Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers will both be hoping to end grand final hoodoos when they meet in the Hyundai A-League decider with a new champion set to be crowned at Adelaide Oval this Sunday.
Sunday, 1 May 2016
Adelaide United v Western Sydney Wanderers FC
Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Kick-Off: 3:30pm local (4:00pm AEST)
Referee: Jarred Gillett
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream
Assistant Referee 2: Luke Brennan
Fourth Official: Paul Cetrangolo
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Strebre Delovski
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Chris Beath
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 3.00pm (AEST), SBS TWO from 4:30pm AEST and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 891 ABC Adelaide, ABC Local Radio SA, News Radio (nationally), News Radio Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live
Crocmedia A-League Live ( www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio ) and FIVEaa 1395AM ( www.fiveaa.com.au/fiveaa )
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ALeagueGF #ADLvWSW
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 6.Stefan MAUK, 7.PABLO SANCHEZ, 8.ISAIAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Bruce DJITE, 12.Mark OCHIENG, 14.George MELLS, 16.Craig GOODWIN, 17.Mate DUGANDZIC, 20.John HALL (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 23.Jordan ELSEY, 24.Bruce KAMAU
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 12.Mark OCHIENG (promoted), 17.Mate DUGANDZIC (promoted)
Unavailable: 19.Eli BABALJ (knee – season)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 2.Shannon COLE, 3.Scott JAMIESON, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Romeo CASTELEN, 8.DIMAS, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.ALBERTO, 18.ANDREU, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 21.Jacob PEPPER, 30.Liam REDDY (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO (promoted), 21.Jacob PEPPER (promoted)
So it comes down to this.
The 2015-16 Hyundai A-League champions will be decided on Sunday at the Adelaide Oval, with the Reds hosting Western Sydney in both clubs’ third grand final.
With all three regular season meetings ending in a draw and an aggregate score of 1-1, the final match of the campaign is hard to pick, although those hoping for a repeat of the Wanderers’ 5-4 semi-final triumph will probably be disappointed. The Reds cruised past Melbourne City 4-1 in the other semi-final.
A-League grand finals average 2.6 goals per game.
So don’t be surprised if a low-scoring match leads to some niggle as Adelaide’s Isaias and Brendon Santalab of the Wanderers are renowned for trying to get under the skin of their opponents.
Neither of these clubs have ever lifted the A-League’s iconic championship trophy but one will join Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Brisbane Roar and Central Coast Mariners by Sunday evening.
Adelaide’s two previous grand final appearances (2007 and 2009) both ended in defeat to Melbourne Victory - including an infamous 6-0 drubbing in the first - while the Wanderers lost two in successive seasons, going down to Central Coast (2013) and Roar (2014).
Reds coach Guillermo Amor and his Wanderers counterpart Tony Popovic look unlikely to spring any surprises in their starting line-ups after both retained the 15 players they took into last week’s semi-finals.
Amor has added Mark Ochieng and Mate Dugandzic to his extended group, while Popovic has named Jaushua Sotirio and Jacob Pepper as additional support but those four players are most likely to be left out on game day.
Adelaide - as premiers - are the favourites to win in front of a bumper crowd at the Adelaide Oval with Western Sydney having to overcome extra-time against Brisbane last week.
The Wanderers, who were previously renowned for their defensive nous, are a much more attacking proposition since their last grand final, while Adelaide’s balanced system that sees the entire team work in defence could give them an edge.
- The last three games between Adelaide and Western Sydney have ended in a draw, including scoreless stalemates in each of the last two.
- Adelaide have lost just one of their last 20 games (W15 D4), including wins in each of the last four.
- Five of the last seven winners of the Premiers Plate have gone onto win the grand final, including the last two champions.
- The Wanderers have netted 11 goals in their last three A-League matches.
- Both Adelaide and Western Sydney have scored 49 goals from 28 games so far this campaign, though the Reds have conceded eight fewer.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Both teams will enter this match with centre-forwards in top form.
In fact, Bruce Djite and Brendon Santalab could be considered in better shape than all other A-League strikers at the moment.
Djite (11 goals this season) has scored six goals in his past four matches, including a brace against City last week, while Santalab (11) has five in three.
Santalab scored one of Western Sydney’s goals versus Roar.
Djite is more of a hold-up player than Santalab, who likes to get in behind defences, but both do a lot of work without the ball.
For the majority of the season, Amor has relied upon his entire squad to score goals but Pablo Sanchez (8), Stefan Mauk (7, including 4 for City) and Marcelo Carrusca (5) seem most likely to impact the scoreboard for the home side.
Carrusca and Sergio Cirio were very impressive for Adelaide in their semi-final victory and will be Amor’s main creative options.
Western Sydney’s main playmakers this term have been Mark Bridge and Mitch Nichols, while dynamic winger Romeo Castelen is the man in form for the Wanderers after his hat-trick last week.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Mitch Nichols. After limping off before extra-time last week, the attacking midfielder was given a clean bill of health only for his grand final involvement to be threatened by a potential suspension. Nichols will have to explain his post-match gesture towards Roar supporters to the A-League’s disciplinary panel next week but in a boost to Western Sydney, he is free to play in Adelaide.
Adelaide United: DWWWW
Western Sydney Wanderers: DLWWW
Adelaide United 2-1 Western Sydney Wanderers