Canberra stars falter as Brisbane roar ahead

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In the end it looks like a close affair but the 1-0 scoreline doesn’t show the extent of Brisbane Roar’s dominance over Canberra United.

The Roar put on a masterful performance at McKellar Park on Sunday afternoon dominating general play with possession and chances.

Indeed the 60% possession and 23 shots should have resulted in a flogging but ultimately it took a long ball over the top and a calm finish from Tameka Butt to earn Brisbane a deserved three points.

Canberra coach Heather Garriock was philosophical after the match, marvelling at the sheer brilliance of their opponents.

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“The way Brisbane’s played that’s the best I’ve seen a team play this season, hands down,” Garriock said.

“They outposessed us and played us all over the park. Their midfield is pretty much the Matildas’ midfield, it doesn’t matter who I put in there….they killed us in the midfield.”

The game was almost a complete reversal from the home side’s 3-2 victory over Perth Glory last week.

Instead of looking calm in possession United continuously made mistakes under pressure and gave the ball away, something that Garriock tried to use to their advantage.

“They were possessing the ball and we didn’t feel comfortable with playing the ball out so we decided to play a counter-attack game.

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“It was effective and towards the end there the break away that Ellie Carpenter made and the tap in that we missed was a clear indication that there’s vulnerabilities in their defence.”

Not helping the matter were the off-days for two of the team’s vital cogs in Grace Maher and Michelle Heyman.

Garriock pulled the ineffective Maher at the break while recently returned Matilda Heyman looked tired and lacked her usual deadly finishing.

The Canberra coach, while not offering excuses, tipped both players to bounce back.

“Look she’s [Heyman] been clinical for Canberra United this season, it is very uncharacteristic but in saying that she’s not perfect so she’ll come again and I’m sure she’ll get another opportunity in the future and put it away.

“I think she [Maher] just struggled today. You are going to struggle when playing the best in the country in a player like Katrina Gorry…I’m sure she’ll bounce back.”

Canberra will get no respite when they travel to face Melbourne City next week but can find solace in the fact that in the corresponding fixture last year they became the first side to inflict a loss on the reigning champions.

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Dominic Unwin
Third year Sports Media student at the University of Canberra. Interests include sports history and stats...you know, all the fun stuff.

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