Adelaide v Brisbane: key match-ups for Friday's final

Adelaide United have home city advantage but Brisbane Roar FC live for the business end of the season and have a super record in the City of Churches.

We look ahead to three crucial match-ups in what should be a cracking atmosphere inside the stylish new Adelaide Oval on Friday night.

Finals Series stats: Reds v Roar, Phoenix v City

Adelaide playmaker Marcelo Carrusca v Roar midfielder Luke Brattan

Oh how the Reds must be relieved Carrusca is back from injury for this sudden-death clash.

Of the eight games the Argentine has missed this season, Adelaide has lost five of them.

Carrusca has missed the last month of action with a quad injury but is a certain starter for this one. Perfect timing for Reds boss Josep Gombau. 

Marcelo Carrusca will return from injury against the Roar on Friday night.

While the classy creator might be a little underdone, Adelaide is a much more dangerous proposition when he’s in the XI.

He oozes class, his presence gives confidence to those around him and his quality on the ball brings team-mates into the game.

Brattan might not get the headlines of his opponent on Friday night but he’s just as vital to Roar’s hopes as Carrusca for Adelaide.

While he will have a huge containing job to do on Carrusca in this one, his distribution and decision-making will be just as important.

Only the Reds’ Isaias (1564) has completed more passes than Brattan (1563) this season, showing how much he wants to be on the ball to influence the game.

Expect him to test out Carrusca’s fitness by making him work hard when Roar have possession but also be hot on his heels when roles are reversed.

It promises to be a white-hot battle in the middle of the park. Who wins this battle within the teams' battle will go a long way to deciding the outcome of Friday night. 

Reds midfielder Isaias v Brisbane star Thomas Broich

If Carrusca is Adelaide’s X-factor, there’s little doubt Broich fills that role for Brisbane.

The German star’s season has been blighted by injury, managing just 16 appearances.

But it should come as no surprise Roar’s stuttering season turned around when Broich recovered at the turn of the year.

Has shown glimpses of his match-winning ability in recent weeks which must fill Thijssen and everyone at the Roar with confidence.

Thomas Broich says Brisbane Roar are returning to their fluent best.

Imagine how good he would be if he was fully fit?

Still, Broich will have an influence on the outcome of this clash and it will be up to Isaias to limit that as much as possible.

The adaptable Spaniard is a real favourite of coach Josep Gombau – and it’s not hard to see why.

Dependable, resolute, skillful and adaptable. Isaias is your complete midfielder.

He is brilliant on the ball, reads the game better than most but also isn’t afraid to put in a tough challenge if need be.

Broich is sure to find that out on Friday night. Get set for a ripper confrontation between two of the competition’s classiest imports.

Adelaide winger Sergio Cirio v Roar defender Jerome Polenz

What a fascinating and contrasting clash of styles this should be.

In the red corner is the diminutive Cirio, with his fast-feet, sensational dribbling ability and eye for a goal.

Sergio Cirio has been involved in more goals than any other Adelaide player.

While in the orange corner is the hard-nosed Polenz, who thrives on stopping opposition wingers with his tough tackling and defensive nous.

This has all the makings to be a classic one-on-one duel to savour. 

Injuries to team-mates has seen Cirio used in a variety of different positions this season but there’s no doubt he’s most comfortable on the left flank.

He provides great width to the Reds attack but can also cut inside and run at defenders.

The Spaniards crossing has improved this season, as has his goal-scoring with seven for the season.

But he won’t have an easy time of it against Polenz. The German right-back is a player made for finals football.

Aggressive, quick and composed, the sudden-death nature of the clash – as well as his opponent’s quality won’t overawe him. If anything it will bring out his best.

Having lost the last two Hyundai A-League grand finals during his time with Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Polenz has extra motivation to end a winner this time in Season 10's Finals Series.