Hyundai A-League Semi Final preview: Sydney FC v Glory

The Premiers enter the Hyundai A-League Finals Series as everyone's favourite to be crowned champions. Can Glory cause another upset and halt the Sky Blue juggernaut in its tracks?

Hyundai A-League 2017 Finals Series - Week 2 - Ins and Outs

Hyundai A-League 2017 Semi Final 1

Sydney FC v Perth Glory

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Kick-Off: 7:50pm (AEST)

Referee: Peter Green

Assistant Referee 1: Nathan MacDonald

Assistant Referee 2: Owen Goldrick

Fourth Official: Kurt Ams

Video Assistant Referee: Strebre Delovski

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.00pm (AEST). Delayed coverage on SBS VICELAND from 8.30pm (AEST) and Sky Sport Pop-Up (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: ABC Digital Extra, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ALFinals

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au

Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 6.Joshua BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12.Aaron CALVER, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.George BLACKWOOD, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 12.Aaron CALVER (promoted), 19.George BLACKWOOD (promoted)

Graham Arnold gives instructions to young striker George Blackwood.

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

Perth Glory squad: 3.Marc WARREN, 5.Rhys WILLIAMS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebo MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 13.Nick FEELY (gk), 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Joe MILLS, 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Mitch OXBORROW, 19.Josh RISDON, 22.Adam TAGGART, 26.Lucian GOIAN, 33.Liam REDDY (gk)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 16.Joe MILLS, 18.Mitch OXBORROW

Defender: Joseph Mills (Glory)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 2.Alex GRANT (foot – season), 4.Shane LOWRY (quad – season)

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

After an all-conquering, record-breaking season, most expect Sydney FC to continue their inexorable march to the Hyundai A-League championship.

This season, they accumulated more wins and points than any previous side and conceded fewer goals and kept more clean sheets than anyone that has come before.

They secured the Premiers Plate well before the end of the season, eventually opening up a 17-point chasm back to second place.

Sydney FC players celebrate a goal in their Round 27 win over Newcastle Jets.

And they'll certainly go into the semi final as warm favourites.

But no-one really expected Perth Glory to beat Melbourne City last weekend.

And yet they were worthy winners of their elimination final and are full of confidence as they seek to claim the biggest scalp of all.

They have momentum, unity and in Kenny Lowe, a coach who is looking more like a master motivator and tactician every week.

However, beating an out-of-sorts City is one thing; overcoming the side many are calling the best in the 12-year history of the Hyundai A-League is entirely another.

Perth Glory players celebrate Joel Chianese's goal in their 2-0 win over Melbourne City.

Sydney FC have comfortably won the three clashes between the two this season, scoring 11 goals in the process.

They're odds-on to ease into the Grand Final.

But all bets are off comes finals time.

OPTA DATA

- Sydney FC have won their last four games against Glory, scoring 15 goals and conceding just two in the process.

- Perth have won just two of their last 10 games at Allianz Stadium.

- Sydney FC have never lost a finals game at Allianz Stadium (W4, D3), and have scored four goals in each of their last two such fixtures.

- Off the back of their 2-0 win against Melbourne City, Glory will be looking to win consecutive away games for the first time since Round 25 last season.

- Sydney FC fullback Michael Zullo needs just two more crosses to become the second player to contribute 100 open-play crosses this season (Ivan Franjic 103).

Opta Widget: media:opta:da509eaf-ae48-4586-a10a-61685c6ffe1e

ROUTE TO GOAL

From the moment they put four goals past the Wanderers on the opening weekend, the Sky Blues have been the Hyundai A-League's most prolific side.

They averaged better than two goals per game across their entire campaign.

Brazilian Bobo scored his debut goal in the derby and was consistent all season, netting 15 times.

Sydney FC striker Bobo wins the ball ahead of Glory defender Josh Risdon.

Skipper Alex Brosque rolled back the years and enjoyed a superb goal-scoring season in the Hyundai A-League with 11.

And Slovakian striker Filip Holosko chipped in with seven goals.

The supply line to that trio came largely from the favourite for this season's Johnny Warren Medal, Milos Ninkovic.

The Serbian playmaker has been simply sublime, contributing ten assists as well as nine goals of his own.

Milos Ninkovic celebrates after grabbing the opening goal in Sydney FC's clash with Newcastle Jets on Saturday night.

But Glory are no attacking slouches.

They've now scored the same number of goals as Sydney FC this season, albeit in one more game.

They are also the only side to have three goalscorers in double-figures.

Diego Castro has 13 with Andy Keogh and Adam Taggart both netting a dozen.

Rhys Williams congratulates Diego Castro after he scores one of his two goals against the Reds.

The Spanish maestro has also provided seven assists and most of Glory's best attacking moments have him at their heart.

If Sydney can contain Castro, they'll go a long way towards blunting Glory.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK?

Glory defender Dino Djulbic was nothing short of Herculean in a man-of-the-match performance against Melbourne City, repelling their various attacking threats in a typically wholehearted performance.

FORM LINES (last five games)

Sydney FC: WWWDW

Perth Glory: LDWWW

PREDICTION

Sydney FC 3 Perth Glory 1