Melbourne City or Adelaide United will go to the top if they can win, in doing so throwing pressure back on their Premiership rivals who play Saturday and Sunday. This is the nail-biting scenario as a season-defining Round 27 kicks off on Friday night.
Friday, 8 April 2016
Melbourne City FC v Adelaide United
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 7:40 PM (Local) (7:40 PM AEST)
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream
Assistant Referee 2: George Lakrindis
Fourth Official: Jonathan Barreiro
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7:00pm (AEST), SBS TWO from 7:30pm (AEST) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio)
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MCYvADL
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 2.Alex WILKINSON, 3.Aaron HUGHES, 4.Connor CHAPMAN, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 8.Aaron MOOY, 9.Harry NOVILLO, 18.Paulo RETRE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (GK), 22.Jack CLISBY, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 24.Patrick KISNORBO, 25.Jacob MELLING, 26.Marc MARINO, 27.Nick FITZGERALD, 29.Anthony CACERES, 33.Osama MALIK
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Aaron HUGHES (promoted), 22.Jack CLISBY (promoted), 25.Jacob MELLING (promoted)
Outs: 11.Michael ZULLO (foot – season)
Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – season), 17.Wade DEKKER (ankle – season)
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 6.Stefan MAUK, 7.PABLO SANCHEZ, 8.ISAIAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Bruce DJITE, 12.Mark OCHIENG, 14.George MELLS, 16.Craig GOODWIN, 17.Mate DUGANDZIC, 20.John HALL (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 23.Jordan ELSEY, 24.Bruce KAMAU
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 12.Mark OCHIENG (promoted), 21.Tarek ELRICH (returns from injury)
Unavailable: 19.Eli BABALJ (knee – season)
What a rivetting start to the final round of Season 11 in the Hyundai A-League.
The scenario is the same for both clubs. A win will take them to the top of the ladder and then they can sit back for the rest of the weekend and hope results go their way and they finish with the Premiers’ Plate.
City blew the chance to put one hand on the Plate with their loss to Perth Glory on Sunday. It saw them go from first at the start of the weekend to fourth.
If John van ‘t Schip’s troops fail to win this they could even slip to fifth and miss out on a home final.
But City can draw on a strong record at home this season, losing just once at AAMI, while they have won both previous clashes with the Reds, including 1-0 just four weeks ago.
But Adelaide won’t fear having to travel for such an important game. The Reds’ away form has been superb of late.
Last weekend’s 2-0 win in Sydney made it four road games in a row without conceding a goal. It will be interesting to see how their resolute defence goes against City’s free-scoring attack.
City have been dealt a blow with news Michael Zullo’s foot injury means he won’t play against this season. Either Ben Garuccio or the promoted Jack Clisby will start at left-back.
The Reds have Tarek Elrich back from injury meaning Craig Goodwin could be shifted further forward from left-back.
*Melbourne City is undefeated at home since Round 8 this Hyundai A-League season (W8, D2) and have lost only two of their last 22 home games (W15, D5).
*Adelaide United has lost only two of their last 20 matches in the Hyundai A-League (W13, D5) though both losses have come against Melbourne opposition, once against each Victorian side.
*City’s Bruno Fornaroli is among the most accurate shooters in the Hyundai A-League; 56 of his 81 shots have been on target (69.1%) making him the most accurate shooter of any player in the competition this season with at least 20 attempts.
*The Reds’ Pablo Sanchez has found the back of the next seven times this Hyundai A-League season, the second most of any Adelaide player, but of those six have come in the final 15 minutes of a match, the most of any player in the competition.
ROUTE TO GOAL
It’s no secret where City’s main threats lie. Even though Fornaroli had one of his quieter games against Perth, he still managed to get his name on the scoresheet.
That’s now 23 from 26 games for the season for the Uruguayan. His talents and exploits in front of goal are well-known; stopping it is another matter.
Where the Reds may look to focus is in the midfield. Glory’s two holders – Gyorgy Sandor and Kristian Vadocz – nullified the influence of Mooy and Caceres last week, so the service to Fornaroli and Novillo was minimised.
City is second bottom of the stats when it comes to crosses into the box which suggests most of their threat comes from the middle of the park. If City can dominate that area, then Mooy and Fornaroli will almost certainly make it count.
The Reds will undoubtedly try to suffocate City and deny them space and time on the ball in the front third. It's a tactic they pulled off expertly in the recent stalemate with the Wanderers at Pirtek.
The big doubt Adelaide though has always been whether they have enough goals in them when the big games come around.
They have answered that somewhat in recent games, plundering 13 from the last six games. Main striker Djite is catching fire at the right time while Cirio, Kamau and Goodwin also possess threats.
But the key could well come from playmakers Carrusca and in-form Mauk, the two who can unlock opposition defences with their passing and creativity.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Bruce Djite. The Reds striker is in ominous form, scoring five in his last six games (including a brace to beat Sydney FC last weekend) on his way to breaking the club’s all-time scoring record. All that and a spot in our TOTW for round 26 as well. Can Brucey deliver again when it really matters?