Matchweek 24: Finals spot on the line
The equation is simple for Adelaide United heading into its final game of the regular season against Western Sydney Wanderers at Coopers Stadium on Thursday night.
Win and a finals appearance will be secured. Drop points however, and Adelaide is in danger of missing out on the top six altogether and forced to rely on results falling its way.
Indeed, finals football is still in the Reds’ destiny, but they will need an improved performance to achieve their primary objective set prior to the campaign’s commencement.
The Reds currently occupy fifth place on 38 points, while Western Sydney are not yet mathematically ruled out of finals contention, three points adrift of sixth spot.
Adelaide’s form has been inconsistent of late and suffered a 4-1 loss to Sydney FC last time out.
The Wanderers recorded a 2-0 victory over Brisbane Roar to keep alive its slim chances of qualifying.
Veart on being the biggest game of the season…
We need to win to get into the finals. When it comes down to one game it is the biggest game of the season. Unfortunately, we’ve let some results slip in the last four or five games that we shouldn’t have done and we shouldn’t have got ourselves in this position but we have. The only we can get out of it is to work hard and go back to what we’ve done extremely well all season and that’s putting pressure on teams and making them make mistakes.
Veart on the Wanderers…
Western Sydney Wanderers have got an exceptionally talented squad. You look at the amount of attacking players that they’ve got and the amount of players that they’ve brought in to that squad over the course of the season. So they’ve got a lot of experienced, professional players so we expect them to come out and give it their best effort to win the game.
Veart on Tomi’s return and whether he will start…
(Tomi) will be available and he’s done the full training now for a week and a half with the group. So he’ll come in and provide a good focal point for the team… I’m still weighing up which is going to be the best direction for the team. Whether Tomi can play from the start and then see how long he lasts or if it’s better to keep him fresh and go for the push at the end.
Tomi Juric is back from a calf injury after missing four matches and Yared Abetew and Jonny Yull have both been promoted. Jordan Elsey is suspended for the match following his red card last weekend.
Mohamed Toure, Kusini Yengi and Juande are unavailable with hamstring injuries while Joe Gauci and Nathan Konstandopoulos remain ruled out with long-term 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, 9.Tomi JURIC (c), 11.Craig GOODWIN, 18.Joe CALETTI, 19.Yaya DUKULY, 21.Javi LÓPEZ, 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 24.Pacifique NIYONGABIRE, 26.Ben HALLORAN, 27.Josh CAVALLO, 33.Dakota OCHSENHAM (gk), 34.Yared ABETEW, 35.Al Hassan TOURE, 37.Jonny YULL
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 9.Tomi JURIC (returns from injury), 34. Yared ABETEW (promoted), 37.Jonny YULL (promoted)
Outs: 23.Jordan ELSEY (suspended)
Unavailable: 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS (knee), 17.Mohamed TOURE (hamstring), 28.JUANDE (hamstring), 29.Kusini YENGI (hamstring), 46.Joe GAUCI (quadricep)
Last five meetings
1-1 draw (H)
2-3 win (A)
5-2 loss (A)
2-3 loss (H)
1-3 loss (H)
Ones to watch
Josh Cavallo has been exceptional since his midseason arrival and was recently rewarded with a two-year contract extension. The 21-year-old showcased his versatility by filling in at left-back expertly, but has equally been impressive in midfield.
For the visitors, Bruce Kamau has enjoyed a brilliant campaign on an individual level, scoring nine goals. Thwarting his impact will be crucial as he has provided a lot of Western Sydney’s firepower in attack.
Next match details:
Thursday, 3 June vs Western Sydney Wanderers
A-League 2020/21 – Matchweek 24
Kick-off 7.05pm ACST
Gates open 6pm ACST
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Broadcast: Fox Sports
Stream: Kayo Sports, MyFootball Live App