Reds to end season with ‘Heart’

The curtain will fall on Adelaide United FC’s Hyundai A-League Season when it meets Melbourne Heart on Friday night.

The curtain will fall on Adelaide United FC-s Hyundai A-League 2011/12 Season tomorrow night (Friday 23 March 2012) when it meets Melbourne Heart at Hindmarsh Stadium in the final weekend of the minor round.

In a season that has seen the Reds miss out on a finals berth for just the third time, they will look to make it a victorious finale to the season in front of their home fans against a Heart team that will feature in the finals for the first time.

There may be nothing of major significance other than pride for the Reds to play for, but Coach John Kosmina still expects an extremely competitive showing from his side, with three points definitely on the agenda.

One reason the Reds will be certain to follow up Tuesday-s victory over Gamba Osaka with another win tomorrow night is that Kosmina will give a host of players who did not feature heavily in the Gamba clash some valuable game time and a chance to impress.

This includes defender Iain Fyfe, who is set to make his first appearance since he returned to the Reds after a stint in South Korea.

Kosmina has opted to leave captain Eugene Galekovic, Nigel Boogaard, Zenon Caravella, Iain Ramsay and striker Bruce Djite out of the game with the Heart, both in order to make sure they are primed for the club-s trip to Korea in just over a week to face Pohang and also to give others a run.

A coach who values and puts an emphasis on stability, Kosmina admits it is against his usual approach, but with the Reds unable to finish any higher than ninth on the Hyundai A-League table and coming into their third game in a week, he is comfortable with the current situation.

“I hate doing it but we-ve got to consider an AFC Champions League game, which at this stage is far more important than an A-League match,” Kosmina said.

“Like I said, finish bottom, second bottom, third bottom, fourth bottom - all of those teams that are not in the finals are in the same boat, so for me it-s a consideration about the health of the individuals concerned.”

“I looked at the whole situation and figured it-s just not worth it. Also, you don-t know what-s going to happen in the next 4-6 weeks, if someone gets an injury or a sickness, other people need to be up to speed with what-s going on and this is our last serious ‘practise match- for one of a better description.”

“You-re asking blokes to play three games in six days and the Central Coast was a hard game that we wanted to get a result out of, so there was that, and for the Champions League everyone had to be right for that and I didn-t take any risk because the team that played, apart from Cassio, that was our practise for Tuesday night, so this game tomorrow night is a little bit much to ask when it is not necessary.”

While Galekovic has been rested, the decision is as much a parting and considerate gesture from Kosmina towards Mark Birighitti, who will join the Newcastle Jets next season at the end of the 2012 AFC Champions League Group Stage.

Kosmina paid tribute to the talented 20 year old, who has been at the Reds since 2008 but has decided to try his luck for more first team football with the Jets after finding it tough to break into the starting eleven due to the consistently outstanding form of Galekovic between the posts.

“Eugene is the number one keeper…but I-d actually like to see Biriz in action as well. I saw him once against Brisbane and that was it, apart from his spasmodic appearances over the years,” Kosmina said of Birighitti.

“I would have preferred to keep him but I can understand why he is leaving, and to his credit, his application even though he knows that he-s going to Newcastle has been second to none and he has been great to have around.”

In a season that has failed to live up to the pre season hype, Friday night is a chance for the Reds to thank their legion of faithful supporters for sticking by them. Gates open at 6pm with kick-off at 7.30pm. Tickets are available through Ticketek.

Hyundai A-League 2011/12 Season - Week 25 Adelaide United FC v Melbourne Heart Friday 23 March 2012, Hindmarsh Stadium Kick-Off: 7.30pm ACDT (8.00pm AEDT) Referee: Adam Kersey

Tickets: Available through Ticketek (call 132 849, online at TV: Live and exclusive on FOX Sports 1 Radio: ABC Grandstand Digital and online Twitter: (hash tag #HALaumh)

Adelaide United squad: 2.Osama Malik, 4.Jon McKain, 5.Daniel Mullen, 6.Cassio (c), 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic, 12.Antony Golec, 13.Ricardo Da Silva, 14.Cameron Watson, 15.Jacob Melling, 20.Mark Birighitti (gk), 21.Francisco Usucar, 22.Iain Fyfe, 25.Evan Kostopoulos, 30.Paul Izzo (gk)

In: Ricardo Da Silva (promoted), Iain Fyfe (promoted), Evan Kostopoulos (promoted) Out: Eugene Galekovic, Nigel Boogaard, Zenon Caravella, Bruce Djite, Iain Ramsay Unavailable: Fabian Barbiero (suspended - 2 matches), Spase Dilevski (groin - indefinite)

Melbourne Heart squad: 1.Clint Bolton (GK), 2.Michael Marrone, 3.Brendan Hamill, 4.Simon Colosimo, 5.Fred (c), 6.Matt Thompson, 7.Rutger Worm, 10.Wayne Srhoj, 11.Alex Terra, 13.Jonatan Germano, 16.Aziz Behich, 18.Curtis Good, 19.Eli Babalj, 23.Mate Dugandzic, 30.Sebastian Mattei (GK)

In: Rutger Worm (promoted) Out: Jason Hoffman (omitted) Unavailable: Nil

Adelaide United FC vs. Melbourne Heart - Hyundai A-League HEAD TO HEAD Record: Played 5 - 3 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw

4-Jan-2012… W 3-1… 2011/12 Marathon (AAMI Park) 4-Nov-2011… D 1-1… 2011/12 Wk 5 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 17-Dec-2010… L 1-2… 2010/11 Wk 19 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 19-Nov-2010… W 2-0… 2010/11 Wk 15 (AAMI Park) 20-Aug-2010… W 3-2… 2010/11 Wk 3 (Hindmarsh Stadium)

At Hindmarsh Stadium Played 3; Adelaide United 1, Melbourne Heart 1, Draws 1

At AAMI Park Played 2; Adelaide United 2, Melbourne Heart 0, Draws 0

Last time they met 4-Jan-2012 Marathon, Hyundai A-League 2011/12 Season at AAMI Park Melbourne Heart 1 (Babalj 90+1-) Adelaide United 3 (van Dijk 38- (pen)/79-, Vidosic 48-)

Adelaide United last three results Wk 24. 17-3-12… L 0-1… vs. Central Coast Mariners (Bluetongue Stadium) Wk 23. 11-3-12… D 1-1… vs. Brisbane Roar (Suncorp Stadium) Wk 22. 1-3-12… L 0-2… vs. Perth Glory (Hindmarsh Stadium)