Preview: Sydney FC v Adelaide United

A spot in this year’s 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 semi-final? Can’t wait to find out.

MATCH DETAILS

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Kick-Off: 7.30pm (Local) 7.30pm AEDT)

SQUADS

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)

Outs Nil

Unavailable 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – indefinite)
Hashtag: #ALeagueFinals

BROADCAST COVERAGE

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

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

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 do 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 are some huge inclusions for the Sky Blues with Marc Janko, Sebastian Ryall and Terry 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 Michael Marrone after his one-game ban, but are without Bruce Djite.

OPTA DATA STATS

- Adelaide have 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 A-League season have been 0-0 at half-time, with Adelaide going on to win two (D1).

- Bernie Ibini has scored in each of his last three A-League appearances for Sydney.

-There have been four red cards across Adelaide’s last four A-League fixtures (2 for, 2 against).

ROUTE TO GOAL

The goals may have dried up for 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 media conferences 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.

Adelaide: WWLLW

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 FFA Cup triumph.

DID YOU KNOW?

Sydney have won just one of their last nine play-off games in the A-League (D3 L5).

PREDICTION

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.