February 26, 2015 – 7:02AM
Just under 7000 fans were at CBus Super Stadium in Robina to see the Brisbane Roar play Beijing Guoan. Photo: Beth Newman
The Brisbane Roar drew a small but vocal crowd for their opening Asian Champions League match.
Just 6851 spectators were at CBus Super Stadium in Robina as the Roar lost 1-0 in stoppage time to Beijing Guoan.
Despite the club offering heavily discounted tickets and free train travel from Brisbane, the combination of a weeknight match and the distance proved too much for a lot of fans.
However Wednesday night’s figure was still larger than the last time Brisbane played at Robina, against the now defunct Gold Coast United. Just 6102 people turned up then.
The Roar’s hardiest fans, the Den, made their feelings known before Wednesday night’s game, rolling out a two-tiered banner reading “Exciting news. Thi$ i$ not Brisbane.”
The signs were in reference to the Asian Football Confederation decision to move the Roar’s champions league matches from Suncorp Stadium due to a clash with the Foo Fighters concert.
The Robina stadium was chosen over other Brisbane venues such as Ballymore and the Queensland Sports and Athletics centre because they did not meet AFC standards.
Once the match started, The Den supporters put their signs away and generated more noise than their numbers would have suggested.
Roar midfielder Adam Sarota said it was a strange feeling playing a home game in a different city, where no elite football has been played since the demise of the Gold Coast United.
“I guess it was the true fans from the Roar [at the game],” he said.
“…There was a good atmosphere even considering they had to drive all the way from Brisbane I mean, but they were good.
“It was a little bit strange, a bit of an away feeling type thing.”
With the patchy Suncorp Stadium pitch copping criticism during last month’s Asian Cup, Sarota said the pristine Robina turf suited the Roar’s game more.
“The pitch was really good, so give me that pitch any day,” he said.
“It was way better than Suncorp, especially after the Foo Fighters. They had the concert so there was no chance of us playing. The field would have been wrecked.
“Obviously we would have liked to play at Suncorp but if we don’t have the opportunity to play there, this is our next thing so we just have to deal with it.”
A red card handed to Erton Fejzullahu for stomping on Sarota’s chest after a tackle in the 28thminute meant the Roar were a player up for more than hour of the game.
Roar coach Frans Thijssen lamented the side’s missed opportunities, after letting a dominant performance slip through their fingers. “It’s disappointing to see that we were so much on top and one way traffic it was,” he said.
“We got a lot of half chances with crosses, not 100 per cent chances maybe, but we were waiting for our goal and then that happens in the end. That’s really disappointing for the group.”
Source : The Canberra Times