Thunder struck down by four star City on Opening Day

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Brisbane City secured their first ever opening day PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues victory at Corporate Travel Management Stadium on Saturday night, running over a plucky South West Queensland Thunder side who lead the game late in the first half.

City line up ahead of the season opener in front of a big crowd at CTM Stadium. Photo by David Lobwein of DSL Photography.

Mustafa Jafari opened the scoring for the visitors with a precise finish from inside the area after connecting with fullback Nicholas Edwards’ low cross, but City hit back almost immediately through Carter Glockner, who pounced on a Bird header from inside the 6 yard box to send the teams into the break at 1-1.

After the break City created more chances than their visitors, and were eventually rewarded when Scott Coulson slotted home from the penalty spot after Jason Park was cut down in the area.

Late goals from Satake and another penalty – this time for Glockner polished the scoreline for City, but the Thunder never gave up, and indeed had the ball in the back of the net through a Jafari wonder strike that was ruled out for offside, which had the entire stadium on their feet.

Kai Smith can’t believe his goggling bins after a questionable decision – as an inquisitive Scot Coulson asks for more information. Photo by David Lobwein of DSL Photography.

Level opening

With City simultaneously having never won an opening day match in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland or tasted defeat by the Thunder, something was going to have to give at Corporate Travel Management Stadium.

A very healthy opening day crowd of around 2,000 were packed into the stands and balcony behind the goal after the traditional club march past and whole of club photo – this year featuring a return of the Gladiators!

Despite the cacophony of support created by the drums in the crowd, it was the visitors who created the majority of the early chances, Mustafa Jafari firing a warning shot into the side netting from inside the area after a good cross from Edwards.

Jafari and strike partner Majok Piok had been wasteful up to that point, Poik particularly so, opting for power over accuracy when blasting high over the bar from distance with his opening chances, but the Thunder continued to threaten and it was Afghani refugee Jafari who fired his side into the lead.

City had been warned of the dangerous connection on the right hand side between Jafari and Nicholas Edwards just four minutes prior, but the warning was not heeded and this time Jafari was on target, firing the ball back across Bon Scott in the City goal.

Thunder star Mustafa Jafari wheels away in delight after opening the scoring. Photo by David Lobwein of DSL Photography.

Despite the early set back, City refused to be struck cold by the Thunder, and Carter Glockner immediately restored parity after latching onto a Nathan Bird hod down from Scot Coulson’s excellent cross – much to the delight of the fans in the bar.

Supreme second half

City could have perhaps considered themselves fortunate to go into half time level, but after the break there was no stopping John Kosmina’s side as they got the better of a frantic opening 10 minutes of the second term.

Jason Park caused the Thunder defence all sorts of problems with his pace down the left wing, and was allowed a free run at goal in the 55th minute but Borean was equal to the Korean’s measured shot, saving brilliantly at full stretch.

Nathan Bird – who gathered two assists in the game – shadows his man in the opening exchanges. Photo by David Lobwein of DSL Photography.

City were not to be denied for long though, as Park’s trickery forced a rash challenge from the visitors backtracking defence and referee Crow had no hesitation in giving a penalty after the winger was scythed down.

Scot Coulson made no mistake from the spot, capping an impressive performance from the City midfielder before he made way for Mitchell Hore.

Motoki Kakehi could have made it three shortly after, but he blazed over from just four yards after the aforementioned Hore nodded down Scott Halliday’s precise ball into the area.

It didn’t matter though as Nathan Bird notched his second assist of the night, playing in Koh Satake, whose injury ravaged 2016 seems far behind him as he expertly poked the ball past Borean.

Koh Satake got his campaign off to a goal scoring start. Photo by David Lobwein of DSL Photography.

You may have been forgiven for thinking that City were home and hosed after that, but they were rescued from having their lead reduced by the linesman’s flag after Jafari unleashed one of the best strikes you’ll ever see for a goal that would never have counted.

The diminutive striker broke clear down the left wing, and from an impossible angle outside the area released a thunderbolt into the top far corner of the goal, leaving Scott scratching his head as to the seemingly impossible physics of the shot.

That it was (correctly, it should be noted) disallowed was almost an insult to the gallery of glorious goals, and salt was rubbed further into the Thunder’s wounds in injury time, when the referee spotted a hand ball in the box.

Bon Scott can fly! Why did nobody tell us this… Photo by David Lobwein of DSL Photography.

In the absence of Coulson, the highly impressive Carter Glockner – who lead the line well with some impressive, intelligent runs and good holdup play – notched his second of the game, getting his season off to a flying start just as he did in 2016 in the Flight Centre Premier League with Easts.

Man of the Match – Carter Glockner

What the coaches said

John Kosmina – Brisbane City – “They gave us a bit of trouble early on, caught us on the break but I was happy with when we had the ball, we just needed to tighten up when we didn’t. We looked much better in the second half.”

“Scoring goals was a problem last year, but today we kept probing and testing their back four, and we started getting in. We played some good football.”

Fernando Garcia – SWQ Thunder – “No I don’t think the scoreline reflected the game, we were hoping to go in at half time leading because we were on top of things, the boys did exactly what I asked of them and we controlled the game. In the second half we had a couple of injuries in very key positions and it showed.”

“I can’t see whether (Mustafa Jafari’s disallowed goal) was offside, but it was a brilliant goal.”

“We aim to be competitive this year, that’s what we can take from this game. we showed that we are not just here to make up the numbers today.”

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City will take a huge amount of confidence out of that showing, and head south to the Gold Coast next weekend, where they will hope to continue their enviable record against the Surfsiders, against whom they have only once tasted defeat in eight PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland matches.

The Thunder will head home to Toowoomba where they will entertain Sunshine Coast, who impressed in recording a 1-1 draw against defending Champions Redlands United at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Brisbane City 4 v 1 SWQ Thunder

City Squad: 1.Bon Scott, 2.Greg King(c), 3.Thomas Schulz, 4.Kai Smith, 6.Scott Halliday, 7.Nathan Bird, 9.Carter Glockner, 10.Scot Coulson, 13.Jason Park, 14.Koh Satake, 18.Motoki Kakehi. Subs:

8.Alex Sartori, 16.Thomas Aulton, 17.Jesse Gibbs, 19.Mitchell Hore, 20.Jake Clancy.

Goals: Glockner 41’, 90+1’ (pen), Coulson 63’ (pen), Satake 87’.

Yellow Cards: Glockner 78’

Subs: 79’ – 19.Mitchell Hore for 10.Scot Coulson, 83’ – 17.Jesse Gibbs for 13.Jason Park, 87’ – 16.Thomas Aulton for Kai Smith.

Thunder Squad: 1.Luke Borean, 2.Bailey Sailsbury, 3.Keagan Sheridan, 4.Yoshihiro Sakurai, 7.Kimba Kibombo, 8.Benjamin Barrowcroft, 9.Thomas Fanning, 10.Mustafa Jafari, 11.Majok Piok, 13.Matthew Williams, 21.Nicholas Edwards. Subs: 5.Wade Hall, 6.Emmanuel Philip, 14.Hong Soon Im, 20.Anthony Passante, 23.Joel Thornton.

Goals: Jafari 38’

Yellow Cards: Kibombo 69’, Williams 74’, Philip 81’

Subs: 50’ – 5.Wade Hall for 21.Nicholas Edwards, 74’ – 6.Emmanuel Philip for 8.Benjamin Barrowcroft.

Crowd: ~2,000

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