Patched-up Roar settles for 0-0 draw in ACL
BRISBANE Roar's playing resources were stretched to the limit on Tuesday as they opened up their AFC Champions League Group E campaign with a 0-0 draw against Thai champions Muangthong United at Suncorp Stadium.
Playing their sixth match in 22 days as they continue to juggle domestic and continental commitments, a patched-up Roar fought hard for a point against a visiting side packed with Thai internationals, as well as the foreign class of Spanish striker Xisco and South Korean veteran Lee Ho.
The Roar were without a host of players, including the injured Matt McKay, Thomas Kristensen, Luke DeVere and Corey Brown.
Such has been their busy schedule, that the likes of potential match-winners Jamie Maclaren and Thomas Broich started on the bench as Brisbane coach John Aloisi continued to manage his squad through the club's hectic schedule.
In all, Aloisi made six changes to the team that started in their weekend 2-2 draw with Perth Glory.
In came goalkeeper Jamie Young, defenders Jack Hingert and Cameron Crestani, playmaker Brett Holman, and attackers Manuel Arana and Nick D'Agostino.
They replaced Theo, DeVere, McKay, Broich, Maclaren and Joe Caletti.
Defender Crestani stood tall in his starting debut for Brisbane, while Caletti impressed after coming on at the start of the second half in a contest played in front of just 4536 fans.
The visitors started the better and had the opening chance of the contest in the 14th minute when Xisco forced goalkeeper Young into a save at his near post.
Young again came to Brisbane's rescue in the 20th minute when at full stretch he tipped a goal-bound header from Adison Promrak over the crossbar.
The Roar had to wait until the 41st minute for their first chance. Tommy Oar fed overlapping fullback Dane Ingham, whose near post cross found D'Agostino.
But Muangthong keeper Kawin Thamsatchanan was up to the task, tapping D'Agostino's flick on to the post.
Nine minutes into the second half, D'Agostino had another chance after a clever build-up involving substitutes Thomas Broich and Joe Caletti.
But the teenage striker's shot was deflected wide of the target.
Both sides continued to attack, with Arana and Hingert having chances for the Roar, and Xisco fluffing a golden opportunity with a header from close range.
The Roar are back in action on Saturday when they host Wellington Phoenix in the A-League.
That's followed by a Champions League clash against Ulsan Hyundai in South Korea next Tuesday. Ulsan were beaten 2-0 by Japanese club Kashima Antlers.
Roar coach Aloisi said praised the performance of his youngsters.
"Again the younger boys showed that we've got good depth and they gain from this experience because they played against a really good side," Aloisi said.
"It was pleasing. Of course you want to win the game and get three points, but the important thing was that we got something out of it, and gained a lot of experience from it.
"We've got boys coming back in, so we're in a good space at the moment."
Muangthong coach Totchtawan Sripan said he was happy to take a point back to Thailand.