Elimination Final preview: Adelaide United v Melbourne City
Adelaide United and Melbourne City are outsiders heading into the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Finals Series.
But there’s plenty to suggest both the Reds and City can turn into competition dark horses if they can win Sunday's Elimination Final at Coopers Stadium (kick-off 7:00pm AEST).
The mind games have already begun with these two, who were involved in a hilarious Twitter war on Monday.
Social media antics aside, Adelaide United have every right to feel confident.
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Not only will they have a boisterous home crowd behind them but they also enter the finals in impressive nick.
Marco Kurz’s men are unbeaten in their last five games, including a 5-3 thrashing of Brisbane Roar on ANZAC Day.
While the three goals conceded would be a concern for the German coach, their ruthlessness in front of goal – which has been an issue this season – is cause for optimism.
Warren Joyce’s City were also amongst the goals in their last outing, crushing the woeful Central Coast Mariners 5-0 at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Whether that performance is a true reflection of City’s title credentials as they head to the City of Churches remains to be seen.
They can at least draw on a fairly good record at Coopers Stadium of late, winning four of their last seven games on the Reds’ home ground (D1, L2).
But that is in contrast to City’s away form this season. Joyce's side have just one win in their last eight matches away from AAMI Park.
Given these two sides build their success on the back of a solid, defensive game-plan (they are the two lowest-scoring teams in the top six), this should be a tight and tense 90 – or even 120 – minutes on Sunday evening.
Key Opta stats
- Melbourne City are undefeated in their last seven Hyundai A-League games against Adelaide United (W4, D3); though, the Reds ran out to a 4-1 triumph in their only previous post-season meeting (2015/16).
- Adelaide United have scored 37 goals this Hyundai A-League season, seven fewer than their Expected Goals figure suggests they should have, the second largest underperformance of any team (Newcastle Jets, -8).
- Reds attacker Craig Goodwin has been directly involved in 19 goals this Hyundai A-League campaign (10 goals, 9 assists), the second most of any player in the competition behind Roy Krishna (22).
Ins and outs
Adelaide United Squad: 1.Daniel MARGUŠ (gk), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 6.Vince LIA, 7.Ryan KITTO, 8.Isaías SÁNCHEZ (c), 9.Baba DIAWARA, 11.Craig GOODWIN, 14.George BLACKWOOD, 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIĆ, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Jordan ELSEY, 26.Ben HALLORAN, 31.Mirko BOLAND, 32.Carlo ARMIENTO, 33.Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS **two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS (promoted), 32.Carlo ARMIENTO (promoted)
Unavailable: 10.Ken ILSØ (suspended)
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI, 2.Ritchie DE LAET, 3.Scott JAMIESON, 4.Harrison DELBRIDGE, 5.Bart SCHENKEVELD, 8.Riley McGREE, 9.Shayon HARRISON, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 13.Nathaniel ATKINSON, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 18.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 19.Lachlan WALES, 21.Ramy NAJJARINE, 22.Curtis GOOD, 25.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 26.Luke BRATTAN, 27.Florin BERENGUER-BOHRER, 29.Jamie MACLAREN **two to be omitted**
Ins: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (returns from injury), 2.Ritchie DE LAET (promoted), 4.Harrison DELBRIDGE (promoted), 18.Eugene GALEKOVIC (promoted) 22.Curtis GOOD (promoted), 27.Florin BERENGUER-BOHRER (promoted), 29.Jamie MACLAREN (returns from injury)
Outs: 34.Connor METCALFE (omitted), 40.Majak MAWITH (omitted), 41.Mitchell GRAHAM (omitted), 42.James DELIANOV (omitted), 51.Idrus ABDULAHI (omitted)
Unavailable: 30.Moudi NAJJAR (ankle)
How to watch
All Hyundai A-League 2019 Finals Series matches will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS, 10 Bold, Sky Sport NZ and MyFootball Live App, Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers. You can also subscribe to Kayo Sports.
Secure your seat at Coopers Stadium for the Reds’ clash with City by heading HERE!