01/03/2024

Raphael Borges Rodrigues celebrates his goal for the Bulls in a 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar. Photo Credit: Joseph Baidengan/Macarthur FC

A hot afternoon at Campbelltown Stadium saw Macarthur and Brisbane do battle in front of a crowd of 3002 people to kick off their A-League Men seasons.

Despite the heat, it was a fast start for the home side with a Kearyn Baccus header forcing Jack Hingert to make a goal-line clearance of the Roar 70 seconds in, which got the attention of VAR before play resumed.

“I haven’t seen the replay yet but from a few people that have spoken to me, they said it’s definitely a goal,” Macarthur coach Mile Sterjovski said after the match.

“[I’m] disappointed that they got it wrong. Obviously these kinds of things are costly and I would have loved to have the three points today.

“I just don’t understand how you’ve got time to review and see… it’s there to make the right decisions and it’s cost us today which is disappointing.”

A tightly contested first half saw Macarthur look to play in transition as the Bulls struggled against the press from the visitors, while the Roar found it difficult to break down the strong defence of Macarthur, despite several dangerous opportunities.

After going into the break scoreless, one of Macarthur’s off-season recruits, Raphael Borges Rodrigues would find the opener, receiving a cross and heading it past Macklin Freke to make it a 1-0 lead.

“I’m very pleased for him,” Sterjovski said.

“He’s worked very hard in pre-season and deserved his start. I thought he took his goal really well.”

Jay O’Shea would level the score for the visitors off a set-piece and some questionable goalkeeping from Filip Kurto saw him dive out of the path of the ball at the last second.

Sterjovski defended his keeper post-game, and thought he should not have been put in the situation to begin with.

“Firstly, I don’t think it was a foul. I don’t think they should have even had the free kick in my opinion.

“But then it’s just a lot of bodies in there. I think he was maybe expecting a deflection and it’s difficult for any keeper I think.”

More Football News

Aussies in the 2023/24 WSL: Matchday Three Wrap

Townsend’s resignation clears the way for APL to mend fan relationships

Pride Celebration to make A-Leagues return

For Brisbane, they went into the side without their lone striker Thomas Waddingham, with Ross Aloisi making the decision to leave him out after returning from international duty with the Young Socceroos.

“He arrived yesterday morning from Spain after a 36 hour flight and he slept all day yesterday by accident instead of doing recovery and we just made the decision there was no point risking him,” Aloisi said.

With a hot summer on the cards, the summer kick-offs have been pushed back to later times to avoid playing in harsh conditions, with both coaches taking differing views on the 3:30pm start.

“I welcome it,” Aloisi said.

“We train in the heat up in Brisbane [and] the humidity. I hope to play most teams in the heat.

“I think we’re better for it.”

Sterjovski took a much different view.

“That’s another one where I don’t understand why they have the early kick-offs.

“You want the better quality to be shown for the A-League.

“I think the kick-offs should be a bit later on.

“But in saying that, I still think it was a spectacle.

“There were chances to be scored. We created quite a few chances to win the game and it’s unfortunate they didn’t go in.”

Macarthur next head to Cambodia to face Phnom Penh Crown in the AFC Cup, while Brisbane Roar welcome Sydney FC to Queensland on Friday night in league action. 

It is a game that Ross Aloisi and his squad are “really excited” for after falling to the Sky Blues two weeks ago in Sydney.

“The players felt hard done by with a few decisions,” Aloisi said.

“We spoke about that, and they can focus on the negative, or [as] I explained to them, or we can focus on us. How we can better ourselves.

“I know they can’t wait for Friday night.”

About Author