FFA Cup Final preview: Adelaide United v Perth Glory

The eyes of Australian football will be on Coopers Stadium on Tuesday night when Adelaide United and Perth Glory vie to capture the first silverware of the season and write their name into the history of the sport in this country by claiming the inaugural FFA Cup.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Coopers Stadium, Hindmarsh

Kick-off: 7:00pm local (7:30pm AEDT)
Referee: Chris Beath
TV broadcast: LIVE and exclusive on FOX SPORTS 505
Radio broadcast: 891 ABC Adelaide, ABC South Australia, Grandstand Digital around the country, online at www.abc.net.au/grandstand and on the ABC Smartphone app, FIVEaa 1395AM
Hashtags: #FFACupFinal #ADLvPER

Adelaide United: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 7.Pablo SÁNCHEZ, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Bruce DJITE, 14.Cameron WATSON, 15.Ben WARLAND, 17.Awer MABIL, 18.Jimmy JEGGO, 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Fabio FERREIRA, 24.Bruce KOMAU, 30.John HALL (GK), 32.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS

**two to be omitted**

Perth Glory: 1.Daniel VUKOVIC (GK), 2.Jack CLISBY, 3.Brandon O’NEILL, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Jamie MACLAREN, 16.Sidnei SCOILA, 17.Mitch NICHOLS, 18.Jack DUNCAN (GK), 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Daniel DE SILVA, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE (c), 24.Rostyn GRIFFITHS

**two to be omitted**

It's A-League leaders Perth Glory away to one of the competition's most entertaining sides, Adelaide United, in a mouth-watering inaugural FFA Cup final on Tuesday night.

Perth were aggrieved to be overlooked as hosts but Kenny Lowe's men have thrived on an 'us versus them' mentality this season, and playing away from home could act as motivation for the combative Glory, who believe they're yet to be given the credit they deserve for a flying start to the 2014-15 season.

While the eastern states are slowly waking up to the reality of a genuine title challenge being mounted in the west, expectations of Perth's season will go through the roof nationwide if they can come out on top at Coopers Stadium.

The Reds meanwhile will hope they got a bad performance out of their system by losing at home to Brisbane Roar on Friday night. Marcelo Carrusca and Nigel Boogard, rested for that game, were badly missed and will be welcome inclusions for the final.

Josep Gombau and his players are on record as insisting they need to deliver on their considerable promise and potential by winning something this season. Tuesday night is their first opportunity and there's no denying they have the ability to get the job done. It's set to be a fascinating contest, let's hope for a game worthy of the prestigious, unprecedented occasion.

Adelaide were unusually blunt in losing 1-0 to the Roar on Friday, badly missing the creative presence of playmaker Carrusca. Bruce Djite was well marshalled by James Donachie and Jade North, while Pablo Sanchez, Sergio Cirio and Fabio Ferreira were disappointing in the final third.

Awer Mabil could come into the starting XI for one of those three, while Carrusca is a certain inclusion. Whoever plays for the Reds, they will need to find a way past Perth's in-form centre-back duo of Michael Thwaite and Dino Djulbic, while attacking fullbacks Josh Risdon and Scott Jamieson will give Adelaide's wide players plenty to think about.

Perth had to work hard to break down the functional Newcastle Jets to register a 2-0 win on Friday night, Richard Garcia producing an energetic, aggressive performance to compliment centre-forward Andy Keogh. Creative pair Mitch Nichols and Daniel De Silva could retain their places, with Jamie Maclaren and Sidnei Sciola likely reinforcements.

Osama Malik, sidelined with a calf problem, has been linked with a move away from Adelaide United in January. With Boogard also out of the team, Adelaide's lack of depth at centre-back was highlighted on Friday. Compounding that was the fact Isaias had a rare off night, with the Reds struggling to build from the back with their usual fluency as a consequence. If Malik does go, Gombau will need to reinforce in that area, but technically gifted, ball-playing utility players are tough to find.

Adelaide's 1-0 loss to Brisbane on Friday was their second defeat in the last three matches, having also gone down 3-2 away to Melbourne Victory in Round 8. Sandwiched between those two reverses was a routine 2-0 win at home to struggling Western Sydney.

Glory have won their last two matches in succession and four of the last five, while they have only lost once this season - a 2-0 defeat to Adelaide on their previous visit to Coopers Stadium, back in late October.

The man of the match in Tuesday's final will be awarded the first Mark Viduka Medal, set to become a coveted individual honour in the years ahead and a fitting tribute to the Socceroos great.

Result: Adelaide United 1-2 Perth Glory

This is a tough one to call. If Adelaide dominate possession the way they did in the home win over Perth in Round 3, the Reds will be tough to beat and should be capable of breaking down the visitors' backline.

But Perth have gone from strength to strength since that loss and the Reds have looked a little off-colour recently, missing chances against the Wanderers and performing well below their usual high standards last time out.

Several key areas and match-ups will decide the contest. Can Rostyn Griffiths and Nebojsa Marinkovic knock metronome Isaias out of his stride? Will the bustling presence of Keogh at centre-forward disrupt the Reds' attempts to play out from the back? And can Risdon and Jamieson get forward often enough to force Adelaide's wide men to track back and help out their own fullbacks?

We're tipping a narrow away win for the in-form visitors, but this could go either way, with extra-time and penalties in prospect if the two sides can't be separated.