Matchweek 23: Top-two finish still in Reds' destiny
Adelaide United will be desperate to keep its hopes of a top-two finish alive with a win over Sydney FC in its penultimate game of the regular season.
Fourth-ranked Adelaide trails second-place Sydney by three points and will be looking to take advantage of its strong home record this campaign. United is unbeaten in eight straight matches at Coopers Stadium and have lost just once at the venue this year.
The Reds bounced back with a 1-0 away triumph over fierce rivals Melbourne Victory and now face arguably its biggest game of the campaign to date.
Three points is absolutely crucial for Carl Veart’s side if at the very least they want to secure a top-four appearance and home elimination final.
The Sky Blues have won their preceding three matches and come into the clash off the back of a 1-0 derby victory over Western Sydney Wanderers.
However, while Sydney may be the form side heading into the contest, they have not beaten Adelaide this season.
Craig Goodwin’s penalty and Joe Gauci’s heroics sealed a 1-0 win at home, while the Reds fought from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw in the Harbour City.
Veart on the magnitude of the game…
I’ve always said Sydney are the benchmark team of the A-League especially over the last five years and it’s going to be a great test for us tomorrow night and something that we’re really looking forward to.
Veart on the challenge Sydney presents…
They’re a very difficult side to score against. A lot of people talk about their attacking threats that they’ve got but first of all you’ve to break them down. They’re a very difficult side to break down and then they’re very dangerous on the counter attack. They’ve got some very good, quality players that don’t need many opportunities and they seem to take their opportunities when they get them, so that’s something we have to be mindful of. It’s not singling out one player in particular because they’ve got quite a few players that can hurt you at moments in games.
Veart on Al Hassan’s return…
We’ve got Al Hassan coming back into the squad. We weren’t happy with some of things he had done in the last few weeks, so we sent him to the NPL (with Adelaide United Youth) and he responded well – as best as he could. He scored a hat-trick. We couldn’t ask anymore from him so he’ll come back into the squad and hopefully he can bring some of that form back into the A-League.
Carl Veart confirmed Al Hassan Toure will start tomorrow night’s clash after being included in the squad. George Timotheou, Bernardo and Jonny Yull have also all been promoted.
Juande and Kusini Yengi have both been ruled out with hamstring injuries.
Adelaide United squad: 1.James DELIANOV (gk), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.George TIMOTHEOU, 4.Ryan STRAIN, 6.Louis D’ARRIGO, 7.Ryan KITTO, 8.Stefan MAUK (c), 11.Craig GOODWIN, 18.Joe CALETTI, 19.Yaya DUKULY, 21.Javi LÓPEZ, 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Jordan ELSEY, 24.Pacifique NIYONGABIRE, 26.Ben HALLORAN, 27.Josh CAVALLO, 31.BERNARDO, 33.Dakota OCHSENHAM (gk), 35.Al Hassan TOURE, 37.Jonny YULL
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 3.George TIMOTHEOU (promoted), 31.BERNARDO (promoted), 35.Al Hassan TOURE (promoted), 37.Jonny YULL (promoted)
Outs: 28.JUANDE (hamstring), 29.Kusini YENGI (hamstring)
Unavailable: 9.Tomi JURIC (calf), 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS (knee), 46.Joe GAUCI (quadricep)
Last five meetings
2-2 draw (A)
1-0 win (H)
1-1 draw (H)
2-1 loss (A)
2-3 loss (H)
Key stats powered by Opta
- Adelaide United is undefeated against Sydney FC since Carl Veart took charge as Head Coach (W1, D2).
- Adelaide is undefeated in its last eight A-League games at Coopers Stadium (W5, D3) and have kept a clean sheet in their last three games at the venue.
- Craig Goodwin has played 13 passes into the box per game this season, the most of any player in the competition.
Ones to watch
Craig Goodwin always finds a way to make an impact. His last two goals have yielded six invaluable points. He has scored seven goals upon his return and incidentally all those goals have been in wins.
Milos Ninkovic is integral to Sydney’s success. The Serbian maestro orchestrates the play from midfield and can thread the eye of a needle in congested areas due to his exceptional vision and passing ability.
Next match details:
Saturday, 29 May vs Sydney FC
A-League 2020/21 – Matchweek 23
Kick-off 6.40pm ACST
Gates open 5.30pm ACST
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Broadcast: Fox Sports
Stream: Kayo Sports, MyFootball Live App