Boogaard expecting highly charged elimination tussle

With a place in the Hyundai A-League Preliminary Final on the line, Reds defender Nigel Boogaard is certain that neither Adelaide United nor their semi final opponents Gold Coast United will be taking a backward step in Sunday’s elimination final.

With a place in the Hyundai A-League Preliminary Final on the line, Reds defender Nigel Boogaard is certain that neither Adelaide United nor their semi final opponents Gold Coast United will be taking a backward step in Sunday-s elimination final.

Come the start of Sunday-s cut throat encounter at Hindmarsh Stadium, Boogaard knows the tenacity and intensity of the game will go up another level again from the Reds- knockout win over Wellington last weekend.

The 24 year old, who was part of the Central Coast Mariners- final series campaigns in 2007/08 and 2008/09, is no stranger to high pressure games, and cannot wait for another chance to perform on the finals stage.

“Obviously there-s feeling - it-s semi final time,” Boogaard said.

“No one wants to play this many games and exit the competition this close to actually achieving something, so there-s going to be a lot of feeling on the weekend and you won-t see anyone pull out of a challenge and the boys will be committed 100 per cent. I think that extra feeling adds to the flavour of the game and hopefully everyone can stay on the park.”

Just days out from their second cut throat final, any doubts that the Reds are not fully prepared for this match have been quickly dispelled by Boogaard, who believes any past distractions have been quickly cast aside.

“Obviously when you go out, whether it be training or a game, you don-t worry about what-s been said, whether it-s in the media or the change room or wherever,” Boogaard said.

“You put that out of your mind and you do your job, as professionals we know how to do that, so we just go about our business.”

Boogaard has been a pillar of strength in the heart of the Reds- defence since he returned from a serious ankle injury just prior to Christmas. This Sunday, his resolve is set to be seriously tested, as he has his hands full trying to curtail the influence of a dangerous Gold Coast attacking line led by strike duo Shane Smeltz and Bruce Djite.

“They-re the two that can probably change the game,” Boogaard said of Smeltz and Djite, who have combined for 16 goals this season.

“Smeltzy is quite dangerous all over the park and Bruce is quite a handful in the box as well, so hopefully whoever is in at the back can do the job and keep them scoreless because we know we-ve got goals in us.”

Being the Reds- final home game of the season and with so much hanging on the result, a massive crowd is expected to greet the players on Sunday. The Gold Coast played in front of just over 3,000 in their win over Melbourne Victory last weekend, and Boogaard is adamant a bumper crowd on Sunday will definitely give the home side the edge.

“It-ll definitely be for us,” Boogaard said on the benefit of playing in front of the boisterous United faithful.

“Most home games we-ve done well (with the crowd), the last home game it was raining all day and we still got a healthy crowd, so it has been great, they-ve been the twelfth man to get us over the line on a number of occasions and hopefully there-s a big turnout again on Sunday.”

Tickets for the match are still available through Ticketek.