A spot in this year’s Hyundai A-League grand final will be the reward for either Sydney FC or Adelaide United at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night. Who will get through this epic Semi Final? Can’t wait to find out!
Saturday, 9 May 2015
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 7.30pm (Local) 7.30pm AEDT)
Sydney FC: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bernie IBINI, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Marc JANKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 25. Aaron CALVER, 26.Jacques FATY, 27.Mickael TAVARES, 34.Robert STAMBOLZIEV
***two to be omitted***
Ins 2. Seb RYALL (promoted), 17. Terry ANTONIS (return from injury), 21. Marc JANKO (return from injury)
Outs 29. George BLACKWOOD (international duty)
Unavailable 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI (hip – indefinite), 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – indefinite), 19.Nick CARLE (knee – indefinite), 22.Ali ABBAS (knee – indefinite)
Adelaide United: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Osama MALIK, 7.PABLO SÁNCHEZ, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Bruce DJITE, 14.Cameron WATSON, 16.Craig GOODWIN, 17.Awer MABIL, 18.Jimmy JEGGO, 19.Miguel PALANCA, 20.Paul IZZO (GK), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 24.Bruce KAMAU
***two to be omitted***
Ins 2.Michael MARRONE (returns from suspension), 11.Bruce DJITE (returns from injury)
Unavailable 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – indefinite)
TV - Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEST). Delayed coverage on SBS HD & SBS One from 8.00pm (AEST).
Radio – Grandstand Digital Sydney, 891 ABC Adelaide Digital, online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app.
Referee: Ben Williams
Assistant Referee 1: Nathan MacDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Allyson Flynn
Fourth Official: Strebre Delovski
If the build-up to this clash is anything to go by, we’re in for an absolute beauty.
Both sides have traded barbs across state lines with Adelaide coach Josep Gombau suggesting the Sky Blues will be underdone after a week off.
Graham Arnold hit back suggesting the Reds have been lucky against Sydney FC this season, with Adelaide’s response from skipper Eugene Galekovic, "the Sky Blues are scared of us”.
What does it all mean? Well not a great deal when it comes to a cut-throat Semi Final.
Adelaide does have a great recent record against the Sky Blues, winning three times at Allianz Stadium this season. They will head to Sydney confident.
But Arnold knows what it takes to win at this time of the year and has a group of players with loads of big-game experience.
There some huge inclusions for the Sky Blues with Janko, Ryall and Antonis all named in an extended squad. Both Janko and Ryall are likely to start while Antonis, who hasn’t played since March 15, likely for a spot on the bench.
The Reds welcome back striker Bruce Djite from a groin injury, while Michael Marrone returns after serving a one-game ban.
OPTA DATA STATS
-Adelaide has won four and lost none of their last six meetings with Sydney, keeping a clean sheet in each of the last three.
-All three meetings between these sides this Hyundai A-League season have been 0-0 at half-time, with Adelaide going on to win two of these (D1).
-Bernie Ibini has scored in each of his last three Hyundai A-League appearances for Sydney.
-There have been four red cards across Adelaide’s last four Hyundai A-League fixtures (2 for, 2 against).
ROUTE TO GOAL
The goals may have dried up for Marc Janko of late but the Sky Blues have found goals from other avenues.
Skipper Alex Brosque has four in his last three appearances while Ibini has scored in three straight games as well.
Playmaker Milos Dimitrijevic also has the ability to strike from distance and must be shut-down when around the box.
The return of Marcelo Carrusca last week was huge for the Reds. While short of a gallop, he certainly took the attention off some of his team-mates which gave them more space.
He will be better for the run this week and something tells me he’s in for a big one. Sydney, you have been warned.
Craig Goodwin’s pace and energy down the left is a huge weapon for the visitors, as is X-factor Awer Mabil, who is likely to be used again as an impact player off the bench.
He scored the winner in Sydney last month fulfilling a similar role. And we know what he did last week to kill off Brisbane Roar.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Graham Arnold. Is he turning into the A-League's Jose Mourinho? His pressas are used increasingly to ramp up the mind games to great effect.
FORM LINES (last five games)
Sydney FC: WWWLW
The Sky Blues bring sensational form into this one, having won three in a row to secure second spot at the end of 27 rounds. But all five of their defeats this season have come on home soil, including two against Adelaide.
The Reds survived a huge challenge from Brisbane Roar in the Elimination Final to get within one win of a first grand final appearance in six years.
They have yet to concede a goal against the Sky Blues in the league this season and also knocked them out on the way to their Westfield FFA Cup triumph.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sydney has won just one of their last nine play-off games in the Hyundai A-League (D3 L5).
Sydney FC 2-1 Adelaide United
While Sydney’s home record this season is less than encouraging, they deserve to start warm favourites to win through to next week’s decider.
They have a clean bill of health, are fresh from a week off and will feel they owe the Reds for what’s gone before already this season.
It will be tight – with extra-time a big possibility – but I’m going for the Sky Blues to put an end to their Adelaide hoodoo in an absolute ripper.