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ALM Match Preview: Brisbane Roar vs Western United

Angus Thurgate Western United

Western United will travel north to end a stint of three Isuzu UTE A-League Men matches in seven days, taking on Brisbane Roar on Friday night.

Match Details

Isuzu UTE A-League Men Round 18

Brisbane Roar vs Western United

Friday, 23 February

Kick-off: 7:45pm AEDT

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+

Western United Team News

Matt Sutton could be set to make his Western United debut with Tom Heward-Belle ruled out of the clash with Brisbane due to a finger issue.

With Heward-Belle dropping out of the extended squad, there is also an opportunity for 18-year-old Michael Vonja to be involved for the first time in his professional career.

Riku Danzaki could make his return from injury against his former side, with the Japanese winger yet to feature in 2024 after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Sebastian Pasquali is back in the mix after being rested against Melbourne Victory on Tuesday night, while Josh Risdon returns from suspension and Ben Garuccio will once again hope to prove his fitness to return.

Daniel Penha will be given every opportunity to feature after he suffered an ankle injury on Tuesday, while youngsters Khoder Kaddour, Charbel Shamoon and Luke Vickery are involved again having all recently made their professional debuts.

Western United squad: 6. Tomoki IMAI, 8. Lachie WALES, 9. Michael RUHS, 10. Steven LUSTICA, 11. Daniel PENHA, 13. Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 17. Ben GARUCCIO, 19. Josh RISDON, 21. Sebastian PASQUALI, 22. Kane VIDMAR, 29. Charbel SHAMOON, 32. Angus THURGATE, 33. Matt SUTTON (gk), 37. Luke VICKERY, 38. Noah BOTIC, 39. Matthew GRIMALDI, 42. Rhys BOZINOVSKI, 43. Khoder KADDOUR, 70. Michael VONJA (gk), 77. Riku DANZAKI

Full Western United squad

Last time out

Western United suffered a heart-breaking 2-1 defeat against Melbourne Victory last time out at AAMI Park.

A goal from Penha and an outstanding performance on a three-day turnaround from a young team looked like it would earn the team a seismic win, but two goals deep in injury time broke the Green and Black resistance.

Previous Meetings

Western United has enjoyed a strong record against Brisbane Roar in the past with six wins across the 10 previous meetings.

There has been a fair bit of chaos across those 10 games, with the most recent clash fitting the bill. Western United came from 1-0 down in the final 10 minutes to snatch a 2-1 win with Risdon’s injury-time header.

WATCH: The highlights from Western United’s thrilling 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar last December

That was payback for a similar result in 2021 when Brisbane overcame a deficit to win 2-1 – Danzaki was actually the one to score the winner for the Roar in the 94th minute.

There have been red cards, brotherly battles and plenty of drama in the past, so expect fireworks again at Suncorp Stadium.

Key Matchup: Kane Vidmar vs Thomas Waddingham

This game will bring two of the Isuzu UTE A-League’s top young talents up against each other with Western United’s Kane Vidmar hoping to keep Brisbane’s Thomas Waddingham at bay.

Relishing each opportunity he has been given, Vidmar has made eight appearances for United this season and is growing in confidence and stature at the back.

Guided by the experience of Tomoki Imai alongside him, Vidmar has enjoyed some stellar performances with his impeccable reading of the game.

Kane Vidmar was magnificent for Western United despite falling to Melbourne Victory on Tuesday

Waddingham will be a handful for Vidmar to contend with, though, coming into this match with three goals in his last two games.

After starring in the Australia Cup, Waddingham has played 15 league games for Brisbane, starting 13 of them and scoring four goals.

The 18-year-old will be eager to continue his breakout campaign against Western United but Vidmar will have other ideas, looking to halt Waddingham’s advances and take his side to a win on the road.

Western United Player to Watch: Rhys Bozinovski

It’s easy to forget that Rhys Bozinovski is still two weeks short of his 20th birthday, but the youngster continues to impress and prove himself as one of the many shining lights in Aloisi’s squad.

While contending with some unfortunate injuries over the past 12 months, Bozinovski’s quality is evident every time he takes to the pitch.

Now having come off the bench in each of the last three games, the No.42 is building a consistent run of appearances and will look to continue growing as he shapes as a key piece of Western United’s future.

Despite his smaller frame, Bozinovski’s physicality stands up to any other player in the league and his talent with the ball at his feet is equally lofty.

With 10 matches to go in this season, the 19-year-old will be itching to take any opportunity that comes is way, starting out against Brisbane on Friday.