Kitto: Reds primed for sudden-death football
Ryan Kitto believes Adelaide United’s run to the FFA Cup Final in 2017 can help their bid to become the first club to win the Hyundai A-League title from outside the top two.
After finishing the 2017/18 campaign in fifth position, the Reds will need to go the hard route to clinch the title, starting with Sunday’s Elimination Final in Melbourne against Victory.
If Marco Kurz’s side gets over that hurdle, they’ll then need to travel again and face either Sydney FC or the Newcastle Jets to get into the decider.
But having come through four do-or-die matches on the way to the FFA Cup final, Kitto feels the Reds are primed to cope with the pressure of sudden-death football.
“I think we’ve had a good record with this team in the FFA Cup and that’s knockout (football) and we got all the way to the final there and matched Sydney up until the 115th minute,” Kitto said.
“So in one-off games we believe in ourselves and we’re looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s exciting [coming up against Victory]. Obviously it’s a derby but it’s also a finals game.
“So there’s absolutely everything to play for so we’ll prepare as best as we can this week and we’ll have a full squad to pick from.
“It’s exciting times and hopefully we can win this game and go one better.”
In three meetings between the clubs this season, each side has won one match, with the other ending in a 2-2 draw.
But Adelaide did manage to get a win in Melbourne, holding on for a 2-1 triumph in December, where they finished the game with only nine men.
While that match was at Etihad Stadium, the gritty performance and overall result will give the Reds plenty of confidence heading into Sunday’s clash.
“The first thing I heard when I came to Australia was please win away against Victory,” Reds boss Marco Kurz said.
“I said why? And they (the fans) said to me ‘it’s a derby and I said but it’s 650km between the two cities’.
“But now after the three games and also the [FFA] Cup game I understand the rivalry and for me it’s a very good [Elimination Final].
“Two strong and good teams play against each other and we’ll see which team is the better one on Sunday.”