'El Mago' Corona to cast spell on Victory

Brisbane Roar midfielder Corona is convinced his team will be full of motivation when they face Melbourne Victory for the second time in seven days after a goalless stalemate last time out cost them the Premiers' Plate.


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Brisbane lost the race for the premiership after failing to win at Etihad Stadium, enabling Adelaide United to snatch the title by one point.

John Aloisi’s outfit meet Victory again in an elimination final at Suncorp Stadium on Friday and Corona said the team is hellbent on making up for the disappointing draw when they renew their rivalry on home turf.

"There is no doubt that the players will see the result of last weekend as an extra motivation to beat Victory," Corona, 35, said.

"Yes, the draw was disappointing but looking back we did everything possible to win the match.

"Sometimes, you know, the ball just will not go in.

"So we are not demoralised and, come Friday night, we will be confident of making amends.

"We are well prepared psychologically and physically and, you know what, our record at Suncorp is excellent."

Brisbane have drawn twice and lost only once in 14 league games at a venue that has become a true fortress.

Corona, whose proper name is Miguel Angel Garcia Perez-Roldan, joined Brisbane from Spanish club Almeria at the start of the season on a two-year contract. The 'Corona' comes from his grandfather.

The man they called "El Mago" due to his wizardry in midfield has adapted effortlessly to the demands of the A-League, particularly to its hard pitches.

Corona is by nature a No 8 but the departure of Luke Brattan in the off-season forced coach Aloisi to use the Spaniard as a holding midfielder.

He played in all of Brisbane's 27 league matches, catching the eye with his ball control, vision, passing and his delivery at set-pieces. He even chipped in with two goals.

"This was a wonderful season for me and I never imagined I would be so happy playing in Australia,” Corona said.

“It was a very good experience, thanks no doubt to the welcome given to me at the club, especially from the players who treated me as though I had been there for a long time.

"Of course, having a coach like Aloisi who spent several years in Spain and in Europe was an advantage too.

"He also speaks very good Spanish and that helped me adapt to a new league in a new country."

Corona said he was happy with his own contribution to Brisbane's cause but warned he will be looking to improve next season.
"My first season here was very good, I think, but you should always try to improve," Corona said.

"So I will be looking to do my best to do so in the next season as well.

"I am not really a defensive midfielder but with the help of my teammates I hope to achieve this."

Brisbane's chances of landing their fourth championship in six seasons will rest on the finishing power of young Jamie Maclaren, who scored a glorious hat-trick in Brisbane's 5-0 win over Victory at Suncorp only a month ago.

Maclaren, who is not a out-and-out striker, is Brisbane's leading scorer with 18 goals in 27 rounds although he played in only 23 matches due to Olyroos duties.

Corona was fulsome in his praise for the free-scoring attacking midfielder.

"Maclaren is a very good finisher and the most important thing is that he's still young," Corona said.

"So he has time to improve and take his career further.

"Jamie certainly can play in Europe."

The spectacular success of the Spanish contingent in the A-League has not been lost on Corona.

Coach Guillermo Amor led Adelaide to the premiership with the considerable help of players Sergio Cirio, Pablo Sanchez and Isaias while Western Sydney Wanderers owe their strong season largely to the contribution of Alberto Aguilar, Dimas Delgado and Andreu.

Corona believes the Spanish invasion of Australia might become more pronounced in the coming years.

"Definitely, after the success of the Spanish players in Adelaide and Sydney and mine in Brisbane I hope more players from Spain will come here," Corona said.

"This is an exciting league you have here."

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4 min read
Published 13 April 2016 at 12:36pm
By Philip Micallef