Both have designs on winning the Premier's Plate, making this a huge round 24 A-League clash. Can the Sky Blues translate their impeccable road form to Allianz? Or will Adelaide put the absence of playmaker Marcelo Carrusca aside to secure a vital three points on Saturday night?
When: Saturday, 4 April 2015
Where: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 7.30pm (AEDT)
Sydney FC 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 17.Terry ANTONIS, 18.Peter TRIANTIS, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Mark JANKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 26.Jacques FATY, 27.Mickael TAVARES, 29.George BLACKWOOD, 34.Robert STAMBOLZIEV
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, 11.Bruce DJITE, 14.Cameron WATSON, 15.Ben WARLAND, 16.Craig GOODWIN, 17.Awer MABIL, 18.Jimmy JEGGO, 19.Miguel PALANCA, 20.Paul IZZO (GK), 24.Bruce KAMAU, 32.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS
TV – Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT)
Radio – Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app.
Referee Chris Beath
A pivotal clash awaits these two sides on Easter Saturday.
Win and take another step towards winning the Premier's Plate but lose and it’s likely to put an end to those hopes.
It should make for a titanic tussle between two sides who like to play open, attacking football.
Sydney FC’s home form has been a concern this season, with all four of their defeats coming at Allianz Stadium (this is their last home match before the finals).
One of the losses in front of their home fans came at the hands of Adelaide on Boxing Day when they suffered a 3-0 drubbing.
While both will be without key players due to injury and suspension, there is still plenty of quality and firepower to ensure a blockbuster clash with serious ramifications on final ladder position.
Marquee man Marc Janko is back for the Sky Blues and is expected to start despite only arriving back in Australia a couple of days before the match.
Janko has been in Europe with Austria, getting on the scoresheet for his nation.
His return is timely with Shane Smeltz suspended. Terry Antonis returns from injury but is likely to come off the bench.
The Reds have been dealt a blow with playmaker Carrusca out with a quad injury for at least the next two games.
Flyer Awer Mabil has been included in the squad after a long injury lay-off.
OPTA DATA STATS
-Sydney FC have won just one of their last seven home matches against Adelaide United (D1 L5).
-The Sky Blues have been shown five red cards this season in the A-League, more than any other side, while Adelaide have seen their opponents receive four dismissals this season – no side has seen more.
-The only team to keep more clean sheets this A-League season than Adelaide United (seven) is Sydney FC (eight).
-Adelaide United have used an A-League-low 20 different players so far this season.
ROUTE TO GOAL
The Sky Blues proved they could get goals even without marquee man Janko, putting three past Wellington last weekend.
But the Austrian’s return is timely following the red card – and subsequent suspension – of Smeltz. But Sydney have found it hard to break Adelaide’s defence down, without a goal in either two of their previous clashes this season.
There’s no doubt the Reds’ attack has been dealt a blow with the injury to Carrusca.
Without the Argentine playmaker, little Spaniard Sergio Cirio looms as Adelaide’s chief creator, with the speedy winger leading the way for the Reds this season when it comes to assists, shots and chances created.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Tarek Elrich. What a week it’s been for the versatile 28-year-old.
Elrich made his Socceroos debut against FYR Macedonia on Tuesday, putting in a strong 90-minute performance at right back.
Unfortunately for Elrich he won’t be able to build on that display, suspended for this clash and missing out on a huge one-on-one battle with Sydney FC flyer Bernie Ibini.
That task this weekend will fall on the shoulders of another speedster, Craig Goodwin.
Sydney FC: WLWWW
Adelaide United: WDWLL
Sydney FC bounced back to winning ways in emphatic last weekend, crushing league leaders Wellington Phoenix 3-0 at Westpac Stadium.
In the process they broke a seven-year club record of 10 consecutive games on the road without defeat.
Adelaide weren’t at their best but did just enough to beat Newcastle Jets 1-0 at Hunter Stadium. It was the Reds’ third game in a row without defeat.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sydney FC have had the most shots on target in the A-League this season (120), just one more than City (119) and three more than opponents Adelaide (117).
Sydney FC 3-2 Adelaide United
The Sky Blues have struggled for wins at Allianz, especially against Adelaide in recent times, but this clash represents a great opportunity to put things right. With no Carrusca for the Reds it leaves a huge hole in their side and Sydney will be after a confidence-boosting result on their home turf to take into the finals.comments