Four things Sydney FC need to do to win the Grand Final
Sydney FC are back in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final, with Premiers Perth Glory standing between them and a fourth Championship.
While Glory edged past the Sky Blues to secure the Premiership this season, Steve Corica’s troops would love nothing more than to spoil the party and take the ‘toilet seat’ back across the country.
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There’s not likely to be much between the two sides at Optus Stadium on Sunday – which kicks off at 4.30pm AWST (6.30pm AEST) – and here’s four things the Sky Blues will need to do to ensure they get their hands on the silverware.
Have faith in what has worked before
Glory have undoubtedly been the best and most consistent team of 2018/19, but Sydney FC have caused them more problems than any other opponent.
The Sky Blues have come up with a formula that seems to work against Perth, winning two of the three encounters between the sides this season, including one in the west.
Much of the plan revolves around staying compact and denying Glory space in the attacking half, especially for playmaker Diego Castro, who loves to bring those around him into the game.
Defensive midfielders Brandon O’Neill and Josh Brillante are key to that, and if the pair can win that battle on Sunday, it might just be another Sky Blue victory.
Get the right service to ALF
Adam Le Fondre had the difficult task of filling the boots of prolific Brazilian Bobo when he arrived in Sydney at the start of the season but the Englishman has managed to live up to that considerable challenge.
‘ALF’ – as he is affectionately known – has netted 18 times this season, including a pair in the Semi Final drubbing of Melbourne Victory last weekend.
He is a player who thrives on the big occasion and brings experience from featuring in two high-pressure play-off finals in England.
Glory have had trouble shackling Le Fondre this season – he’s scored in all three previous meetings in 2018/19 – so if his teammates can provide him with the ammunition, he might just fire Sydney to the title.
Ride the wave of momentum
No one saw last week’s 6-1 Semi Final thrashing of defending champions Victory coming – except for those inside the four walls of Sydney FC headquarters that is.
Coach Steve Corica has often stated that his side would really punish an opponent when they hit their straps and that claim certainly rang true last Sunday.
You could see the confidence and swagger flow right through the Sydney FC players the longer the match went on and they’ll head to Perth with plenty of belief.
Momentum is often priceless at this time of the season and that could work in the Sky Blues' favour.
Playing interstate? No worries at all
Hyundai A-League history will tell you that having to play a Grand Final interstate hardly ever ends well.
In the history of the competition only two sides have won the decider outside of their home state (Sydney FC over Victory in Melbourne in 2010, and Victory over the Jets in Newcastle last season).
There’s no doubt that a long trip across the Nullarbor will make things tougher for Corica’s troops but Sydney FC should take confidence out of the fact they have often enjoyed their trips to Perth, losing only once in their last eight Hyundai A-League visits.
The experience from their long-haul flights travelling to Asia for the AFC Champions League should also ensure they are best equipped to repeat the feat of 2010 and become the next side to win a Grand Final across state borders.