out first up three years in a row, which doesn’t look good, but we don’t use the Cup as an ex­per­i­ment,” Moore said.

“We just can’t af­ford to take risks with play­ers that aren’t quite there yet in terms of their fit­ness.”

Moore said the Roar were not about to aban­don their new 3- 4- 2- 1 for­ma­tion, de­spite it hav­ing left them ex- posed in de­fence Wed­nes­day night.

“The plan this sea­son is to have two sys­tems that we can use at dif­fer­ent times de­pend­ing on who we are play­ing and what suits us,” he said.

The Roar are back in ac­tion next Friday in a be­hind­closed- doors trial against Western Syd­ney at Robina.

They will also again meet the Vic­tory on Septem­ber 1 in a friendly at Bal­larat.

Moore hopes to se­cure a match this month on the Gold Coast against the vis­it­ing Chi­nese Olympic team.

In an all- NPL Queens­land FFA Cup round- of- 16 clash, More­ton Bay United will host Gold Coast City. on

EM­BAR­RASS­ING: Corey Brown of the Roar and Ja­son Ge­ria of the Vic­tory chal­lenge for the ball dur­ing the FFA Cup round of 32 match at Perry Park in Bris­bane.

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