A goal in either half to FC Tokyo has denied Brisbane Roar a maiden AFC Champions League victory in the competition’s opening match of 2012.
The 12,037 fans who braved the wet and windy conditions were treated to an on-field battle worthy of the region’s top tournament and it was a fast-paced opening to the game as both sides looked to stamp their authority on the fixture in their respective ACL debuts.
After a fairly even few minutes, FC Tokyo enjoyed the early share of possession with Brisbane having to contend with the unfamiliar prospect of creating chances on the break.
Despite the onslaught of pressure felt by the Australian side, the Roar stuck firm with their game plan of playing out from the back but the game saw just four shots on goal in the first half hour of action - all from the visitors.
The best first half chance for Brisbane came in the 36th minute when a Thomas Broich free kick drew an awkward save from out-coming Tokyo goalkeeper Gonda and it looked as though the 45 minutes were destined to be goalless.
But FC Tokyo dealt the Roar a killer blow heading into the half-time break after the lively Yazawa Tatsuya latched onto a well-weighted cross from defender Tokunaga Yunei to hand his side the advantage.
Brisbane looked eager as the second stanza started and began to push higher up the field but it was that turn of events in which the Japanese team exploited the Brisbane defence and found their second goal.
After perfectly evading the offside trap, Hanyu Naotake’s shot was parried away by Roar ‘keeper Michael Theoklitos into the path of Matt Smith but the deflection off the captain provided Hasegawa Ariajasuru with the opportunity to bang the ball home inside the six yard box.
Youngsters Kofi Danning and Luke Brattan were introduced soon after as Brisbane Roar Head Coach Ange Postecoglou looked to inject pace into his attack and stability into the midfield and the statistics soon showed that possession turned into much closer contest.
But FC Tokyo made it difficult for the home side to create many clear cut opportunities with their relentless defending and eagerness to close down the ball proving to be the difference on the night.
Post-match, coach Postecoglou paid tribute to the visitors and when reflecting on his own side’s performance, backed his players and improve their own performances in their remaining ACL fixtures.
“We’ve taken a first step in this competition - it’s a tentative step at best but it’s still a first step,” he said.
“There’s still five games to go and I have a feeling we’ll get better and better as the tournament goes on.
“I’m very confident that as each game comes along, we’ll get more of an understanding of the level we need to play.”
Brisbane Roar 0
FC Tokyo 2 (YAZAWA Tatsuya 45+1’, HASEGAWA Ariajasuru 65’)
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Venue: Brisbane Stadium
Referee: Kovalenko Valentin
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH (c), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Besart BERISHA, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA (18. Luke BRATTAN 60’), 10. HENRIQUE (21. James MEYER 78’), 14. Rocky VISCONTE (9. Kofi DANNING 56’), 16. Mohamed ADNAN, 22. Thomas BROICH
Substitutes not used: 4. Matthew JURMAN, 19. Jack HINGERT, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 24. Nick FITZGERALD
Yellow cards: Ivan FRANJIC 68’, Shane STEFANUTTO 74’, Mohamed ADNAN 86’
Red cards: Nil
FC Tokyo: 2. TOKUNAGA Yuhei, 3. Masato MORISHIGE (c), 4. TAKAHASHI Hideto, 5. KAHA Kenichi (30. Jang HYUN SOO 87’), 6. OTA Kosuke, 8. HASEGAWA Ariajasuru, 11. WATANABE Kazuma, 18. ISHIKAWA Naohiro (17. KAWANO 90+2’), 20. Shuichi GONDA (gk), 22. HANYA Naotake (27. TANABE Sotan 77’), 39. YAZAWA Tatsuya
Substitutes not used: 1. SHIOTA Hitoshi (gk), 13. Sota HIRAYAMA, , 23. HAYASHI Yohei, , 33. MUKUHARA Kenta
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil